“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Please tell me what God meant when he quoted this!
You’re quoting Isaiah 45:7, the end of a statement God made to Cyrus the Persian, calling him to deliver the Jewish people from Babylon (Isaiah 45:1-7). It was written by Isaiah about 200 years before Cyrus was born and shown to him by Daniel when he entered Babylon after conquering it. Verse 7 is basically a signature verifying to Cyrus that it was God speaking.
Isaiah 45:7 uses an interesting combination of words. In the Bible the Hebrew word for create is used only of God’s work and indicates that He is ultimately responsible for every created thing, including darkness and evil. By saying He formed the light God was speaking of changing the purpose something, the way a potter changes the purpose of a lump of clay. And by saying He makes peace He was talking about producing something out of something else.
God originally created Satan, a perfect being with the potential for evil. When Satan became evil God’s creation became dark. God changed the purpose of the darkness into light, and out of the evil He produced peace. He did this through His son, who is the Light of the World and the Prince of Peace.
I have no idea how much of this Cyrus or Isaiah or Daniel understood, but on the strength of this statement Cyrus ordered the Jews to be released and also returned to them many temple instruments that Nebuchadnezzar had taken when he destroyed it.