Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you.…
I. TO WHOM THE CHARGE IS ADDRESSED. To the Church of Christ. This is evident from the context. Further, it appears from the nature of the charge that it can apply only to the Church. There is none else on earth capable of at once fulfilling the charge. The world cannot, for it is essentially dark — "darkness covers the earth." The Church is compared to reflected and artificial lights. Christ enlightens the world through His Church.
II. THE CHARGE ITSELF. This is a twofold charge implying two distinct acts.
1. "Arise." This implies that the Church is in the meantime in a prostrate condition; her place is in the dust. This may be partly in penitence. It may indicate a state of affliction and mourning; the Church may be sitting in sackcloth. But chiefly it implies a state of sloth, worldliness, carnality. Whatever be the cause of this prostration the Church is directed to rise from the dust now.
2. "Shine." "Christ shall give thee light" for this very purpose; not merely to enlighten yourself, to impart life and joy to you, but that you may "shine," give light to the world. And this applies both to the Church as a whole and to the members of the Church individually. There are two ways in which those who have been enlightened by Christ may give light. On the one hand, by simply shining, each one in his sphere, as a separate light, perhaps in the midst of darkness. On the other hand, by kindling other lights.
III. THE ARGUMENT BY WHICH IT IS ENFORCED. "Thy light is come, etc. The Church has no independent light of her own, cannot shine of herself; and so, such an encouragement as this is needed. "Thy light' — this must mean Christ Himself, for He is the light of the Church. "Is come" - Christ did not come till seven or eight hundred years after this prophecy was delivered. But the prophet refers to Gospel times. Accordingly the Church did arise and shine at that time more brightly and auspiciously than she had ever done before.
(C. G. Scott.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.