The Lord will appear when it is time

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”     (Isaiah 60: 1-3)

It seems that every Christian generation believes that it is facing the ultimate darkness of Satan’s reign over their world. As I have read various historical accounts of Christians standing firm in Christ within their dark world, I have been struck by the similarity of experience that they and I seem to share. They experienced the rapid increase in all things pertaining to Satan and concluded that the second coming must be imminent — for how could things get any worse. Then things did get worse, and still Christ did not returned. In the world today, I can also conclude that the return of Jesus must happen any day now; for the darkness in the world seems more intense than ever before. I believe that the darkness in the lives of people caught up in worldliness may be more complete than in the past; however, the light of God is shining just as bright as it ever has. It is the consistency of God, which must be emphasized. God has not changed! It is simply the retreat of people into dark worldly practices and beliefs, which seems more thorough and complete. It is so easy to focus on the darkness, but as Christians we are to focus on the light — the light of love — the light of Christ within whom we choose to live each day. God is not instructing us to ignore the darkness, to embrace it, or to wage war on the propagators of it; rather he is calling us to patiently let His light shine on us and to let that light shine through us. Christ Jesus will return when the Father decides it is the right time. Until then, we can call upon the Holy Spirit to help our thoughts and actions arise from the light of God, so that His purposes will be humbly fulfilled through us. I pray that God’s light will shine in us according to His plan and pleasure as described in the God inspired words of Isaiah the prophet.

 

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Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60: 1-3)

Isaiah could not know the exact nature of the light he spoke of. But he calls to Jerusalem, to Zion, to rise to the light even as they were surrounded by darkness. The light would draw not only Zion, but all nations. This verse echos Isaiah 9, quoted in Matthew 4:

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, along the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

And, of course, the gospel of John makes much use of the idea of Jesus as the light, as in its opening words, which also echo these passages:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Handel uses this text as part of his libretto of the Messiah, combining it with Isaiah 40:9:

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.