ARISE, SHINE; FOR THY LIGHT IS COME, AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD IS RISEN UPON THEE.
The prophet Zechariah said “But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” (Zech 14:7) We are convinced that there are but two ages which occur in the lifespan of this world in which we presently dwell. There are the “former times” or “times past” as we read of in Hebrews 1:1, and “the latter times or last days” as John emphatically stated, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1John 2:18)
The great dividing LINE which separates those two ages is the coming of CHRIST into the world, made in the likeness of sinful flesh, to redeem that possession which has been HIS from before the foundation of the world. HIS revelation and subsequent ministry has ushered in these last days in which we dwell. “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb 9:26)
This is the day of SALVATION (“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”(2Cor 6:2)) which was prophesied in the beginning (see Gen. 3:15) and which is the theme of the prophecy given in the Old Testament. Zechariah said that “at evening time it shall be light” and we see that perfectly manifested in the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy , “thy LIGHT is come”. We wait for no other. CHRIST is indeed the LIGHT of the world and more particularly the LIGHT of HIS people to which HE is pleased to reveal HIMSELF. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isa 9:2)
Paul testified, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Co 4:6) In another place Peter said “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2Pet 1:19)
The manifestation of this LIGHT never varies. HE is the same LIGHT when HE said “let there be light” as HE is said to be in the “ages to come”, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Rev 21:23) “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.” (Rev 22:5)
The people of GOD are “given light” by HIM and shall reign as the kings and priests HE has made them. HE is their LIGHT and they are enabled to see more clearly only as it pleases HIM to remove their darkness. They have no innate ability to “see” anything apart from HIS dispelling of their darkness by the introduction of HIS LIGHT.
Through the ages to come they shall “see HIM” because HE shall have removed their darkness once and for all, and not because they shall be possessed of any ability to produce their own light. The elect of GOD are accepted of GOD, only because they are in CHRIST, and they shall stand only in HIS imputed righteousness forever. They have only a reflected light, of which HE has always been and shall always be, the SOURCE, even as the Moon is but a reflection of the light of the Sun. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26) HE is that ONE, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.” (1Tim 6:16)
While we read that CHRIST has the SPIRIT without measure, (“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:34-
The LORD gave HIS apostles a mandate to go into all the world and preach the gospel, to every creature. By calling; we have the same mandate, and it is through the foolishness of preaching that GOD has been pleased to “save some” who are identified as “those that believe.” (see I Cor 1:21) This salvation is described as that wherein “life and immortality are brought to light”. The preaching of the gospel does not produce light nor does it confer life to dead sinners, nor is there any power at all in the ability of men to preach it. Yet it is that which GOD has ordained to inform those that sit in darkness of the “great LIGHT, that has now shined in a dark place.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:13-
Paul testified that he had no choice but to preach the gospel, (see I Cor.9:16) even alluding to being sent as a representative or ambassador of CHRIST to declare the glorious message of reconciliation to those whom GOD is pleased to give ears to hear it. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2Cor 5:18-
The purpose of preaching the Gospel is primarily to exalt the Name of CHRIST in the display of HIS redemptive work which HE has accomplished by taking upon HIMSELF the sin of HIS elect and imputing HIS righteousness to them, by the means of HIS substitutionary atonement. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor 5:21) This is that wherein all of our boasting is to take place. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14)
We are not sent to try to persuade men to fulfill some formula or offer up obedience to the LORD, but rather to declare the unsearchable riches of CHRIST. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom 3:25-