A light to lighten the Gentiles
Or for the revelation of the Gentiles; to reveal the love, grace, and mercy of God, an everlasting righteousness, and the way of life and salvation to them. Reference seems to be had to ( Isaiah 42:6 ) ( 49:6 ) . "Light", is one of the names of the Messiah in the Old Testament, as in ( Psalms 43:3 ) ( Daniel 2:22 ) , which passages are by the Jews F11 themselves interpreted of Christ; and is a name often used of him in the New Testament: it is true of him as God, he is light itself, and in him is no darkness at all; and as the Creator of mankind, he is that light which lightens every man with the light of nature and reason; and as the Messiah, he is come a light into the world: the light of the Gospel, in the clear shine of it, is from him; the light of grace in his people, who were in darkness itself, he is the author and donor of; as he is also of the light of glory and happiness, in the world to come: and particularly, the Gentiles enjoy this benefit of light by him; who were, and as this supposes they were, in darkness, as they had been some hundreds of years before the Messiah's coming: they were in the dark about the being and perfections of God, about the unity of God, and the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, and about God in Christ; about his worship, the rule and nature of it; and the manner of atonement, and reconciliation for sin; the person, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ; the Spirit of God, and his operations on the souls of men; the Scriptures of truth, and both law and Gospel; the resurrection of the dead, and a future state: now, though Christ in his personal ministry, was sent only to the Jews, yet after his resurrection, he gave his disciples a commission to go into all the world, to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, in order to turn them from darkness to light; and hereby multitudes were called out of darkness into marvellous light: and this Simeon had knowledge of, and a few more besides him; otherwise, the generality of the Jewish nation were of opinion, that when the Messiah came, the nations of the world would receive no benefit by him, no light, nor comfort, nor peace, or prosperity: but all the reverse would befall them, as darkness, calamity, and misery: and so they express themselves in a certain place; F12 the Israelites look, or wait for
``redemption; for the day of the Lord shall be "light to them"; but; the nations, why do they wait for him? for he shall be "to them darkness, and not light".''But the contrary, Simeon, under divine inspiration, declares, and, blessed be God, it has proved true: he adds,
and the glory of thy people Israel;
which is true of Israel in a literal sense, inasmuch as the Messiah was born of the Jews, and among them; and was first sent and came to them, and lived and dwelled with them; taught in their streets, and wrought his miracles in the midst of them; though this was an aggravation of their ingratitude and unbelief, in rejecting him: the Gospel was first preached to them, even after the commission was enlarged to carry it among the Gentiles; and many of them were converted, and the first Gospel church was planted among them; and an additional glory was made to them, by the calling of the Gentiles, and joining them to them, through the ministry of the apostles, who were all Jews; who went forth from Zion, and carried the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, to the several parts of the world: and this also is more especially true, of the mystical, or spiritual Israel of God, whose glory Christ is; being made of God unto them, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; they having such an head, husband, Saviour, and Redeemer, as he; and they being clothed with his righteousness, and washed in his blood, sanctified by his grace, and made meet for eternal glory; to which they have a right and claim, through the grace of God, and merits of Christ; and therefore glory not in themselves, but in Christ, who is their all in all.
F11 Jarchi in Psal. xliii. 3. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 1. 3. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2.
F12 Gloss. in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.