Then shall thy light break forth as the morning
Through thick clouds, or the darkness of the night, suddenly, swiftly, irresistibly, and increase more and more, till it is perfect day. This is to be understood best of temporal and spiritual prosperity, especially the latter, which will attend the churches of the Reformation, when a spirit of persecution is laid aside, and a spirit of love commences, which will be in the Philadelphian church state; and it particularly respects the glorious light of the Gospel, which will break forth very clearly, and shine out in all the world; and the light of joy, peace, and comfort, which will attend it, in the hearts of the Lord's people; see ( Isaiah 60:1 ) : and thine health shall spring forth speedily;
as the herbs and grass out of the earth, by clear shining after rain; by which is meant the healthful and sound state of the church in the latter day, when all divisions shall be healed; contentions and animosities cease; sound doctrine preached; the ordinances administered according to their original institution; true discipline restored; and all the parts of worship performed, according to the rule of the divine word; and so the souls of men, under all these means, be in thriving and flourishing circumstances: and thy righteousness shall go before thee;
not the external righteousness of the saints, or works of righteousness done by them; these do not go before them, at least to prepare the way for them into a future state of happiness, but follow after, ( Revelation 14:13 ) , rather the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and so theirs; or Christ their righteousness, the sun of righteousness, that arises upon them with healing in his wings, and from whom they have the health before mentioned; he goes before his people by way of example, as a guide to direct them, and as the forerunner of them, and whose righteousness will introduce them into the heavenly glory. Though perhaps the meaning here is, that their righteousness, in the latter day glory, shall be very manifest, both their righteousness before God, and before men; which will, as it were, visibly walk before them, make way for them, and protect them; see ( Isaiah 60:21 ) , and the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward,
the glorious power and providence of God, preserving his people; or the glorious Lord himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, the brightness of his Father's glory, he, as the word may be rendered, "shall gather thee" F9; he gathers his people to himself; he protects and defends them; he takes care of the weak and feeble, and that are straggling behind; and he brings them up, being the reward, and saves them. The phrase denotes a glorious state of the church in the latter day, when the glory of the Lord will be risen on his church, and abide upon it, and upon all that glory there shall be a defence; see ( Isaiah 60:1 ) ( 4:5 ) .