Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Saw The Light

But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.  Ephesians 5:13-14a

Not all English translations handle this phrase the same way.  Since it is all Greek to me, I checked Wuest and a couple of others that confirm it as reasonable.   My old Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Whole Bible (1871) says this: 

whatsoever doth make manifest—rather, "everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or 'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,' Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,' Eph 5:8, but) light." The devil and the wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but love darkness, though outwardly the light shines round them. Therefore, "light" has no transforming effect on them, so that they do not become light (Joh 3:19, 20). But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves (Eph 5:8), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your "armor of light" (Ro 13:12) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.

What I find most interesting about this is how utterly true it is that anything visible is light.  The eye literally can see only light, a given range of the electromagnetic spectrum.  We see only the light coming off of an object and never the object itself. 

“I saw the light” – what else would you see? 

Now, the rest of verse 14, which appears to be a quote:  Therefore it says,  Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.  There is no single source from the Old Testament that quite matches it – Isaiah 60:1 is close.  Arise, shine, for your light has come,and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.  Malachi 4:2 says “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings”.  A couple of other verses in Isaiah talk about waking up or rising from the dead.  The phrase “Christ will shine on you” is cross-reference to Zachariah’s song in Luke 1:78.  Most likely, then, if Paul is quoting something, it is an early Christian hymn. 

There is much that can be gleaned from this thought.  Light makes things visible by turning them into what we might call a language of sight.  If I look out my window and see a tree, I am really seeing the light that means “tree”.  When Christ, the true light, shines upon us He reveals all that is present, good, bad, and ugly.  It occurs to me that this may be related to Adam and Eve suddenly perceiving their own nakedness where before their sin they were clothed in light. 

In any case, it’s something to think about, the implications of which may justify further exploration.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Mushroom!
It's no coincidence that light also gives and sustains life.
Or, The Light to be precise.

julie said...

Interesting thoughts, Mushroom - they resonate nicely with today's OC post, too.