Luke 2:32
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) To lighten the Gentiles.—Literally, for a revelation to the Gentiles. The idea is strictly that of the withdrawal of the “veil spread over all nations” of Isaiah 25:7.

The glory of thy people Israel.—Here, again, the language is the natural utterance of the hope of the time, not the after-thought of later years. The Christ whom Israel had rejected was hardly “the glory of the people” when St. Luke wrote his Gospel.

2:25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon's hope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must go to his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that this Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the salvation of God's appointing. He bids farewell to this world. How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached word is still the touchstone of men's characters. The secret good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection.A light to lighten the Gentiles - This is in accordance with the prophecies in the Old Testament, Isaiah 49; Isaiah 9:6-7; Psalm 98:3; Malachi 4:2. The Gentiles are represented as sitting in darkness that is, in ignorance and sin. Christ is a "light" to them, as by him they will be made acquainted with the character of the true God, his law, and the plan of redemption. As the darkness rolls away when the sun arises, so ignorance and error flee away when Jesus gives light to the mind. Nations shall come to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising, Isaiah 60:3.

And the glory ... - The first offer of salvation was made to the Jews, John 4:22; Luke 24:47. Jesus was born among the Jews; to them had been given the prophecies respecting him, and his first ministry was among them. Hence, he was their glory, their honor, their light. But it is a subject of special gratitude to us that the Saviour was given also for the Gentiles; for:

1. We are Gentiles, and if he had not come we should have been shut out from the blessings of redemption.

2. It is he only that now.

"Can make our dying bed.

Feel soft as downy pillows are,

While on his breast we lean our head,

And breathe our life out sweetly there."

Thus our departure may be like that of Simeon. Thus we may die in peace. Thus it will be a blessing to die. But,

3. In order to do this, our life must be like that of Simeon. We must wait for the consolation of Israel. We must look for his coming. We must be holy, harmless, undefiled, "loving" the Saviour. Then death to us, like death to Simeon, will have no terror; we shall depart in peace, and in heaven see the salvation of God, 2 Peter 3:11-12. But,

4. Children, as well as the hoary-headed Simeon, may look for the coming of Christ. They too must die; and "their" death will be happy only as they depend on the Lord Jesus, and are prepared to meet him.

31, 32. all people—all the peoples, mankind at large.

a light to the Gentiles—then in thick darkness.

glory of thy people Israel—already Thine, and now, in the believing portion of it, to be so more gloriously than ever. It will be observed that this "swan-like song, bidding an eternal farewell to this terrestrial life" [Olshausen], takes a more comprehensive view of the kingdom of Christ than that of Zacharias, though the kingdom they sing of is one.

See Poole on "Luke 2:29"

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. "Light", is one of the names of the Messiah in the Old Testament, as in Psalm 43:3 Daniel 2:22, which passages are by the Jews (k) 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; (l) 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,

(k) Jarchi in Psal. xliii. 3. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 1. 3. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2.((l) Gloss. in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 2:32. φῶς εἰς ἀ. .: the Gentiles are to be more than spectators, even sharers in the salvation, which is represented under the twofold aspect of a light and a glory.—φῶς and δόξαν may be taken in apposition with as objects of ἡτοίμασας: salvation prepared or provided in the form of a light for the Gentiles, and a glory for Israel. Universalism here, but not of the pronounced type of Lk. (Holtz., H. C.), rather such as is found even in O. T. prophets.

32. to lighten the Gentiles] Rather, for revelation to. A memorable prophecy, considering that even the Apostles found it hard to grasp the full admission of the Gentiles, clearly as it had been indicated in older prophecy, as in Psalm 98:2-3. “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God,” Isaiah 52:10. “I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6.

Luke 2:32. Φῶς, a light) This stands in apposition with τὸ σωτήριόν σου, thy means of salvation, Luke 2:30.—εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν) that God and His Christ may be revealed to the Gentiles, and that they may be revealed to their own selves in His light.—ἐθνῶν, of the Gentiles) Construe with φῶς, a light [but Engl. Vers. with ἀποκάλυψιν, to lighten the Gentiles]: a light of the Gentiles, and one about to be revealed to them [the same]: see Revelation 21:23-24.—καὶ δόξαν, and the glory) Construe with φῶς, a light [i.e. in apposition to τὸ σωτήριόν σου, Luke 2:30], there being no εἰς, in, understood. Light, and glory or splendour, are synonymous; but in such a way as that the glory expresses something greater than a light, and implies therefore the peculiar privilege of Israel, on account of its especial tie of connection with this [Him the] King of Glory.—Ἰσραὴλ, Israel) Even after the call of the Gentiles, Israel shall enjoy this glory.

Luke 2:32A light (φῶς)

The light itself as distinguished from λύχνος, a lamp, which the A. V. often unfortunately renders light. See on Mark 14:54.

To lighten (εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν)

Wrong. Rev., correctly, for revelation. Wyc., to the shewing. It may be rendered the unveiling of the Gentiles.

Gentiles (ἐθνῶν)

Assigned to the same root as ἔθω, to be accustomed, and hence of a people bound together by like habits or customs. According to biblical usage the term is understood of people who are not of Israel, and who therefore occupy a different position with reference to the plan of salvation. Hence the extension of the gospel salvation to them is treated as a remarkable fact. See Matthew 12:18, Matthew 12:21; Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:45; Acts 11:18; Acts 18:6. Paul is called distinctively an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, and a chosen vessel to bear Christ's name among them. In Acts 15:9; Ephesians 2:11, Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:6, we see this difference annihilated, and the expression at last is merely historical designation of the non-Israelitish nations which, as such, were formerly without God and salvation. See Acts 15:23; Romans 16:4; Ephesians 3:1. Sometimes the word is used in a purely moral sense, to denote the heathen in opposition to Christians. See 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Peter 2:12. Light is promised here to the Gentiles and glory to Israel. The Gentiles are regarded as in darkness and ignorance. Some render the words εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν, above, for the unveiling of the Gentiles, instead of for revelation. Compare Isaiah 25:7. Israel, however, has already received light by the revelation of God through the law and the prophets, and that light will expand into glory through Christ. Through the Messiah, Israel will attain its true and highest glory.

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