And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.
In the beginning God......................................said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. The Light which was created in the beginning was significant of that Light that was to shine in the Darkness, those in 'the region and shadow of death'. The context, especially the greater ( original ) context, shows what area of the world the writer was referring to & that the reader should have understood. That this Light yet shines is not in question, but how & for what purpose is!
During the early & mid first century, the Light shined, as Scripture had foretold, upon those who sat in darkness. That Darkness was the Reign & Ministration of Sin & Death that the apostle Paul spoke of ( II Corinthians 3:7 ) as a characterization of pharisaic Judaism! It was upon that 'region and shadow of death' that the Light came to shine & was finally revealed as the Creator Himself in the destruction ( judgment ) of Jerusalem & the Jewish Temple, thus effectively ending their reign!
The purpose of evangelism, from Jesus to Peter & Paul, was to prepare the Church, the Body of Christ, to continue to shine that Light throughout the entire Creation, to baptize it with the Knowledge of the Creator! That Purpose, much like Eschatology, was fulfilled; as Jesus said, 'you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes': His disciples were to evangelize, or spread the Good News, throughout the cities of Israel & 'this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come'. Paul later wrote to the Church at Colosse, 'the gospel.........was preached to every creature under heaven'! Now, we understand that this 'every creature under heaven' did not refer to the entirety of Creation, as we are used to thinking of it, but to the known ( civilized ) world of the Jesus Generation!
To be sure, there are areas of the world ( the terrene globe ) yet to be evangelized, or told the Good News, but the Greater Need in this day & age is for Illumination, not for Evangelization, per se! We as the Body of Christ are now the Light that shines in the darkness; Jesus told His disciples, 'You are the light of the world'. His final instructions to them were, 'make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' ( Matthew 28:19 ) The Church was prepared, during the ministry of Jesus, for her ministry of reconciliation, for evangelization; through the ministries of Peter, Paul & the apostles, this ministry was fulfilled!
The ministry of reconciliation, or evangelization, was to the Jews & those who had sat in darkness all their life! The Coming, or Parousia of the Jewish Messiah shed that Light upon the World that had been waiting for Him! In the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, wherein the Creator was forever united with His Creation, the Good News of the Kingdom of God had been fully established; although not fully realized. The Realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is established call for a ministry of Illumination, not further Evangelization!
There is a need, to some extent, for further evangelization, but the greater need is for illumination; illumination, to help people, Christians inn particular, that when the Light came, He never left; He is in His People! We are the Ministry of Illumination, the Ministry, not so much of Reconciliation anymore, although there is that need yet, but to let our light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify our Father in heaven! Only as we shine that Light before the world they may begin to realize, most Christians included, that the Kingdom of Heaven is A Present Reality!
The Light has come; the Good News was spread, through evangelization to the known world! What is needed now is not further evangelization ( which nowadays seems to be, 'say this prayer so that you can go to heaven when you die ), but rather illumination. Although the god of that age was overthown in the Lake of Fire & forever destroyed, we, as the Body of Christ & the Light of the World in this day & age fight against similar demons ( idols ) which blind the eyes of even many Christians!
Charles Haddon Shank