Isaiah 60, the text for "Arise, Shine," concerns the glory of Zion, that is, Jerusalem and all of Israel. Many interpreters also understand the chapter to be a far-reaching prophecy, similar to passages in Revelation that describe the new Jerusalem. With New Testament eyes we can catch a glimpse of the new city of God and of the glory of a new heaven and a new earth. Parts of this song also have ongoing significance–for example, the ingathering of the church mentioned in stanzas 2 and 3. As is common with prophetic texts, parts are fulfilled already, but other parts (and sometimes even the same parts) will have their final fulfillment sometime in the future. The prophecy mentioned in stanza 1, for example, is fulfilled at the first coming of Christ but waits for its final completion at his second coming.
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
In stanza 2 of “Arise, Shine, for Your Light Is Come” “the nations” rise to joyfully praise Jesus and come to his light. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 21, leads us to profess that the Lord promised to be God to Abraham and Sarah and their children, “blessing the nations through them” and shaping them to be a people who will be “a light to the nations.” In these words we catch a glimpse of what Heidelberg Catechism teaches us in Lord’s Day 21, Question and Answer 54, that Christ “through his Spirit and Word”…will gather a church “from the entire human race.”