Monday, July 18, 2011
(1) Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Quite a greeting to start off the morning!
The second verse continues -
(2) For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
This will be a brief study of light vs. darkness. As I began to study this contrast between light and darkness, I discovered it’s quite a lesson. I encourage you to dig deeper than what I will cover today as it is very enlightening.
Beginning in Genesis, where God caused the light to shine upon the void and darkness of the deep to Revelation, where there’s no longer any need for the sun because the glory of God and the Lamb are the light thereof, the story can be characterized as one of a spiritual battle between the forces of light and darkness, good vs. evil.
This spiritual battle is described in Ephesians the 6th chapter and it is one we must win.
(12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Who are these principalities and rulers of the darkness and where did they come from? Let’s take a look at a couple of scriptures that might give us some insight –
(3) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (4) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
We’ve read this passage a thousand times and we know this is where the rebellious angels were cast down. But let’s notice to where they were cast - To the earth.
These angels which kept not their first estate were banished to the earth and delivered into chains of darkness.
Jude verse 6
(6) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
(4) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
The Robinson Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament describes the phrase, “And delivered them into chains of darkness” like this - “Where darkness lies like chains upon them” - Robinson, Lexicon continuing - "The meaning seems to be, that they are confined in that dark prisonhouse as if by chains. We are not to suppose that spirits are literally bound; but it was common to bind or fetter prisoners who were in dungeons, and the representation here is taken from that fact. This representation that the mass of fallen angels are confined in “Tartarus,” or in hell, is not inconsistent with the representations which elsewhere occur that their leader is permitted to roam the earth, and that even many of those spirits are allowed to tempt men. It may be still true that the mass are confined within the limits of their dark abode; and it may even be true also that Satan and those who are permitted to roam the earth are under bondage, and are permitted to range only within certain bounds, and that they are so secured that they will be brought to trial at the last day."
We don’t know exactly to what extent they’re bound or which ones may have more freedom than others but we do know that there are demons and evil spirits on earth. Mary Magdalene, herself had 7 demons (Luke 8:2). The point is that these fallen angels, demons, devils, evil spirits or whatever you want to call them are right here on this earth! And as the end time draws near it will become even more prevalent.
(2) And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (3) For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
There may be more that are confined in the pit, call it "Tartarus" if you want, that will be unleashed later in Rev. 9 where an angel unlocks the bottomless pit.
What would happen if we were to encounter one? Let’s look at two incidents where demons were encountered but with very different results -
In Luke 10, when the 70 disciples returned from their travels, in verse 17, they were ecstatic that “even the devils [demons] are subject to us through your name”. Evil spirits are spoken of in many places in the Bible. (Luke 4:33-36; Luke 7:21; Mark 5:1-13; for example)
These disciples of Jesus cast out demons through His name and judging by their exuberance were not harmed at all. It didn’t fare as well for the vagabond Jewish exorcists in Acts 19. Remember the story?
(13) Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. (14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva [skyoo-as'], a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. (15) And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? (16) And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (17) And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
It says these men were Jews and sons of the chief priest so they were probably not disciples of Jesus Christ though it doesn’t directly say so. But as a result of this encounter, fear fell on all the Jews and Greeks at Ephesus and the name of Jesus was magnified. Why? Maybe they all recognized that there was more to this Jesus than just the mechanics of speaking His name as if you were casting a spell as they did in their sorceries so prevalent at that time. Maybe the weaker demons respond to just the mention of Jesus' name but others require more. We know some kinds of demons only come out by prayer and fasting. (Matt 17:21)
You have to wonder with the vastness of the entire universe, with all the other galaxies and all the other planets to choose from, why did God choose earth as the place to put mankind, the very place to which He banished Satan and his demons? How better to prove His Almighty power than to raise up sons and daughters right in Satan’s own backyard !
(32) But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated [photizo, like photon], ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
Those “former days”, when we were without strength, and yet while we were still sinners and Christ died for us (Rom 5:6-8), can be compared to walking in darkness and being called by the Father to follow Christ, as being illuminated or enlightened.
Let’s look at this light side of the conflict – starting in John chapter 8, just after Jesus rescued the adulteress woman from stoning.
(12) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
(4) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Notice in both cases, it says, “the light” not “a light”. Meaning there is but one.
The Greek word here for “comprehended” is – "katalambano" and rather than implying that the darkness did not understand the light, it more clearly means the darkness overcame or overpowered it not
To illustrate or “illuminate” this further let's look at –
(4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (5) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Overtake = same word, “katalambano”
And one more place –
(35) Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. (36) While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
come upon = same word, “katalambano”
So then we see that Jesus Christ is the light of the world and that light cannot be overcome by darkness. Walking in the light, is walking with Christ while not walking with Christ, not following in His footsteps, seeking His truth and His way of life, defaults in the passive result of walking in spiritual darkness, or even worse, the darkness overcoming us.
Let's look at Acts 26 and let’s see what Christ told Paul when he was Saul on his way to Damascus as Paul describes it in -
(16) But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (17) Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, (18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Turning from darkness to light is likened, to turning from the power of Satan to the power of God. In order to avoid being overcome by darkness, we must seek God while He can still be found with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
(5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, [He is the source] and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
(3) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
If we are to win this spiritual battle against the rulers of the darkness, we need to draw ever nearer to source of the Light, to the Lord our God.
(7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
Notice how “resisting the devil” is bracketed by “submitting to God” and “drawing near to God”.
Remember Matthew 17:21? That some kinds of demons come out only by prayer and fasting? Prayer and fasting brings us closer to the Father. Jesus had the power to do it because He was so close to the Father that as he described it, He was one with the Father, that is of the same mind and Spirit. Yet Jesus Himself said at a time when He was in the flesh, I can of mine own self do nothing. (John 5:30) So it requires that we be close to the Father.
Let’s look at John 17 and see how Jesus described this oneness with the Father. We’ll read part of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples before his departure to the garden at Gethsemane – I encourage you to read and study this entire prayer when you get a chance but right now we’re going to break in at verse 15 -
(15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. [God put us here and Jesus prayed that we not be taken out.] (16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (18) As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. (19) And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (20) Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [that covers us as well] (21) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (24) Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (25) O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. (26) And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
We have been called out of darkness by God Himself (Col 1:12-13; John 6:44) to become one with God the Father and Jesus Christ, to show forth His praises through the power of His holy Spirit in us. We are to serve as an example to others, [otherwise, why place us here?] (Phil 2:13-16) a radiance of the hope that lies within us and to be ever ready to reveal to them, the Father. (1Pet 3:15; Matt 11:27)
(9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Don’t hide your light under a bushel, Rise and shine!