“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12).
“…It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
These two verses summarize the last battle for the believer. You may be wondering why a battle would be necessary if the Lord has already won. I believe that the answer to that question is because light and darkness are mutually exclusive. Keep in mind that light is always stronger than darkness. It makes no difference how dark the darkness may be because when light appears darkness is instanteously defeated and all that the darkness attempted to hide is exposed. Only in the absence of light is darkness powerful. Since the Lord said, “Ye are the light of the world,” complete darkness cannot set in. Works of darkness are continuously exposed by our presence.
It is significant to remember that the light that exposes darkness is not accomplished by “flesh and blood.” Don’t ever be deceived by well-meaning Christians who play politics to expose the darkness that exists in our land and heal our society as a result. It will never happen. It is not promised in the Bible and those attempts are actually the work of the great enemy.
Some of you may be shocked to read such a statement but based on what the Bible teaches, I am convinced that it is true. The Lord Jesus told us that His kingdom was not of this world (yet!); otherwise, His disciples would fight. The Lord Jesus Himself was born and lived His entire life under foreign occupation but He never lifted a finger against the political and military authority of Rome. As a matter of fact, He even endorsed the payment of taxes to the foreign government with His statement, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.”
When we follow the life of Paul and the lives of the other apostles we also see that they were not politically active in any way, but were consumed with the desire to preach the Gospel and follow Jesus even unto death.
Your motives may be noble in fighting against the various ills of our society. But if you do, please remember that the Bible holds no promises that you will succeed. How then do we fight against the powers of darkness? Simply by being and acting like Christians, letting the fruit of the Spirit show through our lives. That light is much stronger than any political power in the world. We need to stand up for what is right, but making it our full-time mission to fightagainst such practices as abortion, homosexuality, atheism and drug abuse will not produce fruit for His glory but will entangle us in the affairs of the world. As a result, our strength will be wasted upon the things of this world.
For the work of darkness—including the deception of the world— to reach fruition, the light must be removed from planet Earth. Until that happens, we are light-bearers although we remain in our sinful flesh and blood.
The fact that the apostle cautioned us to “cast off the works of darkness” clearly indicates that by nature, Christians are in danger of participating in the work of darkness.
It also reveals that when we are born again of the Spirit of God, we are not automatically separated from darkness while we are in our flesh.
Paul also spoke of the sin which so easily besets us. In other words, Christians are capable of committing the same sins as the children of the world.
We are redeemed from the power and guilt of sin; however, we are not redeemed from the presence of sin. Subsequently, our last battle is based on our continuous stand in direct opposition to temptation and sin.
Our stand in faith will determine our position regarding the rewards that will be given to those who have faithfully held on to their Lord. We are strongly warned and reminded of this in 2nd John 1:8, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
We can outline this chapter in five points:
1) When light became darkness
2) The battle between light and darkness
3) The battle between spirit, soul and body
4) The battle against deception
5) The battle of silence
1) WHEN LIGHT BECAME DARKNESS
Isaiah supplies us with a view of prophecy that looked back in time. He showed us the history of darkness in chapter 14:12-14, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” These verses describe the birth of darkness.
Lucifer, the “son of the morning,” was indeed an excellent personality in the presence of God. Only the King James translation adds the word ‘Lucifer ” so as not to confuse him with the only bright and morning star. The Hebrew-English translation reads, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O shining one, son of dawn!…” Luther translates this verse, “How has thou fallen from heaven, thou beautiful star of the morning…” This is a vivid description of the birth of sin. Of course it is incomprehensible to us because our limited human intellect cannot grasp the terrible catastrophe that took place at that time.
This “morning star,” so full of light, so boundlessly beautiful and glorious, conceived in his heart the desire to be equal with the Most High. His self-exaltation and pride are clearly expressed in the five-fold “I will” of the fallen star cited in the Isaiah passage. Deception was born in his heart and caused his downfall. As a result, light became darkness.
2) THE BATTLE BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS
As we previously mentioned, light is stronger than darkness. As a child of God, you have received the Light of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. The powers of darkness are nullified when you stay in the territory of the light. Then, you can exclaim with the Lord, “The evil cometh and findeth nothing on me.”
To illustrate how light is stronger than darkness, do the following: go into the basement of your house or some other dark place at night when there is no light. When you find yourself in such a place, you literally cannot see your hand in front of your eyes. Everything is pitch black and you do not know what is waiting for you in the darkness.
If you don’t move carefully, you may hurt yourself, falling over an object or bumping into a dangerous instrument. For all practical purposes, you are completely paralyzed by the darkness. Any move you make can be dangerous, even fatal.
But then at the very second you turn on the flashlight, darkness is defeated and you can clearly recognize the objects which could have done you harm in the darkness.
The Counterfeit Light
The same can be said about the unsaved who remain in darkness, not knowing where they are going. They live on a day-to-day basis, approaching eternal darkness where no salvation is possible.
Anyone with a little common sense knows that you don’t walk around in a dark place where you cannot see. We may wonder why people walk in darkness.
The answer is simple, yet sad; they are following in the footsteps of a counterfeit light. Second Corinthians 11:14 warns, “… no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
How can a person see the light? Jesus answers that question in John 3:3 when He speaks to Nicodemus the Pharisee, “… Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Therefore, the moment a person is born again of the Spirit of God, not only does he see his surroundings, but he sees eternity, “the kingdom of God.” By faith he sees those wonderful things which are hidden from the eyes of the children of the world.
The believer does not aimlessly wander in this world, but has the light and walks with determination toward eternity.
This can be compared to a ship on the sea, looking for the beacon of the lighthouse. Picture the Lord, the Light of the world who beckons all who are lost in the darkness of sin to come to Him. The lighthouse operator rejoices when on the horizon he sees a little flicker of light from a ship in the far distance being tossed to and fro by the waves. The moment this contact is established, the lighthouse is able to safely guide the ship back to the harbor. The captain of the ship understands the signs aimed at him from the lighthouse, he follows the instructions and ultimately reaches safety. Our lives can be compared to this illustration. We are in the ocean of darkness with no hope, lost for all eternity. Suddenly, in the far distance we see the blinking Light from our heavenly Lighthouse. The moment we cry out for help, Jesus gives us His Light. From that point on, we can communicate with Him directly because our light is now turned toward our heavenly Lighthouse, the Lord Jesus.
Dear reader, if you have not yet received the Lord Jesus, do not delay any longer because it may be your last chance to be saved for all eternity. The alternative is eternal darkness, separation from God, being lost forever.
The wonderful truth is that the Christian walks toward eternity with full assurance that the way has been prepared, the price has been paid, and the guarantee, “I will never leave you nor forsake you, ” is always valid.
The Sure Word Of Prophecy
A born again Christian does not walk in darkness but uses the sure word of prophecy as his guideline. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts ” (2nd Peter 1:19).
The great apostle Peter penned these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit at a time when he was aware that his life was soon to come to an end. He testified in verse 14, “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” It is significant that this apostle emphasized the fact that he had diligently proclaimed the imminency of the Rapture, “… the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (verse 16). As a result, Peter boldly proclaimed the prophetic Word, the coming of Jesus.
Many Christians fail to realize that the Word of prophecy climaxes in the return of Jesus and is part of the liberating Gospel we are to preach to all people everywhere.
You can sense the urgency with which Peter entrusted the prophetic Word to the Church. Not only do we have a “more sure word of prophecy, ” but we are also cautioned to “take heed” of it. We are to watch out, to be alert, and to be fully conscious of the events that are taking place in our time which point to the coming of the Lord.
It struck me when I realized that Peter wrote, “… as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” Surely it doesn’t take much energy to recognize a light in a dark place, because the light, no matter how faint, is easily detected. The light itself does not need to exclaim, “Here, look, this is light!” Light is so powerful that it actually cancels out darkness.
Light Exposes Darkness
This light that the apostle speaks of is the light that gives us perfect and secure guidance amidst the commotion and darkness in this world. When we read the news, listen to the radio or watch television, we are plagued with so many negative things; terrible catastrophes, wars and rumors of wars, misery and tragedy. We are being offered all types of remedies – of which none usually work – except for the Light of the world! But in the midst of the surrounding darkness in our society, we have the sure word of prophecy – the Light that guides us through the darkness.
We must remember that darkness is not going to be obliterated and will be even more powerful as the endtime progresses until there is so much darkness that even children of God are in danger of losing sight of the light.
It is quite obvious that Peter was not only speaking about the coming of the Lord, but was particularly interested in showing us that the day must also dawn in our hearts. How are our hearts enlightened?
When “the day star” has taken full possession of our earthly tabernacle and we have totally surrendered to His will and do His bidding!
The Prophetic Light
The light of the prophetic Word is not to be compared to any other light such as daylight. There is no difference between the saved and the lost, the good and the evil, because our daylight is an all-penetrating force that gives light to all men. The light we are speaking of is the Light in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John spoke about this when he began his Gospel account and said, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4-5).
This Light shines in the darkness, but as we have just read, the general population does not recognize it. Why is that the case? Isn’t this Light available everywhere? The answer is yes, even more than our daylight, which is only poured out on half of the globe at one time.
In verse 9 John makes this very clear that the Light is there for all men, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Every single human being will be confronted with the Light of the world, for it “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” But the great tragedy is that “… the darkness comprehended it not ” (John 1:5).
The Coming Light
Isaiah saw the coming of this Light approximately 750 years before the birth of Christ. He wrote, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).
The New Testament speaks of the fulfillment of this prophecy, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matthew 4:14-16).
It is important at this point to emphasize the Gentiles’ integration and participation in the promised Light. Paul reports the following to us in Romans 15:9-13, “…that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
You Need Light
Is it dark in your life? Are you bothered by your surroundings? Is your day-to-day life dictated by circumstances which apparently are beyond your control? Then you are not permitting the Word of prophecy to be the light of your life. In other words, you are not really waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus.
The apostle Paul recognized the danger of not waiting for Jesus and wrote to the Corinthians, “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1st Corinthians 1:7).
This gift of waiting for His return is something so precious I have no adequate words to describe it. When we wait for Him, everything else that oppresses and burdens us seems to fade away. Therefore, today, begin to seek the better way, the prophetic Word, the Word Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that He can fill your life with the unspeakable and joyful desire of waiting for Him.
(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)