When you were a little child were you afraid of the dark? Many little children are afraid of the dark. Are you still afraid of the dark today—of spiritual darkness? You do not need to fear spiritual darkness, if you understand what the Bible says about spiritual light.
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” John 8:12. This is a divine promise. If we follow Jesus, the Light of the world, we will not be in the dark. We will have light that will result in having eternal life.
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. What is this light that we receive when we follow Jesus? One of the types of spiritual light is the light of prophecy.
We Can Know the Future
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 11 Peter 1:19–21. So Bible prophecy is a light; it is like a “light that shines in a dark place.”
That is why we have prophecy seminars. That is why we study the books of Daniel and Revelation, which were written especially for the last days—so we will understand the light given for the times in which we are living, so we will understand history, the present time, and also the future. The past, the present, and the future are all outlined in prophecy. If you study prophecy, you will not be surprised by what is coming on the world.
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1–5.
The apostle Paul is telling us that the people of this world, those who do not understand Bible prophecy, are going to go along and, all of a sudden, the second coming of Christ is going to occur; this world will end, and it will come as an overwhelming surprise to them.
People will be going on about their daily lives as usual. Jesus said that there would be marrying and giving in marriage. He said that it would be like it was in the days of Lot. People will be planting, building, working, planning, eating, carousing, and having a good time. It will be as the days of Noah. He and his family entered the ark, and unexpectedly, to those outside of the ark, the rain and the flood came and destroyed them all. (See Matthew 24:37–39; Luke 17:26–30.)
We Need Not Be Surprised
Paul says that is not going to happen to you, not to the Christian, because you are a child of the light. You have Bible prophecy, and you know what is coming. It will not come on you as a thief.
Prophecy is a light. In Revelation 19:10, we read, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” And Jesus is the Light of the world, so what He tells His prophets is light, because it comes from Him. Something else in the Bible is referred to as spiritual light. This is plainly stated in the book of Proverbs.
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:23. The law, God’s law, is a light.
Physical and Spiritual Darkness
Some years ago I was working with an evangelist who told me an experience he had during World War II. Back in those days there were no freeways, just two lane roads. He was pulling a trailer with his car at night, and it was very dark. He said, “We were going along about 50 or 55 miles an hour when suddenly all the lights of my car went out. I could not see a thing.” That is a frightening position in which to find one’s self.
When I was returning to college one time with a friend, he tried to pass a road grader, that was plowing snow, on the right hand side. From behind the snowplow we could see right through the snow it was throwing to the side of the road. We could see the road ahead clearly. But once my friend started to pass, and we were under the snow being thrown, in about a split second the car was covered with a foot or more of snow, and we could not see a thing. There we were with the road grader just about 3 feet from us on the left and on the right hand side a drop off of about 200 feet! I am thankful to the Lord that He helped us get our car stopped before we ran into something.
It is dangerous to be in a car, going pell-mell down the road, and all of a sudden to be unable to see. That is similar to what happens to people when they do not have the law. They do not have any light; they are in the dark because the law is light.
What does the law do for your home? It can save your marriage. Read the seventh and the tenth commandments. (See Exodus 20:14, 17.) What does the law do for your relationship with your family, with your parents? Read the fifth commandment. It can save it! (See Exodus 20:12.) What does the law do for your relationship with God? (See Exodus 20:3–7.) There are some people who are so busy making a living that they work seven days a week and have no time for God. In fact, right now there are people admitted into hospitals around the world who overworked for so many years that their bodies finally could not take it. But that does not have to happen to you. If you read the fourth commandment in the law, there is provision for your rest.
Sabbath, a Rest
God said, “One day a week you do not have to work.” In fact, in the law the Lord gave instruction that nobody had to work—not just the men. Men, you know how we are. We would probably rest on the Sabbath and allow our wives to work. But God knew what we were like, and he drew a line for the women as well as for the men. He directed that our cooking for Sabbath should be done on Friday and that we should not be doing housework or any secular things on the Sabbath. That is the day to rest.
The children are included also. Read the fourth commandment. (See Exodus 20:8–11.) It includes your son, your daughter and all your servants. It includes everybody in human society.
The law is a light. God’s word is a light, a spiritual light that keeps you from trouble. That is what light always does in darkness—it shows you where to go; it keeps you out of danger. God’s word is like a light.
The psalmist talks about this. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” “The entrance of Your word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:105, 130. The word of God gives people light so that they understand where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going.
Light has Come!
That is what light does. It reveals where you are, where you have come from and where you are going. We are living in a time described in Isaiah 60, a chapter that actually is a prophecy concerning the last days. “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord hath risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth. And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1, 2. What is this deep darkness that covers the earth and the people? They do not have the light of God’s word.
We are living in a time, the Bible says, when there is darkness all over the earth and gross darkness on the people. People do not know that they are designed to live forever and that they can be sons and daughters of God. They do not know their origin. They think they came from a monkey or a mollusk or something. They do not know how they got here. They do not know why they are here. And they certainly do not know where they are going.
They are in the dark. But Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me you will not be in the dark. You will be able to see where you are going.” John 8:12. Are you in the light? If you are studying God’s word and His law, you will have light. You will know where you came from, why you are here, and where you are going.
The Bible tells us that the path the righteous people walk in will be a path of light. “The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. Follow the light and, as you follow, it will grow brighter and brighter.
What does it mean to walk in the light? We talk about it; we read Bible texts saying that the path of the just is as a shining light that gets brighter and brighter, but what does it mean in simple language to walk in the light?
Do not Hide Light
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
11 Corinthians 4:3–6.
Notice, the light has to do with the knowledge of God, and this knowledge of God is shining in the face of Jesus Christ. It is the light of the gospel, of the glory of God, and of the knowledge of God. What is this light that shines in the face of Jesus Christ? Let us see what the Bible says.
The apostle John writes a great deal in all of his writings about this subject. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5–7.
So nobody will misunderstand, he makes it even plainer and simpler than that: “Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:8–11.
What does it mean to walk in the light? It means that all the hatred, the bitterness, the animosity, the strife, and the negative emotions have been taken out of my heart, and I love my brother. I do not hate him any more. That proves that I am walking in the light. In fact, when Jesus was here, he said, “You have heard that you are to love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, you should love your enemy.” Matthew 5:43, 44.
We Should Love Light
If we are walking in the light, we will love our brother. “We know we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:14–18.
That is the test. It is a test that we each are to apply to our heart and ask ourselves the question, do I not only love my brother but also do I love in deed as well as in tongue or word? It is the test that the apostle John brings to bear upon our hearts over and over again when we read his writings. He says, “This is the way you can tell whether you are walking in the light or whether you are actually in darkness.”
The light of the knowledge of God that shines in the face of Jesus Christ, that Paul talked about, is the light of self-sacrificing love. Have you seen the light? You see the light when you study the life of Christ. His whole life was a revelation of self-sacrificing love. As you study it, you are looking at the spiritual light.
Most people in Christ’s day and most people today refuse to walk in the light. They may see the light. They may like the light. They may say they are the children of the light. But they will not walk in it.
Keep up With the Light
Just a few days before Jesus’ crucifixion He said, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of the light.” John 12:35, 36.
Jesus cautioned that if you do not walk in the light you have, the light will go away, and you will be left in darkness. In other words, the light is moving. Have you ever been around a moving light? If the light is moving, you have to walk in it. Otherwise, if you stay where you are, eventually you will be in the dark.
The righteous walk in the path where the light gets brighter and brighter until the perfect day. But what if you will not walk? What if you say, “I have the light now. I will stay right here!” What happens then?
“The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have rendered supreme homage to ‘science, falsely so called,’ will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.
Light Will Depart
Did you see the problem? The light was shining, but they did not keep pace with it, and it went out. How is it in your life? If you know the truth and you do not follow it, Jesus said the light will go out, and you will be in the dark.
When Jesus came, there was a greater flood of spiritual light poured upon the world than at any previous time, but the majority of the people rejected the light. Do you know that the same thing that happened in Jesus’ day has been happening ever since?
Ellen White wrote: “The Spirit of God is departing from many among our people. Many have entered into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received, and have not heeded. They have chosen darkness rather than light, and have defiled their souls.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 3, 1335.
“As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 232.
If you walk in the light, you are not just looking at the light, you are starting to do the same things yourself. You are starting to follow in the same path of light. The One who is the Light will walk with you and never forsake you. Do you want to have that experience of walking in the light, walking according to the commandments of the Lord, walking according to the light of Bible prophecy, following the example of Jesus in your life so that you will love your brethren, even your enemies? You know, friends, we have to be walking in the light, if we are going to go to heaven. There will not be a single person in heaven that has turned his back on any light that God has shown him. The only people there will be walking in all the light they had. Ask God to help you walk in the light.
[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]