“Stand up, radiate with light, for your light has arrived, and the glory of YHVH is streaming down upon you. For behold, the darkness will cover the earth and terrible darkness the peoples. But upon you YHVH will radiate His light, and upon you His glory will be made manifest” (Isaiah 60:1-2).
This End of the Age prophecy describes a time when gross and evil darkness will spread across Planet Earth. God’s response to that darkness will be to shine His reviving face upon the nation of Israel and bring life from the dead to the world.
Darkness and light
The prophet Isaiah lived in times of violent military upheaval in the Middle East. During the late 700’s BC the Assyrian juggernaut smashed across the Aramean Empire in Syria, crushed all resistance in the Phoenician trading cities of Lebanon, and steamrolled into Samaria. There the ten Jewish tribes of the Kingdom of Israel were brutally kidnapped and then dragged in chains across the Syrian desert to exile in Nineveh (Northern Iraq’s modern Kurdistan near Mosul and Kirkuk).
Isaiah’s prediction of the coming of Messiah is read every year at Christmas pageants. His measured words prophesy of how the cruel darkness of Assyrian invaders would one day be eclipsed by the advent of a great light – the blazing torch of King David’s Greater Son:
“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Those who live in a land of deep darkness, light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:1-2).
The clash of darkness and light is at the heart of the story. Even though Assyria was a tool in the hands of a righteous God to punish disobedient Israel (Isaiah 10:5-11), the prophet clearly saw that Assyria’s pride and arrogance would lead to that superpower’s sure punishment and judgment in the day of YHVH’s wrath (Isaiah 10:12-19). The light and fire of YHVH’s wrath would burn up the darkness of Assyria’s evil: “A fire will be kindled like a burning flame … and the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame” (Isaiah 10:16-17).
God is light, and light is good
Every child who has heard Bible stories knows that God created the world – that He spoke into the darkness and created the light.
- “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’, and the darkness He called ‘night’. And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:3-5)
From the dawn of creation, it has been crystal clear – God is good, God is light, and light is good. Darkness, however, is another matter.
Isaiah tells us that darkness has a moral aspect, and that spiritual darkness has fearful spiritual consequences: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
Yet the God of Jacob (who is sovereign over both light and darkness) even uses darkness as one of the secret weapons in His arsenal:
- “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity – I am YHVH who does all these” (Isaiah 45:7)
- “Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?” (Job 38:17)
- “Complete darkness is held in reserve for His treasures” (Job 20:26)
YHVH’s X-Ray vision
God is actually able to see clearly in complete darkness. His vision is beyond anything that we humans understand, and nothing is hidden from His sight:
- “For the morning is the same to Him as thick darkness, for He is familiar with the terrors of thick darkness” (Job 24:17)
- “Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You” (Psalm 139:12)
- “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:22)
- “He reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deep darkness into light” (Job 12:22)
- “Wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
- “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13)
God is at war with darkness
The God of Israel understands darkness perfectly because He is the Light. Yet the spiritual wickedness of the darkness cannot grasp the righteous and holy ways of God:
- “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it” (John 1:5)
- “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)
- “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19)
- “Then Yeshua again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’ ” (John 8:12)
- “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12)
God wants to rescue those trapped in darkness
ISIS is not much interested in bringing unbelievers to repentance, and is even terrorizing Muslims who are seemingly deficient in their religious zeal. Yet Yeshua’s heart for those trapped in darkness is other-worldly, full of compassion, ready to extend mercy and to bring deliverance and healing:
- “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46)
- “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)
- “But you are … a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9)
- “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13)
- “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8)
- “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
God calls believers to walk in the light of His love
One of the litmus tests of being a New Covenant believer is “to walk the walk” – to shine God’s love on other human beings, whether one agrees with their lifestyles or not:
- “Beloved …I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:7-11)
- “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21)
- “Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness” (Luke 11:35)
God calls believers to shine His light into the darkness
Messiah Yeshua – the Light of the world – calls His followers to shine His light on each other and on the human race. His calling to the nation of Israel is to shine as a light to the nations. This means speaking His message, standards and values with love and occasionally with tears. It involves washing people’s feet without using boiling water to do that. But it does not involves playing down, distorting or weakening the message of light, darkness, repentance and judgment:
- “I will also make you a light to the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6)
- “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light to the Gentiles, that you may bring My salvation to the end of the earth’” (Acts 13:47)
- “… a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness” (Romans 2:19)
- “And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday” (Isaiah 58:10)
- “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Ephesians 5:11)
- “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Darkness is the place of ultimate judgment
YHVH warns mankind that rebels who scorn the ways of God will find themselves receiving throughout eternity what they insisted on having – separation from the One they hate. This separation from the Light of the world will be outer darkness, bereft of even a glimmer of light.
- “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ ” (Matthew 22:13)
- “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties… wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever… But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 1:3-23)
- “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority” (2 Peter 2:1-10)
The Day of the Lord is a day of darkness
The Hebrew prophets peered down the corridors of time and were shown some stunning revelation by the God of Israel. A season of time would come at the end of this age, and it would be known as the Day of YHVH. In that Day:
- The God of Israel will return to the earth, crushing the rebel arm raised against Him (Psalm 2).
- YHVH will destroy all the enemies of the Jewish people (Isaiah 59:15-21)
- The God of Jacob will regather the scattered exiles of Israel (Ezekiel 39:27-29; Isaiah 27:12-13)
- His atonement for all of Israel’s sins and for the sins of the world will be manifest to all (Daniel 9:24, 26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2)
This Day is depicted in the prophets as a Day of darkness:
- “A day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zephaniah 1:15)
- “A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness … There has never been anything like it, nor will there be again after it to the years of many generations” (Joel 2:2)
- The Day that Isaiah described – gross darkness covering the earth – is the period of time when God begins to stream His stupendous rays of divine power, deliverance, healing and salvation onto the face of the Jewish people (see Isaiah 60:1-2)
Worldwide increase of rebellion and ungodliness is one of the clearest benchmarks that we are approaching this prophesied revival of the Jewish people – a revival that will bring life from the dead to the world (Romans 11:15) and much greater riches to all nations who bow the knee before Messiah Yeshua, David’s Greater Son (Romans 11:12).
Yeshua gives those of us who live at this time a mighty word of encouragement: “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28)
How shall we then pray?
- Press in to God in worship and thanksgiving. Find the comfort, healing and encouragement that comes from spending intimate time with Him
- Pray that YHVH will shine the radiance of His countenance upon the very heart of the Jewish people, bringing world revival
- Pray for a spirit of repentance to fall on your own nation, that many would turn from their wicked ways and walk into the Light
- Pray that the God of Israel will grant you the privilege to shine His light to your friends and neighbors, to be a witness for Him whether it means life or death, praise or persecution
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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