was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into
the world." —Joh 1:9.
throughout the Scriptures light is used to represent God, His
truth, His righteousness, His servants and their messages; and,
contrariwise, darkness is the synonym for Satan, the Prince of
Darkness, and all his deluded followers, the children of darkness,
and the wickedness with which he is identified, the works of darkness.
forceful are these figures of speech that they are recognized
quickly, not only by those skilled in the use of the Scriptures,
but also by the world. The voice of inspiration in the Bible declares
that the "whole world lies in the Wicked One" —under
Satan ’s influence —under the powers of darkness. And
this declaration was made, not in the period before the Flood,
nor in the period before the giving of the Law to Israel, nor
during the Law Age, but during this Gospel Age. Furthermore, since
Jesus has come and has given His life a Ransom, and since His
followers have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, since
Pentecost, the world still lieth in the Wicked One, as again stated,
"Darkness covers the earth —gross darkness the heathen."
(1Jo 5:19; Isa 60:2.) But the Scriptures also testify that Jesus
is the Light of the world —the true Light, that lighteth
every man that cometh into the world —the statement of our
text. How and in what sense is this true? We reply that it is
not yet true —that it is a prophetic statement of what shall
Lord declared this great truth when He said, "I am come a
light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me should not
abide in darkness"; but "men love darkness rather than
light because their deeds are evil." (Joh 3:19-21; 12:46.)
In other words, our Lord here indicates that mankind had become
so depraved, so in sympathy with sin, so out of accord with absolute
truth, justice and righteousness, that it was not attractive to
them —or rather, less attractive to them than the error.
declares that this was the secret of the hatred which His presence
engendered and which led to His crucifixion.
darkness hateth the light, neither approacheth the light lest
its deeds be made manifest"; for it is the nature of light
to scatter the darkness.
to say, the darkness was not confined to the ignorant then, nor
is it today. It is no respecter of stations.
was the Chief Priests, the Doctors of the Law and the leading
Pharisees who were the most pronounced servants of darkness and
most opposed to the light of Truth which shone forth from our
Redeemer ’s life and teachings. "The common people heard
we say that the powers of darkness are greatest in the more influential
and the better educated. Satan himself, the Prince of Darkness,
is not such by reason of his ignorance and stupidity, but by reason
of pride and sinful ambition, which led into a course of opposition
to the Divine Plan. —Mr 12:37.
ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"
Lord not only informed us that the possibilities of the light
shining from Him were limited by the surrounding darkness of Satanic
influence and human depravity and wrong ambition, but that the
same would be measurably true of His followers —that, so
far from being bright luminaries, powerful suns in the firmament
of earth ’s affairs, scattering its darkness, they would
merely be little lights or candles. He admonishes us not on this
account to be discouraged or ashamed of Him, ashamed of the light
but to set our candles on a candlestick, that they may give light
to all that are in the House —in the Household of Faith our
lights are to shine.
are to build one another up in the most holy faith.
indeed, our windows are to be opened, so that those who are without
may see the light within the Household of Faith and come to the
light, and all such are to be welcomed. But we are not to suppose
that the world will love our light, nor that if we take it to
them they will be inclined to glorify us and exalt us and to honor
the contrary, so long as the Prince of Darkness has his hold upon
the world and operates through worldly ambition and prejudice,
strongly entrenched delusions and false doctrines, so long the
Lord ’s words are true, "Marvel not if the world hate
you; ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." (Joh
15:18.) "Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample
them under their feet and turn again and rend you." (Mt
7:6.) The depth of your message is not intended for the world,
which is worshipping Mammon, but merely intended for the Elect —the
class whom God is choosing out of the world for a special purpose,
a "people for His name."
these alone is given to know the mysteries of the "Kingdom
of Heaven"; for these alone the light of Truth is now intended —even
"as many as the Lord your God shall call." As for the
rest of the world, they are the children of darkness, who will
be dealt with in the Lord ’s providence in due time. —Mt
13:11; Col 1:13.
the Scriptures speak of the pathway of the just throughout this
Gospel Age. They do not indicate that the pathway of the Church
is a brilliant one; but, quite to the contrary, that it is narrow,
crowded, beset with trials and difficulties, and hedged about
with darkness except as the lamp of Divine Truth illuminates it.
the picture of this path and of the Church as a traveler on it,
given in the Scriptures, emphasizes this point. It pictures the
traveler with the lamp attached to the toe of his sandal, giving
light only for each step of the way, as it is written, "Thy
Word is a Lamp unto my feet, a Lantern to my footsteps."
(Ps 119:105.) The Apostle Peter gives the same thought, saying:
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye
do well to take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place until
the Day dawn." (2Pe 1:19.) Here four facts are emphasized:
(1) That there is a new Day Divinely arranged for, which shall
dawn in its proper season; (2) that we are now in the night-time
preceding that new epoch; (3) that the Word of the Lord is the
only light and guide for His people in this night-time; (4) that
those who are not His people and who do not have this light are
walking in darkness, however worldly-wise and prudent themselves
and others may believe them to be.
glad we are of the assurance God has given us that a better Day
is coming, a glorious Day, when all "the shadows, weary shadows,
from the world shall flee away!"
implies the victory of the light over the darkness, of which we
are assured in various Scriptures, which tell us that in due time
our great Redeemer Christ shall take to Himself His great power
and begin His Reign —the Reign of Righteousness —the
Reign of the Kingdom of God. The further assurance is that promptly
at the beginning of that Reign Satan shall be bound for a thousand
years, that his deception of mankind shall thus be restrained.
Lord, speaking of this in one of His parables, calls Satan the
strong man of this present dispensation, and declares that He
will bind him and "spoil his goods" —destroy the
works of evil, of sin, of superstition, of ignorance, etc. Oh,
what a happy day that will be for the world!
SATAN UNDER YOUR FEET"
here we are reminded by the Apostle that the Divine Plan respecting
the future Kingdom of God is that the elect Church of this present
time shall be associated in it with her Lord, her Bridegroom.
So intimate is this association of the Church with Christ that
sometimes the work of restraining Satan and the powers of evil
in the opening of the Millennial Age is ascribed to the Church
under her Head and Lord, as when the Apostle declared, "The
very God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."
(Ro 16:20.) Similarly, our Lord mentions the Church as associated
with Himself in the enlightening work of the future; for, while
our text refers to Christ as the true, great Light which ultimately
shall enlighten every man that cometh into the world, our Bible
shows that the Church now enlightened, now walking in the narrow
way in His footsteps, now exposed to peculiar trials and difficulties
in order to develop and test the overcomers, shall also be members
of the great Sun of Righteousness which the Scriptures promise
shall arise with healing in His beams. —Mal 4:2.
participation of the Church with Himself as members of the glorious
Sun of Righteousness our Lord shows in the parable of the wheat
and tares. In the conclusion of that parable He shows the gathering
of the Elect in the end of this Age by a resurrection change,
and then declares, "Then shall the righteous shine forth
as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear,
let him hear." —Mt 13:43.
DARKNESS COVERS HEATHENDOM
back from the glorious pictures of the Millennial morning to the
facts as we now have them, we perceive the absolute truth of the
Scriptural pictures, which represent the world in darkness and
heathendom in gross darkness, and the Church alone possessing
the Lamp of Divine Revelation —and it, close to the path,
giving light only for one step at a time. Everything in these
pictures corroborates the other statements of the Word and also
our own experiences: that nothing that the Church could do in
the present time could scatter the powers of darkness.
little candles should all be on their candlesticks, our lamps
trimmed and burning, to give out as much light as possible for
ourselves and for others; but there is absolutely no encouragement
for us to think that by any power of our own we could become the
Sun of Righteousness and scatter the darkness of earth. It will
require the glorious change of the First Resurrection to thus
equip and qualify us for the work of enlightening the world. On
the contrary, despite the efforts of God ’s people during
eighteen centuries since Jesus ’ death, the numbers of heathendom
are increasing hourly.
while the outward show and splendor of civilization called Christendom
are in many respects impressive, our Lord ’s true picture
of the situation prophetically given is, "This people draweth
nigh to Me with their lips while their hearts are far from me"!
(Mt 15:8.) Only a few today, as ever, are right with the Lord,
filled with the Spirit and guided by His Lamp of Truth. The majority
of Christian people everywhere, in all denominations, are falling,
as described by the Lord through the Prophet, saying to the true
Church of Christ, "A thousand shall fall at thy side and
ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee." —Ps
thousands —yes, tens of thousands —include many of the
most learned of our day, just as the falling at the First Advent
of our Lord included the Doctors of the Law, the Chief Priests
and the members of the Sanhedrin.
fall in this case is not a moral deflection, not a falling into
vulgar sin, but the falling away from "the faith once delivered
to the saints" —a falling into Evolution theories, into
Higher Criticism, Infidelity, into Theosophy, into New Thought,
New Theology, Christian Science, etc. —away from the teachings
of God ’s Word respecting the fall of the race into sin and
under Divine sentence, respecting the redemption of Adam and all
his race by the precious blood of Jesus, respecting the deliverance
of the Church and ultimately as many as will receive Divine favor
at the hands of Him who loved us and bought us with His precious
blood. —Jude 3; 1Pe 1:18,19.
declaring His power to conquer sin and Satan and to deliver the
poor world from its darkness and ignoranceand superstition, why
does the Lord permit so long a delay? Why was it four thousand
years after the fall before He sent the Redeemer, and why has
it been nearly nineteen hundred years since the Savior died for
all the world before He comes in power and great glory to deliver
mankind from the yoke of sin and death —to deliver the groaning
creation from the bondage of corruption to the glorious liberty
of the sons of God? Why?
there is a reason, but it is not for all to know now.
if we tell it all cannot hear. Our Master said truly, speaking
to the faithful Little Flock, the followers in His footsteps:
"To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom
of God; but to others in parables; that, seeing, they might not
see, and, hearing, they might not understand." (Lu 8:10.)
Hence, we need not be afraid of giving away the secrets of the
Lord in respect to this matter, which the Apostle styles "the
Mystery hidden from past ages and dispensations, but now revealed
unto the saints." (Col 1:26.) It is proper that the saints
should know this Mystery, for now the strength which this knowledge
would give will be of special value to them in their combat with
the special trials and difficulties which lie immediately before
them. The Mystery is this: that God ’s purpose from the first
was that the great Deliverer, Messiah, should be not only the
Lord Jesus, the Redeemer, but should include also the elect Little
Flock of this Gospel Age —the ripe grains gathered in Israel ’s
harvest time and also during this Gospel Age those gathered from
every nation, people, kindred and tongue.
the Lord styles His "jewels" —"They shall
be Mine, saith the Lord, in that Day when I come to make up My
jewels." (Mal 3:17.) The "jewels" will not be
made up, will not be glorified, until the full number of the Elect
have been found and polished and prepared. Then shall the Elect,
the righteous, shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their
Father —for the blessing of all mankind.
with their Lord, the Bridegroom, will then, as the antitypical
Seed of Abraham, fulfil the Divine promise, "In thy Seed
shall all the families of the earth be blessed." —Ge
GOD ’S PEOPLE REJOICE
the Mystery hid from past ages becomes plain to those whose eyes
have been anointed by the Holy Spirit, and who are looking in
the direction which the Lord is indicating. They see that now
"Light is sown for the righteous —Truth for the upright
in heart," and this rejoices them: first, as a manifestation
of Divine favor; and secondly, because it encourages and stirs
them to uprightness of heart, that they may abide in the Divine
Love, and go onward from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge,
in the narrow way, guided by the Word as a lamp to their feet.
They rejoice because they now understand the purpose of Divine
Wisdom in permitting special trials and tribulations of the people
of God —that these are intended to work out for them a far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory to which they have
been "called according to the Divine purpose."
are not jealous or envious of the world and its Highway of Holiness,
upon which it will be privileged to go up to perfection of restitution
during the Millennium.
realize that, grand as those blessings will be, "God has
provided some better things for us." (Heb 11:40.) They are
content, yea, able to rejoice in fiery trials, because of their
realization that these are the Divine arrangement by which they
are being prepared, tested, proven worthy of a place in the glorious
Kingdom so soon to be established for the blessing of the world.
These large-hearted, warm-hearted saints, full of love for God
and every creature, are made further glad by the knowledge of
the Divine Plan, that the whole creation is under the Divine charge,
though saints are God ’s peculiar care.
rejoice in the unfolding of the Divine Plan, which shows most
clearly that God has provided an opportunity for eternal salvation
through Christ for all those who shall obey Him, and, furthermore,
that the knowledge and opportunity and assistance necessary to
such obedience will be granted to mankind during the Millennium.
JOY FOR ALL PEOPLE"
it any wonder that the Message of God ’s grace as it was
announced on the first Christmas morning was a Message of peace
and good will toward men —all men?
it any wonder, in view of what we see of the developing Plan of
God, that the angels declared to the shepherds, "Behold,
we bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all
people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
which is Messiah, the Lord"?
That Message is in full accord with all that we know of the Divine
Word, and with all that the reasonable, intelligent mind could
expect from an all-wise, just, powerful and all-loving Creator.
Why should He not delight to bless every creature of Adam ’s
race? Why should He purpose to save merely a handful of the Elect
and to turn the others over to eternal torment at the hands of
fireproof demons? Such unscriptural ideas evidently came from
the great Prince of Darkness himself, who fain would turn our
hearts away from the God of Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power —who
fain would have us think of our God as the real adversary of the
race, delighting in its suffering. —Luk 10:11.
broad, how gloriously sweeping the statement of our text, which
declares Jesus to be the true Light of the world —for every
man that cometh into the world! How it assures us that the Redeemer
of the world was God ’s great Christmas Gift to Adam and
all of his posterity —a gift whose value grows in the estimation
of all the Lord ’s holy ones in the present time, as day
by day and item by item they come to know the Christ of God —an
estimation which will grow with the world as, during the Millennial
Age, they will avail themselves of the glorious opportunities
then afforded and come into hearty accord with the Lord and His
righteousness —an estimation which will grow with them throughout
eternity as the lengths, breadths, heights and depths of the Love
of God shall become more and more manifest.
WAYS HIGHER THAN MAN ’S
us not mistakingly allow our own littleness of mind to hinder
our appreciation of the true meaning of our text. Let us remember
our Lord ’s words, "For your thoughts are not My thoughts;
neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens
are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways
and My plans than your plans." The great Plan of God, which
has thus far reached only the Church, even as many as the Lord
our God has called, is yet to reach not only the world of mankind
living when the Election of the Church is completed and when the
Bride of Christ shall have been ushered into Heavenly glory, but
also all those who have already gone down into the great prison-house
of death —the tomb, Sheol, Hades. —Isa 55:8,9; 40:5.
know certainly that the vast majority of these have never been
enlightened by the Lord Jesus and His Gospel Message. There was
no such light before our Redeemer came into the world, although
four thousand years had elapsed and billions of humanity had gone
down to the prison-house. On this the Scriptural testimony is
most explicit, namely, that "Christ brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel." (2Ti 1:10.) Neither the immortality
which is God ’s gift for the Church was seen and appreciated
and understood, nor was the eternal life which God is providing
for all of Adam ’s race who will accept it. True, there were
vague promises before, but there was no clear light upon them.
had to be received strictly by faith.
now it is different. We see Jesus, we behold Him as the Word of
God made flesh, we perceive His mission, that He came to redeem
our race. With the eye of faith we behold Him crucified for our
sins, yea, risen from the dead and ascended to the Father ’s
presence and appearing as the Advocate for the Household of Faith,
the Church of the First-borns. As the Apostle says, "There
to appear in the presence of God for us." (Heb 9:24.) Now
we can see, as the ancients could not see, that God could be just
and yet be the Justifier of him who believeth on Jesus. We can
see that Adam ’s penalty being paid for him, he and all of
his family, his race, may be released from the tomb and from the
death sentence, and be given an opportunity to behold the Light —the
true Light —to be enlightened thereby —to be brought
to a knowledge of the Truth and thereby have an opportunity for
a full reconciliation with the Father and to he restored to all
the blessings of His favor. It would seem that the subject is
too plain to require controversy —that God has promised that
the true Light should enlighten every man —that it has as
yet enlightened but a few —that it must, therefore, be manifested
during the Millennial Age to every creature before the great Plan
of God for human redemption shall have reached its consummation —that
one must see this great Light before He could be liable to the
great penalty —the Second Death.
us who have been favored, called of God in the present time, and
who have seen the true Light with the eye of faith, and who have
been begotten by the Holy Spirit, and whose footsteps have been
guided in the path of faith, in the light from the Lamp —let
us rejoice more and more in the goodness of our God and follow
on in the good way, practising the fruits and graces of the Spirit,
and thus be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,
that we may with Him shine forth as the Sun in the blessing of
all the families of the earth.
need of the Sun in the city to come, The light of the world is
Jesus; All nations shall walk in the light of the Lamb: The light
of the world is Jesus.