Berean Lamp Devotional - Light in the Spiritual Darkness P1
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30 NASB).
We often overlook the radical change that occurred in the open affairs of man through the delivery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Before the Cross, God allowed satan’s government to rule the world brazenly in spiritual darkness (except for Israel) —today we call this ancient government “paganism,” denoting all the ancient religious theocracies that ruled people before the Gospel arrived. During these days, the people of gentile nations everywhere openly worshiped and celebrated the demonic realm in every facet of their lives, completely ignorant of their spiritual bondage. The common people were “in the dark,” blind and ignorant to the fact that the “gods” they turned to for help were the very ones harming them. Because of this blindness, satan’s government could operate unrestrained — “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) were evident.
As the Gospel came to the Gentile nations, the common people rapidly abandoned satan’s government. Why? They suddenly saw it for what it was: “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned” (Matthew 4:16). This was Jesus Who said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). As the Gospel spread, the Apostle John observed, “the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining” (1 John 2:8b). Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit came to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8), restraining satan’s government. The people were convicted and saw their bondage to the “elemental spirits of the world” (Colossians 2:20 ESV). God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Jesus]” (Colossians 2:15), for He came “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) — totally when He returns.
But the rulers and powers hated the Light and sought to preserve satan’s government, conspiring “against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst Their bonds apart and cast away Their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:2-3), because “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19). In order to survive in the Light of the Gospel, satan’s government had to be concealed, because whenever it tried to “come out,” it was exposed for what it was. It ceased being openly “pagan” and instead became occult (def. “to hide, conceal, secret”), operating in the background. Satan will remain ruling from the shadows, worshiped by “initiated” rulers as “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) until he can come out in the open again in the last days when the Holy Spirit’s restraint (bonds) on him will be removed, “so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:6-7). Then, the Tribulation of Earth will begin.
So, as the world labors to bring this day upon the Earth, we are to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light’” (Eph. 5:11-14a). Jesus is the Light. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20b)