Doctrine of Darkness

January 28, 2011

Light and darkness are often employed as metaphors in Scripture to describe 2 opposing armies in the angelic conflict. Light represents the kingdom of God, led by the Lord Jesus Christ. Darkness represents the kingdom led by Satan.
John 1:4-5, “By means of Him (Christ, the Word), life exists and this Life (Christ) is the light of humanity and this Light (Christ) keeps on shining in the (kingdom of) darkness and the darkness never overcomes it (the Light, Christ).”
John 3:18-21, “The one who believes upon Him (Christ) is never judged but the one who doesn’t believe has been judged already because he has not believed upon the Person of the uniquely born Son of God. Now, this is the judgment that the Light (Christ) has come into the cosmos and humanity has loved rather the darkness than the Light (Christ) for their works are evil. In fact, everyone practicing the worthless things (as a lifestyle) hates the Light and never comes face to face with the Light (Christ) in order that his works may be exposed but the one who keeps on practicing the doctrine (as a lifestyle) keeps on coming face to face with the Light (fellowship with Christ) in order that his works may be revealed as having been accomplished by God.”
John 12:35-36, “Therefore, Jesus said to them, ‘yet a little while the Light (Christ) is among all of you. Walk while you have the Light so that darkness (of Satan’s cosmic system) may not overtake all of you. In fact, the one who keeps on walking in the darkness (as a lifestyle) never knows where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light in order that you may become sons of the Light.”
Darkness in Scripture often relates to the absence of divine viewpoint and thus the absence of the presence of God.
Eph 5:8, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”
Eph 6:12, “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.”
Col 1:13, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
2 Peter 2:4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.”
I Jn 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 2:10-11, “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.”
Jude 1:6, “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.”
James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
Rev 21:22-25, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the
2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 1
kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed.”
Acts 26:18, “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.’”
1 Thess 5:4-5, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.”
A comparison of Scripture clearly indicates that darkness came into the universe for the first time as a result of God judging Satan for his rebellion in eternity past. This is indicated by the Genesis 1:1-2 and a comparison of Scripture with Scripture.
Genesis 1:1, “In eternity past, God created out of nothing the heavens (1st heaven: earth’s atmosphere; 2nd heaven: stellar universe; 3rd heaven: abode of God) and the earth.”
Gen. 1:2, “However the earth became an empty desolation, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
A, a catastrophe took place upon the earth between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This catastrophe was the result of God’s judgment for the rebellion of the angels in eternity past.
Isaiah 45:18, “For thus says the Lord, who (the Lord Jesus Christ) who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place (tohu), but formed it to be inhabited), I am the Lord, and there is no one else.”
Jer 4:23-26, “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was an empty desolation; And to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were pulled down before the LORD, before His fierce anger.”
Gen. 1:2, “However the earth became an empty desolation, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
“Darkness” is the noun choshekh. The “darkness” that the universe was engulfed in refers to the absence of God as a result of His judgment upon the earth.
Gen. 1:2, “However the earth became an empty desolation, and darkness was upon the surface of the raging ocean depths, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
Darkness in the Bible is associated with evil and the kingdom of darkness. Darkness is symbolic of evil. The description of earth as an empty desolation and having darkness over the surface of the ocean depths paints a very negative picture. This picture is not one of blessing, but of cursing instead. We would expect that when God creates there would be light and life but this is not described here in verse 2. God did not create the earth to be an empty desolation but it became that because of God’s judgment of the angels in eternity past before mankind was created.
A survey of some of the uses of darkness in the Bible will make this point clear. Light and darkness are often employed as metaphors in Scripture to describe 2 opposing armies in the angelic conflict. As we noted light represents the kingdom of God, led by the Lord Jesus Christ. Darkness represents the kingdom led by Satan.
We have also noted that darkness in Scripture often relates to the absence of divine viewpoint and thus the absence of the presence of God.
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Furthermore, as we have noted, a comparison of Scripture clearly indicates that God as the result of Satan’s rebellion judged the initial creation in eternity past. God has passed down a judgment and imprisoned the angels in darkness.
Job 4:17-18, “Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? He puts no trust even in His servants; And against His angels He charges error.”
Matt 25:40-41, “The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Angels like human beings need light to function but all light in the universe was turned off as part of God’s judgment of the angels (Psa. 148:3; 2 Cor. 11:14). As a result of the Supreme Court of Heaven granting the appeal of Satan and the fallen angels, God restored the universe from chaos to cosmos, order.
The earth was initially created for the angels exclusively but they rebelled and God judged them and the earth, which was their habitation. The darkness in Genesis 1:2 is symbolic of God’s judgment. The earth received judgment because of the angels and not mankind since the latter was not created. A special category in the biblical use of darkness is the literal blotting out of light that attends divine judgment. This category of usage is particularly important to our discussion because it is exactly this sort of darkness which we are considering in Genesis 1:2.
As a result of Satan’s activities on the original earth, God judged that the original created world and the earth was cursed by association with Satan’s sin (just as the restored earth would later be cursed for its association with Adam’s sin: Gen.3:17-19; Rom.8:19-22).
One of the results of that judgment was that God plunged the original earth (and universe, for that matter) into darkness.
In this and other instances, we may say that in addition to being symbolic of evil, the darkness is also very real, inflicted in literal fashion as part of the judgment of God (cf. Is.5:30; 8:22; Ezek.32:7-8; Acts 13:11):
Darkness was one of the ten plagues upon Egypt, which demonstrated God’s power over Pharaoh (Ex.10:21-29; cf. Ps.105:28). The darkness was apparently horrible, a palpable curse which constituted the worst of all the plagues, to be followed by the death of the Egyptian first-born (Ex.11).
A similar divine blotting out of all light occurs at Exodus 14:20. Here the cloud of God’s presence creates a supernatural darkness for the purpose of restraining the Egyptian army, yet at the same time it provides light to the Israelites (cf. Josh.24:7). In Scripture, Egypt is a picture of the cosmic system of Satan.
Just as the Passover lamb, which portrayed the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ dying as a Substitute for all of us, was commanded to be slaughtered “between the evenings [pl.]”, (i.e., twilight: Ex.12:6; 29:39-41), so Christ’s death on behalf of all mankind was destined to be accompanied by an analogous, yet supernatural darkness.
The three synoptic gospel writers all record this darkness (lasting approximately three summertime hours: Matt.27:45-54; Mk.15:33-39; Lk.23:44-49), with Luke adding the important detail that “the sun gave out” (literally “eclipsed”). Immediately following this period of unprecedented darkness, the veil of the temple is split miraculously in two, and our Lord breathes His last – until His resurrection. Thus the supernatural darkness of the cross is likewise a sign of divine judgment – our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf submitting to the Father’s judgment
2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 3
2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 4
upon all our sins and dying in our place. He endured this terrible darkness and all that it entailed that we might forever live in the light with Him.
Matt 27:45-54, “Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Prior to the return of our Lord (the second advent), earth will undergo the most terrible period of her history, the Great Tribulation (Dan.12:1; Matt.24:21 and 29; Mk.13:19 and 24; Rev.7:14).
A period of supernatural darkness is prophesied as one of the final events immediately preceding Christ’s return at the 2nd Advent, where there is a judgment from God upon antichrist and his kingdom (Is.13:9-13; 34:4; 60:1-2; Ezek.32:7-10; Joel 2:2, 2:10, 2:31; 3:15; Zeph.1:15-18; Zech.14:6-7; Matt.24:29; Mk.13:24-25; Acts 2:17-21; Rev.6:12-13; 16:10).
There is also the supernatural darkness of the Lake of Fire (Is.66:15-16 and 24; Dan.7:9-11; Matt.3:11-12; 5:22; 18:8-9; 25:41; Mk.9:43 and 48; Jas.3:6; Rev.19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). Just as the darkness of the Exodus plague (Ex.10:21) and the bowl judgment of Revelation (Rev.16:10-11) are tangible, this too will be a palpable, painful darkness (Matt.8:12; 22:13; 25:30).
Even now, this particular type of supernatural darkness and fire exists in Torments (for unbelieving humans: Lk.16:24; 2Pet.2:17; Jude 13) and Tartarus (for certain of the fallen angels: 2Pet.2:4; Jude 6), although the ultimate “lake of fire” has yet to receive its first inhabitants (Rev.19:20; 20:10).