What would happen if the sun stopped shining?
Have you ever marveled at the starry sky, which tells of the infinity of the universe? And when you walk in the moonlight, you are grateful for the moonlight that illuminates the night? Then, when the first rays of sun light up the morning sky and announce a new day, it fills your soul with hope for a new beginning? Light is part of God’s wonderful creation. Without light, we would not know where we are, where we go and over what we stumble.
The Son of God said in John 9:4,
While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.
When He walked the earth, He brought light into the lives of the people of his day.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4 )
His life was like a light. Some were drawn by his light while others were repelled by it. But those who loved his message and the life He offered were themselves called to become a light:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
That light was the life the Holy Spirit brought about at Pentecost in Jerusalem. It was a marvelous light which is described in Acts 2:44 and 4:32. All who believed loved each other so much that they shared everything in common. They were together and they were working to build up a new social order, a restoration of the Twelve Tribes of Israel:
And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! (Acts 26:6-7)
It was a brand new culture that stood as an awesome light and shone out in stark contrast to the dead religion of the Pharisees. Many seeking souls were drawn to it and the light grew as each member was giving all they had for the building up of Messiah’s body on earth. This body of believers became such a great witness over the following 40 years that it spread out over all of the Roman world.
But then something started to happen. Warnings went out that the light was waning.1 They started leaving their first love for their Savior and for one another. Their light was in danger. Something else had started to set in. Their vibrant life of love gradually changed into an institution with more and more rules and regulations. They still claimed to be the same light, but actually the darkness that He had prophesied had started to overtake them:
We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4)
The works they had been doing before (that had created that marvelous light) were no longer motivated by love. Instead the works that followed are now recorded in the history books as the Dark Ages. Tyranny, oppression, inquisition and murder marked the Church that still claimed to hold to the same message that the Son of God had brought. He himself had warned his disciples that they should be careful to guard that light:
If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:23)
The religion that was supposed to spread the light spread so much darkness instead!
- Revelations 2:5 ↩