Thursday, August 11, 2016

Out of Darkness

 “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of YHVH is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but YHVH will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3). 

This glorious description is generally understood to refer to Israel, as a nation rising out of the darkness and into the Light of YHVH.  But the dawning (and donning) of this illumination seems to occur only at a time or situation of deep or gross darkness.  What is this darkness? The chapter just prior to the above quote offers a description of the darkness (Isaiah 59).

Additionally, what light is the prophet talking about and where and how does Israel obtain this light and glory?  Obviously only from one source: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that Elohim is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (John 1:5).  “It is Elohim who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of Elohim in the face of Yeshua the Messiah” (2 Corinthians 4:6).  Aside from talking about the light, this scripture also points out very clearly where the darkness is located - “in the heart”.  But the heart also becomes the place where the light may be revealed. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Master comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from Elohim” (1 Corinthians 4:5 emphasis added).   It is extremely important to grasp, as the above verse points out, that it is only YHVH’s Spirit that can reveal the things that are in someone’s heart.  We have to acknowledge and admit that our conflicts with our brothers and sisters often originate from peering at the speck in their eye, while having a log in our own (see Luke 6:42).

I am always amazed at the rate at which many who may have had a mostly positive experience at any given event, are quick to respond if there is a slight disagreement on any issue, and to take offense that looms larger than anything and everything else. This is then generally followed by criticism and break up of fellowship and relationships.  And what is even more disconcerting, is that such a skewed viewpoint will be shared with others.  It seems that in most cases (and I’m guilty of it myself) the negative, the offense, will take precedence over everything else and the tongue will live up to its reputation of causing division, misunderstanding, separation and further offense (see James 3:5-8).  Yeshua’s answer to this is plain and simple: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you... (Matthew 7:1); “…Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). (For additional scriptures on the topic see Romans 14:4,10-13; James 4:11). Please note, these are Torah principles.

Instead, we should be “giving thanks to the Father who has equipped us to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:12-13). Thus the following declaration should cause us to rejoice: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light” (1 Peter 2:9).

The question that arises, therefore, is: If we are to be a nation dwelling in His marvelous Light (and the definition of a nation is families living together under one government), it only stands to reason that the families must also have this Light. There is a beautiful illustration of this in Exodus, just prior to leaving Egypt, when for three days the Egyptians were plagued by total darkness and they “did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings (Exodus 10:23 emphasis added). 
Today there is a spiritual darkness over the hearts and minds of humanity, causing them to be so self-seeking and morally corrupt that they cannot see others, for their hearts have been darkened by pride and self-righteousness. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).  The life issues of a nation are also the life issues of the families that make up that nation.  In the next B’ney Yosef National Congress we will be addressing these life issues in our Ephraimite family.  Ephraim and Menashe grew up in Egypt, and were influenced by the spiritual powers of that kingdom.  We are in the Egypt of this world, while these same traits can still be detected in Israel’s present progeny. “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead and Messiah will shine on/upon you’" (Ephesians 5:13, see also 1 Corinthians 15:34).  “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Messiah. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of YHVH” (Isaiah 2:5).  We, the redeemed Israelites have one of the most incredible opportunities to bring this light into our homes, as mentioned above, so that just as there was light in the Hebrew homes in Egypt during the three days of gross darkness, we too can have that light in our homes, even while still in the Egypt of this world. 


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