The Dark Night

Dec 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Booklets (click on booklet name), Christian Character, Prophetic Studies

the-dark-nightThe night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”—Romans 13:12,13

According to this scripture, we are in the night and the day is soon to come.  The darkness of the night progresses until the dawn begins.  Other Scriptures call attention to the fact that there is a night of weeping in contrast with a day of joy. (Psalms 30:5) “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Evil has brought sorrow and the darkness of ignorance and superstition among mankind until human affairs have become demoralized. As the Prophet Isaiah says, “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.”— Isa. 60:2

As we investigate this topic of the dark night, we would like to try to answer the following questions:

  • How do we interpret day, night, and the morning?
  • What can be expected in the night/dark night?
  • What should Christians be doing?

The Day, the Night, and the Dark Night

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.John 9:4

Based on this scripture, THE DAY would signify the time period when work can be done – work in the service of God.  We would interpret this work to include preaching the Gospel, studying the Bible, congregating as Christians for worship.  With all the anti-Christian sentiment today, we can easily anticipate that the world will no longer be tolerant of the Word of God or His people, thus closing down avenues for them to worship and preach.

If we look at the situation during Jesus’ first advent, the “night” when Jesus could no longer work was when he was apprehended in the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by a “kangaroo” court and crucifixion. Any witnessing, healing, etc., would have to come before His trial.  The “night” for Jesus is prophetic for the church members at the end of the Gospel age as well. It will occur with the ending of the lives of the last members to complete his body, also referred to as the “feet” members of the church. (1Cor 12:18) Hence the clause “the night cometh, when no man can work” is more embracive to include not just Jesus the Head of the Church, but THE CHRIST – head and body members. Public witnessing will cease then, worship outside of the “sanctioned” churches will be curtailed.

We could consider the darkest part of the night when Jesus died on the cross and His flock was so discouraged that they started to head back to the lives they had before Jesus entered.  In parallel, the darkest part of the night at the end of the Gospel age would be after the feet members of the church are gone and there is no light left in the world.  In Matt 5:14, Jesus tells His followers that they are the Light of the World, but once that light is gone to be with their Lord, the darkness on the earth will be that much greater.

What can we expect in the Night and the Dark Night?

This nighttime of sin and evil all around us appears to be progressively getting worse.  A decade or two ago, it was not OK to practice homosexuality or adultery.  Now these things are tolerated and quite commonplace.  Disease and hunger are affecting a greater population.  Poverty is increasing.  How long can this downward spiral continue?

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” Psa. 91:5-7

The various besetments and difficulties from infidelity, Higher Criticism and other false doctrines are pictorially represented as the shooting out of arrows, as pestilences, as stumbling stones. None of these are to injure the “elect,” of which Christ is the Head and the Church his Members, as specially indicated in this Psalm. As the Lord said, the difficulties of this day would, if possible, deceive the elect; but this will not be possible, for “the feet” class shall be kept. (Matt 24:24, 1Sam 2:9)  No; the TRUE Church need have no fear of the moral and spiritual pestilences that walk in darkness, spreading and making their victims amongst those who are ignorant of the Truth, or who are unfaithful to it and are, hence, unworthy of it, and who, therefore, lack the Divine protection and are subject to the “strong delusions” of error that subvert the faith and hope of many, just when the light of Divine Truth is shining clearest upon the faithful, as it is shining upon us today.

This is the “night,” the dark night of which the Prophet Isaiah spoke and to which our Lord also referred, “The morning cometh, and also the night”; (Isa. 21:12) The Millennial morning comes, and just as surely the Great Time of Trouble (Armageddon) will immediately precede it—the darkest part of the night (because the lights of the earth will be gone) wherein no man can labor for the dissemination of Divine Truth.

Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.Isa. 24:6

After the Church members are gone to be with their Lord, the rest of society—the whole earth—will be affected by this calamity referred to as the great Time of Trouble. Activity will cease in the commercial as well as in the religious realm. The various goods and artifacts will lose their charm and appeal because everyone will be brought to a common level of distress.  Only when mankind is on their knees ready to accept God’s kingdom will the morning begin.

What should Christians be doing in the NIGHT?

Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?  The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.Isa 21:11,12

The transition from night to day will be especially evil.  It will be a season in which all the children of light shall be crucially tested; a day that will try every man’s faith and work; a day of fiery trial through which only “the gold, the silver and the precious stones” will pass unharmed and in which all the “wood, hay and stubble” of error, sin and human tradition will be entirely consumed.—        I Cor. 3:12,13; I Pet. 4:12

What, then, is the Christian’s duty throughout this period of darkness? Shall we live in sin while our hearts are in harmony with righteousness? The Apostle says we must not live in sin. (Rom. 6:15) Let us put off everything which we think will be displeasing to the Lord, everything that is contrary to the light of the New Day—the light which we have seen, but which the world has not seen. Let us put on the full “armor of light,” the “whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day.” And putting it on let us remember that it is not a useless weight, but a necessary protection in battle.Rom. 13:12; Eph. 6:13

No man ever puts on armor unless he expects to fight. If he is a soldier of the Cross, the “Sword of the Spirit” is the great weapon with which he will prove his loyalty and strength. Christians should build each other up in the most holy faith, fighting the good fight and showing their loyalty to the Lord and to the Truth. Jude 20; I Tim. 6:12

Just as when Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den just for worshiping God, we should be certain not to obey the “children of disobedience” when they forbid the worship of the God of Jacob! –Dan. 6:7

Or when told we must bow down to an image (Rev. 13:15) or an idol they have set up, let us be as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and stand up for what we believe in. Let us take courage that our God will deliver us! And if not, let us not be careful to answer boldly, “We will not bow down!”—Dan. 3:16-18

When the religious rulers try to stop us from speaking the Truth, let us not fear man who can only kill the body (Matt. 10:28), but let us fear God, who can destroy both body and soul in the Second death. Let us be as the Apostles John and Peter, who after they were beaten and warned, boldly declare “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye!” —Acts 4:19

We are told that darkness hates the light, and that men are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God (2 Tim. 3:4), and that they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness (the indulgence of man’s baser animal desires—Jude 1:4). We are warned of all of this, then when it comes, we should not be surprised, but prepared to let our light shine (Matt 5:16) unto a very dark place.

Jehovah Shall Keep the Feet of His Saints

He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.1 Sam. 2:9

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Christians should not fear these troublous times, but rather rejoice that God’s kingdom is nigh, and if found faithful, the Christian will have a place in Jesus’ throne.  It is hard for the Christian to rejoice if he is not properly prepared and armed.  Readiness is a sign of commitment and if we are ready to honor our commitment of sacrifice to the glory of God, then God promises to keep and protect us – not our natural bodies but rather the holy Spirit that dwells within our new creature. Commitment that is unprepared to sacrifice is merely compromise in disguise. Compromise takes a steady toll and weakens our desire and ability to be committed.

In the same way, the believer’s commitment to Christ must exact a price in order to maintain its value. We must prepare for the test of our commitment by daily affirming that Christianity is worth it. It’s worth spending our time in daily prayer. It’s worth gathering for worship and Bible study with other believers. It’s worth enduring hardship and trial, abuse, and even arrest for the privilege of maintaining our commitment without compromise.

Jesus promised that he would never leave us nor forsake us, and that he would give us the “meat in due season” to give us strength for this difficult journey ahead of us. —Psa. 104: 27; 145:15; Matt. 24:45; Luke 12:42

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.Luke 21:28

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