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October 10, 2011
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October 10, 2011
This Little Light Of Mine, Light Of The World, Jesus Is The Truth And The Light, We Are Living Temples Of God's Spirit, Light Powered By God's Spirit, Jesus Is The Living Word And The Bread Of Life, Strengthened And Nourished By The Word, We Are Children Of Light, The Unchanging Father Of Lights, Jesus' Pre-Human Existence As A Being Of Spirit And Light, Jesus' Bright Appearance, Coming With Power And Great Glory, Every Eye Shall See Him As He Is, Old Testament Verses Which Describe The Brightness Of God The Father And Jesus Christ, New Testament Verses Which Describe Jesus' Glorified Form, Heavenly City Is Illuminated By Glory Of God The Father And Jesus Alone, The Glorious Brightness Of God's Mighty Angels
Many Christians are familiar with the childhood Christian song entitled "This Little Light of Mine". Written around the year 1920 by composer and teacher Harry Dixon Loes, the chorus of this beloved Christian hymn, which has been sung by both Christian children and adults all around the world for many decades, states as follows:
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
As you may know, it is commonly believed that Harry Dixon Loes based the lyrics for "This Little Light of Mine" on some or all of the following verses which are found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16, KJV
"No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
Luke 11:33-36, KJV
Exactly why is it that Jesus refers to His followers as "the light of the world" in the previous verses? It is because we have the Light of God's Truth burning in each of our hearts; and the very essence of that Light and Truth is our faith in the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who Himself informs us that He is indeed the Truth, as well as the Light of the World, as we see by the following verses:
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12, KJV
"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:5, KJV
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
John 14:6, KJV
But that is not all. As I point out in such articles as "A Treasure in Earthen Vessels: Promise of the Spirit", it is also because through our faith in Jesus Christ, we are in fact spiritually reborn, and thus become living vessels, or temples, for the Spirit of God which dwells in us. So from this, we can conclude that the "little light" of which Harry Dixon Loes speaks in the childhood hymn "This Little Light of Mine", is actually powered by the very Spirit of God. As the Apostle Paul informs us in his first Epistle to the Corinthians:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
Because this "little light" is powered by the eternal Spirit of God which dwells in each one of us, unlike man's devices, its source of power will never diminish; provided of course that we continue to remain close to the Lord, in tune with His Spirit, and obedient to His Word. In fact, as I explain more thoroughly in other articles, God's Word is the Bread of Life which both sustains, strengthens and recharges our spirits; and to neglect partaking of this daily bread is foolishness on the part of Christian believers. As the Bible also informs us, Jesus Christ is the physical embodiment of the Word of God, which makes Him the Bread of Life as well. Consider these verses:
"Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."
Job 23:12, KJV
"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Matthew 4:4, KJV
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17, KJV
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalms 119:11, KJV
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:26-28, KJV
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst . . . I am that bread of life . . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
John 6:35, 48, 53b, KJV
"Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together."
Luke 17:37, KJV
"For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
Matthew 24:28, KJV
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31, KJV
This concept of our being spiritual lights in the world is a topic which I first discussed in my 1997 article entitled "The Children of Light: Are You One of Us?". As I note there, through our faith in Jesus Christ, not only do we become the adopted sons and daughters of God, and members of His Royal Family, but we are also transformed from being the Children of Darkness over whom the powers of darkness have control, into the Children of Light. If you haven't read that article in a while, or if you have never read it, then allow me to share a few verses with you concerning this topic:
"And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."
Luke 16:8, KJV
"While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them."
John 12:36, KJV
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children . . . For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Ephesians 5:1, 8, 11 KJV
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
Philippians 2:15, KJV
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, KJV
It is plain to see then, that once we acknowledge our sinful condition, repent of our sins, and accept the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ -- who is the Light of the World -- as the only means of Atonement for our sins, we are indeed spiritually transformed into the Children of Light. Furthermore, we are told in the Epistle of James that our Heavenly Father is the "Father of Lights", which truly makes us His little lights who currently shine -- as the Apostle Paul informs us in the previous set of verses -- in this dark, evil world. Consider this verse:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17, KJV
As inspiring as the previous Scriptural truths are, some of you may not realize that there's a much more profound meaning to the phrase "Children of Light" than what meets the eye. In fact, I even mentioned it fourteen years ago in "The Children of Light: Are You One of Us?". Upon hearing or reading this phrase "the Children of Light", most Christians interpret it in a purely spiritual, symbolic or metaphorical sense. "Yes, we are the Children of Light as opposed to being the Children of Darkness" they say. While this is indeed true, a careful study of the Scriptures reveals that we are really limiting ourselves, and in fact shortchanging ourselves, when we adopt this superficial interpretation.
To fully understand this, let me remind you of something that Jesus said in the Gospel of John as He prayed to His Father. In the following verse, Jesus is obviously making a reference to His pre-human existence in Heaven, even before the Earth was ever created:
"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
John 17:5, KJV
Allow me to call your attention to the word "glory". Derived from the Greek word "doxa", the word "glory" has to do with how something or someone is viewed, and often refers to the actual physical appearance, splendor, magnificence, majesty or brightness of something, whether it is God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Angels, heavenly bodies such as the Sun, Moon and stars, or anything else. I believe that this is the glory that Jesus is talking about in the previous verse from the Gospel of John. In other words, the Lord appears to be referring to His magnificent -- and bright -- pre-human form in Heaven; that is, His true spiritual state as a wonderful Being of energy -- or Spirit -- and overpowering light.
In fact, you may recall that in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul describes for us how the Antichrist is destroyed by the brightness of Christ's Coming. Consider this verse:
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
2 Thessalonians 2:8, KJV
We must conclude then, that based upon the actual meaning of the word "doxa", this very same brightness and magnificent physical appearance is the glory that Jesus is referring to when He speaks about returning in the glory of His Father with the Holy Angels, in the three Synoptic Gospels; that is, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Consider the following verses:
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
Matthew 16:27, KJV
"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Matthew 24:30, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."
Mark 13:26, KJV
"For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."
Luke 9:26, KJV
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
Luke 21:27, KJV
Christ's Return to the Earth is going to be a very awesome, mind-boggling sight to behold; because as the Apostle John also tells us, "every eye shall see him", and "we shall see him as he is", in all His wonder and glory, as is made plain by these verses:
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Revelation 1:7, KJV
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV
Exactly how bright is the light of God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Angels? We find a number of verses scattered throughout the pages of the Bible which indicate that they are indeed very bright. Think of the brightness of the Sun, or of a nuclear explosion, and then think some more. As we saw a moment ago, their glorious brightness is such, that the Antichrist is destroyed by it. It is a pure light, in which there is absolutely no darkness or variation at all; which is why James described the brightness of the Father of Lights as having "no variableness, neither shadow of turning", and the Apostle John wrote as follows:
"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
1 John 1:5, KJV
In fact, in the Old Testament, Moses, King David and several of the Prophets all describe the brightness and glory of the Lord. Whether the following verses are describing God the Father or Jesus His Son, I will leave for you to determine:
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."
Exodus 3:2-6, KJV
"And he [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen."
Exodus 33:18-23, KJV
"And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him [with the LORD]. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him [with the LORD]."
Exodus 34:29-35, KJV
"Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled."
2 Samuel 22:13, KJV
"At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire."
Psalms 18:12, KJV
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Psalms 84:11, KJV
"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."
Isaiah 60:19-20, KJV
"And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake."
Ezekiel 1:25-28, KJV
"And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber."
Ezekiel 8:1-2, KJV
"Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory."
Ezekiel 10:3-4, KJV
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
Daniel 7:9-10, KJV
"God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet."
Habakkuk 3:3-5, KJV
Turning to the New Testament, we discover that there are a variety of verses which describe Jesus in His glorified form. The first example involves the incident which occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Jesus was suddenly transformed before Peter, James and John. Not only are we told that His garment turned very bright, but His face shone as the Sun as well. Consider these verses:
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."
Matthew 17:1-2, KJV
"And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them."
Mark 9:2-3, KJV
Many years later, after being exiled by the Romans to the isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, the Apostle John received the Book of Revelation. In this final Book of the Bible, he also describes the appearance of the Resurrected Christ in His glorified form. Please notice that once again, John's description matches the previous verses that we examined, including the Lord's face shining like the Sun, and His hair being similar to extremely white wool:
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
Revelation 1:13-16, KJV
The extreme brightness of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is such, that in the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation, John informs us that the Heavenly City, that is, New Jerusalem, has no need of the Sun or of the Moon, because the City will be entirely lit by the glory of the Father and the Son, as we see by these verses:
"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
Revelation 21:23, KJV
"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever . . . I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
Revelation 22:5, 16, KJV
The previous two verses sound very similar to what we read earlier in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, even though these two Books were written over eight hundred years apart.
But what about the Angels? Do they likewise shine with a wonderful brightness and splendor similar to the Father and the Son? I am happy to report that the Scriptures reveal that they do indeed, as can be seen by the following verses that are found in the Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation. In the first verse, we are told that the brightness of the Angel's face is such, that it is even compared to the Sun. Eight chapters later, we are told that the bright appearance -- or glory -- of another Angel even brightens up the Earth:
"And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:"
Revelation 10:1, KJV
"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory."
Revelation 18:1, KJV
We find a very similar event occurring in the Gospel of Luke. All Christians are familiar with the wonderful story of the Birth of Jesus Christ, and how His Birth was announced to a group of shepherds who were abiding in the field. But do you recall how the Announcing Angel was described? Consider this:
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid."
Luke 2:8-9, KJV
So once again we see that the Glory of the Lord shines very brightly, and that the word "glory" refers to an observable, physical effect. It signifies a very bright and overwhelming appearance.
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
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