A Church is to be a window of heaven where Christ, the “Light of the world” lightens the members so that they shine for the glory of God, the Creator. One of the first things God has made and sent into the world was light, both physical and spiritual.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night (Genesis 1:1-5).
But there will be no gloom for her (Israel) that was in anguish. In the former time he (Yahweh) brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time, he (Yahweh-Messiah) will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined (Isaiah 9:1-2).
In him (Christ) was life, and the life was the light of the men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that enlightens every man was coming (has come) into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (John 1:4-5; 9-1).
He who believes in him (Christ) is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God (John 3:18-21).
The disciples said to him (Jesus), “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him” (John 11:8-10).
THE LIGHT OF CHRIST HAD BEEN TURNED OFF IN LAODICEA BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH
Laodicea was blessed with smart people who had experimented with oily and gummy liquids from fig and raisin trees, which restored eyesight and healed the organs inside the human body and the skin, outside. This oil brought fame, prosperity, and profits to the city. To the social and materialistic leaders, it was a gift from heaven, which replaced the need for a humble and remedial Christ. A good thing became a harmful thing that robbed Christ of his honor. It was not different from what happened in our time when a good thing, like sports, has taken away the sabbath from the Lord God.
Laodicea suffered from an impaired spiritual vision, because it was blinded with a glimmer of false gold. It needed an ointment that could help them see what had happened to them and that ointment was the Holy Spirit. Their conscience had gone into a coma for what Jesus the Christ had originally done for the Laodiceans. Christ had not stopped knocking on their heart’s door, hoping to awaken their zealousness and repent, so that He (the Spirit of Christ) could again enter their homes and enjoy their fellowship. However, the Laodiceans had to conquer their lukewarm indifference to Christ and history has not been able to reveal that to posterity. Lukewarmness is the last step before a Church or a person spiritually dies. Jesus, in His great “Sermon on the Mountain” said this:
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, If your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23).
Impaired vision is caused by man’s own obstructions. Jesus gave this example in his sermon and this radical solution:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is on your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5).
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:27-30).
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day—-and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:22-27).
IN JOHN’S VISION, GOD IS THE LIGHT AND THE LAMB (CHRIST) IS LAMP
When John was told to share his visions with the Churches, the lights in the temple, in Jerusalem, and in Judea had gone out. Everything Jesus had predicted had come to pass (John 4:21-26). The Romans had fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. The Romans set up the head of their Caesar in the temple and ordered the Jews to worship the Emperor. The Jews revolted! And the Romans poured out their fury and shut the Jews down. And that lasted nineteen centuries. The forecasting of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 24:1-28, Mark 13:1-23, and Luke 21:5-24 took place during the life-time of the disciples, who had asked Jesus how it would end and when it would take place. And it was the first bloodiest persecution and the execution of the Jews and the Christians in the Roman empire, which reigned over many nations. Matthew gave us his gruesome account.
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not allowed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes the in various places: all this is but the beginning of the sufferings.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.
So when you see the desolation sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (Let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And also for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, her is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand. So if they say to you, ‘Lo, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; if they say, ‘Lo, he is the inner rooms,’ do not believe it for as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together (Matthew 24:1-28).
ON PENTECOST CHRIST BECAME THE LIGHT AND HIS DISCIPLES BECAME THE LAMPS
Jesus as the “Risen and the Exalted Lord” can only shine through the Holy Spirit in his disciples, who have become the lamps that contain the oil required to shine in the world. Christ no longer is in the flesh in this world! And therefore, Christ, no longer, can illuminate the darkness. Christ’s followers have become illuminators! Jesus, Himself as a human being, was a life in order to be a light for God, the Father. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). To see the Father, Philip and his fellow disciples had to look at Jesus. But now, to see Jesus, man can only see Him in his followers. The disciples are the ones who must continue the redemptive mission of Christ (Matthew 28:16-20; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8).
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it (John 14:8-14).
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do man light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).
No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you ear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not even what he thinks that he has will be taken away (Luke 8:16-18).
Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12:31-36).
Lamps or the life of Christians must be filled, and constantly be refilled with oil for the Holy Spirit to burn brightly for the Christians themselves and also for their fellow men, who must all meet their Maker. In “The Parable of the Ten Virgins,” Jesus urged the Christian to shine for themselves before they can shine for anyone else. Lamps do not kindle and burn by themselves, without assistance. Be prepared to meet the maker when our/mine breath depart from the body.
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for your lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘Perhaps they will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterwards the other maidens came also, saying Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:1-13).