“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”
"Darkness" in both the Old Testament (Heb. hasak [J;v'j]) and New Testament (Gk.skotos [skovto"]) is an evocative word. If light symbolizes God, darkness connotes everything that is anti-God: the wicked ( Prov 2:13-14 ; 1 Thess 5:4-7 ), judgment ( Exod 10:21 ; Matt 25:30 ), and death ( Psalm 88:12 ). Salvation brings light to those in darkness ( Isa 9:2 ). Although darkness is opaque to man, it is transparent to God ( Psalm 139:12 ). Indeed, God can veil himself in darkness at moments of great revelation ( Deut 4:11 ; 5:23 ; Psalm 18:11 ).
God Rules the Darkness. The biblical view of darkness and light offers a unique contrast. There is no thought that darkness is equal in power to God's light. The absolute, sovereign GOD rules over the darkness and the powers of evil. This is evident in several ways. First, God knows the darkness. He knows where it is ( Job 34:22 ) and what it contains ( Dan 2:22 ). Second, God rules over the darkness because he created it ( Isa 45:7 ; cf. Amos 4:13 ; 5:8 ). Third, God uses the darkness for his own purposes: to hide himself from the sight of men ( Psalm 18:11 ; 1 Kings 8:12 ) and to bring his judgment on evildoers ( Deut 28:28-29 ; Matt 8:12 ; 22:13 ), evil nations ( Eze 30:18-19 ), and false prophets ( Jer 23:12 ; Micah 3:6 ; Rev 16:10 ). Finally, God rules over the darkness eschatologically. The time of God's ultimate judgment, the day of the Lord, is portrayed in both the Old Testament and New Testament as a day of darkness ( Joel 2:2 ; Amos 5:18 Amos 5:20 ; Zeph 1:15 ; Matt 24:29 ; Rev 6:12-17 ).
Darkness and Crucifixion. It is against this background that the emphasis on darkness in the crucifixion scene may be understood. Luke records, "it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two" ( 23:44-45 ; cf. Matt 27:45 ;Mark 15:33 ). While darkness often accompanies the conception of death in Scripture (cf. Job 10:21-22 ), darkness at the crucifixion scene displays God's displeasure on humankind for crucifying his son. It also indicates God's judgment on evil. But the torn curtain exhibits the opening of salvation to all through the death of God's Son.
Final Darkness. The Old Testament and New Testament describe the future of the ungodly in terms of eschatological darkness, symbolizing perdition ( 1 Sam 2:9 ; Matt 22:13 ; Jude 12-13 ). "Hell" and "pits of darkness" describe the fate of angels who sinned ( 2 Peter 2:4 ; Jude 6 ). But for believers darkness will be dispelled by the presence of the light of the glory of God ( Rev 21:23-24 ; 22:5 ). It is only through the light of God in Jesus Christ that darkness can be dispelled.
The plague (the ninth) of darkness in Egypt ( Exodus 10:21 ) is described as darkness "which may be felt." It covered "all the land of Egypt," so that "they saw not one another." It did not extend to the land of Goshen (ver. 23).
When Jesus hung upon the cross ( Matthew 27:45 ; Luke 23:44 ), from the "sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour."
On Mount Sinai, Moses ( Exodus 20:21 ) "drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." This was the "thick cloud upon the mount" in which Jehovah was when he spake unto Moses there. The Lord dwelt in the cloud upon the mercy-seat ( 1 Kings 8:12 ), the cloud of glory. When the psalmist ( Psalms 97:2 ) describes the inscrutable nature of God's workings among the sons of men, he says, "Clouds and darkness are round about him." God dwells in thick darkness.
Darkness ( Isaiah 13:9 Isaiah 13:10 ; Matthew 24:29 ) also is a symbol of the judgments that attend on the coming of the Lord. It is a symbol of misery and adversity ( Job 18:6 ; Psalms 107:10 ; Isaiah 8:22 ; Ezek. 30:18 ). The "day of darkness" in Joel 2:2 , caused by clouds of locusts, is a symbol of the obscurity which overhangs all divine proceedings. "Works of darkness" are impure actions ( Ephesians 5:11 ). "Outer darkness" refers to the darkness of the streets in the East, which are never lighted up by any public or private lamps after nightfall, in contrast with the blaze of cheerful light in the house. It is also a symbol of ignorance ( Isaiah 9:2 ; 60:2 ; Matthew 6:23 ) and of death ( Job 10:21 ; 17:13 ).
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
1 Timothy 6:11, KJV
"Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
2 Timothy 2:22, KJV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7, KJV
"Neither give place to the devil."
Ephesians 4:27, KJV
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
John 3:19-20, KJV
"They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course."
Psalms 82:5, KJV
"The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble."
Proverbs 4:19, KJV
"The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all."
Ecclesiastes 2:14, KJV
"There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves."
Job 34:22, KJV
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:4, KJV
"To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:"
Proverbs 2:12-15, KJV
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
Romans 13:12, KJV
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:6, KJV
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV
"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 5:8, 11, KJV
"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
Colossians 1:13, 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
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:9, KJV
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
1 John 1:6, KJV