God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. This is the fundamental, glorious message that Jesus revealed and His church declares (I John 1:5). God is light. But light is not God. Light is a creature. In the beginning God said, “Let there be light!” That light He divided from the darkness, called it day, and it was good (Gen. 1:2). He made stars to give light upon the earth, and He prepared the light so that the day is His (Gen. 1:15; Ps. 74:16). He is the Lord who showed us light (Ps. 118:27) as a picture of Him who is our light and salvation (Ps. 27:1); who covers Himself with light as a garment (Ps. 104:2); and who is the Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).
The many mysterious physical properties of light make it a most intriguing picture within creation. Light, for example, has a dual nature, exhibiting properties of both waves and particles. The speed of light is considered a fundamental limit and universal constant to which even time and space conform. A light particle (called a photon after the Greek word for light) is basically energy without substance (mass), experiences neither distance nor time, and yet interacts wonderfully with matter. But there are three qualities that Scripture especially emphasizes—its glorious spectral properties, its ability to illuminate and transmit reality (truth), and its energy as a fundamental necessity for life.
Not only was light created first, but it is a prominent revelation of God and His salvation of life throughout the Old Testament. While Egypt was buried under three days of deathly darkness, the children of Israel lived in the light. At Sinai, seven light-giving candlesticks were prescribed for the house of God (Ex. 25:37). During their 40-year pilgrimage, the covenant people were led and protected by a pillar of light (Neh. 9:19). And the people of God understood those pictures. They prayed, “Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us” (Ps. 4:6); they sang, “In thy light we shall see light” (Ps. 36:9); and they confessed, “Thou hast delivered my soul from death…that I may walk before God in the light of the living” (Ps. 56:13). The wise man wrote that God’s law is light (Prov. 6:23); His word is light for our path (Ps. 119:105); in the light of the king’s countenance is life (Prov. 16:15); and the path of the just is as a light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Prov. 4:18). Prophets promised such a day when righteousness would shine forth as the light (Ps. 37:6); light would break forth as the morning (Is. 58:8); the light of God’s glory would rise; the Gentiles shall come to this light; and “the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light” (Is. 60:19-20).
Light is a special picture of Jesus, who is personally both Jehovah and His salvation. Inasmuch as He is the brightness of God’s glory and express image of His person in the flesh, He is the Light of the world (Heb. 1:3;John 8:12). Very God, He has immortality, dwelling in the light no man can approach unto (I Tim. 6:16). In Him was life, which was the light of men (John 1:4). But He is not only God. Jesus is the firstborn of every creature; like light, He is the first “Let there be” (Col. 1:15). In the darkness of Bethlehem, a star was born (II Pet. 1:19). The dayspring from on high visited us to enlighten and guide our feet in the way of peace (Luke 1:79). He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (II Tim. 1:10), that whoever believes on Him shall not abide in darkness but shall have the light of life (John 8:12, 12:46).
But the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:5). He came into the world He made, but the world knew Him not; He came unto His own, but His own received Him not (John 1:10-11). What darkness! The darkness of death (Luke 1:79). The darkness of depravity and willful ignorance. Men loved the darkness. They hated and would not come to the light. Why? Lest their evil deeds be reproved (John 3:19-20). And the god of this world blinded their minds, lest the glorious light of the gospel should shine unto them (II Cor. 4:4).
Not so for the children of light (Luke 16:8). God, who first commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, has shined in our hearts to give the light of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 4:6). We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet. 2:9). Having light sown for righteousness (Ps. 97:11), and doing truth, we are come to that light in order that our deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God (John 3:21). Christ living in us, we are the light of the world (Phil. 2:15) and are made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1:12). Seeing the light of this world, we stumble not (John 11:9).
And so we are exhorted to walk as children of the light (Eph. 5:8). We must take heed that the light in us be not darkness (Luke 11:35), and we must heed Scripture as a light that shines in a dark place (II Pet. 1:19). We are called to cast off the works of darkness, put on the armor of light (Rom. 13:12), and be not unequally yoked with unbelievers, for light has no communion with darkness (II Cor. 6:14). But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we do have fellowship one with another (I John 1:17). He who says he is in the light, but hates his brother, is yet in darkness (I John 2:9-10). And so also, let your light so shine among men (Matt. 5:16). Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light (John 12:36). Look for that day in the city of God when there will be no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God and the Lamb is the light thereof, and the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it (Rev. 21:23).