I John 1:5 says that God is light, but what does that really mean and why is it important to us? It seems significant that immediately after God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth, He saw that “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was over the face of the deep”. (Gen 1:2) It is clear that He was not pleased with the darkness, because He then said “Let there be light”, and when He saw the light, He declared that it was good (Gen 1:4). But He didn’t stop there – He was still not totally satisfied, because He then separated the light from the darkness.
At a physical level, we have a very consistent theme here – God is light and is the source of all light. There is a related theme that is just as important though – God cannot dwell in the presence of darkness, so He must separate His light from all darkness. I quoted the first part of I John 1:5 above, but I left out the last part – after John says that God is light, he goes on to say “in Him there is no darkness at all”. Throughout the Scriptures, darkness is associated with people’s sinful hearts (John 3:19), or the evil one and his Kingdom of darkness (Col 1:13).
In the same way that YHVH separated the light from the darkness in His creation, he wants to separate us from the darkness of this world. In Isaiah 52:11, YHVH says: “Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves..”. He is telling His people to come out of the darkness and impurity of the world and to cleanse their hearts of worldly impurities. Sha’ul tells us to live in the light: “You are all children of light and of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness”. (I Thess 5:5) Peter [Keifa] says that as followers of Yeshua we are: “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”. (I Pet 2:9)
From all that we have studied about the deeper (sod) spiritual meaning of YHVH’s Scriptures, everything that YHVH does has a purpose and usually teaches us some type of lesson. So let’s dig a little deeper here. We started at the front of the book with God “turning on the lights” in the beginning, and also heard John make the statement that God is light. Now let’s go to the back of the book. In Revelation 21:23, Yeshua tells John that in the end there will no longer be any need for the sun and moon because the glory of God will illuminate the city of New Jerusalem, and the Lamb [Yeshua] will be its light. When we look at the ancient Hebrew word pictures associated with the three letters in the word for light (ohr in Hebrew), we see a deeper meaning emerge: “the first Man [Yeshua the living Word] was there in the beginning when light was created”. So, we see that Yeshua was the source of light in the beginning, and He will be the source of Light again when He comes to reign on the new Earth.
Yeshua told us clearly that He is the Light of the world and we are to follow Him:
- John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
- John 12:46: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
- Acts 26:17: Yeshua encountered Sha’ul on the road and told him to be a light to the lost: “… to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God…”.
Sha’ul encourages us to walk in the light of Yeshua: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”. (Eph 5:8) In Yeshua’s well-known teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, He says: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”. (Matt 5:14-16) At first glance, it sounds like He wants us to be out there in the world drawing attention to ourselves as we do good works. But look at the punchline at the end. What is the purpose of doing good works? So that we can “Glorify our Father in Heaven”. We are not to draw attention to ourselves through our wonderful deeds, but to Abba Father! We need to be constantly pointing to Him when people ask us why we are doing what we do, acting humbly and selflessly but boldly giving Him the glory.