There was a period of time following the decline of the Roman Empire that was known as the Dark Ages. Because of barbarian invasions and a rapid decline of orderly society, the legal process fell apart resulting in economic depression and the decline of education and academic skills. The Dark Ages were marked by cultural backwardness and decay. It was a period of intellectual darkness that brought civilization to a screeching halt.
Today we are facing a much more serious threat that rivals those dark days of history. Though knowledge and travel have greatly increased today (Daniel 12:4), we find ourselves on the more serious precipice of imminent devastation. We find ourselves being plunged into the morass of moral darkness – and many do not recognize the danger we are in. Christianity and its principles are being summarily rejected out of hand in favor of a profligate culture of excess and uncontrollable dissipation. Without God’s intervention we are beginning to spiral downward into a deep, dark vortex from which there is no escape. Here is what Jesus said about these days:
“Except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved alive: but for the elect's sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days.” (Mark 13:20)
We are entering a new Dark Age. One from which we will not emerge until Jesus Christ sets up His Father’s Kingdom anew. It is not only the rise of radical Muslim jihadists from afar that will bring us down; it is the internal collapse of our Judeo-Christian societal values of Godliness and goodness that derive from a respect for law and order, and an appreciation for life itself. We each sigh and cry as we witness the moral foundations of our social order being severely eroded year by year.
From a spiritual point of view, these are difficult days for all of us. We should recognize that we are in danger of these being dark days, for not only the nation, but for the Church as well. Let us never forget that we of Christ's spiritual community are never to be in darkness, as the world is in darkness, because we are able to possess the Light.
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)
That Light is Jesus Christ, His principles, and the way of God that He brought to us. The true knowledge of God's way enlightens mankind and leads to eternal life.
"You were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8)
Because we are enlightened by Christ, we are the children of light. This terrible world of Godlessness is about to fall because of its rejection of the only way that society can long prevail. Unbelievers think that they have everything under control – they are dead wrong.
"When they shall say, "Peace and safety;" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail comes upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day of the Lord should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the Children of the Day: we are not [children] of the night, nor [children] of darkness." (1 Thessalonians 5:3-5)
Let's recognize that we must go through this time of trial and testing by keeping our eyes on the True Light. "Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. …I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 8:12, John 12:46)
Brethren, how must we live our lives? What standard of conduct is acceptable among our leaders? When the days seem darkest, let's realize that this is indeed the time to let our light shine on what is truly important – holding onto the truth, loving God, and loving our neighbor.
God-given serious obligation: "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. …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)
Sometimes, the brethren in God’s Church are not that much different from cultures we find ourselves embedded in. As a result, as the world slides into oblivion, we find ourselves in a similar decline. We must be exercising God’s Holy Spirit, so that with the help of God, we are overcoming the world. We will not receive the approval of the world, which only loves its own. These are not the days to sit back and relax. More importantly, what should we be doing as Christians? We are commanded to let our light shine. Are we doing that?