Elmer Josephson at studyReturning Light

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path," said King David (Psalm 119:105). Christ said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12) and the nation of Israel again is to be a light to the nations:

"Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified . . . I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth" (Isaiah 49:3 and 6b).

The seven golden candlestick in the tabernacle and later in the Temple was symbolic of Israel’s original mission as light-bearers of God’s truth to the world.

Sex perversion, crime and war are really not causes but symptoms of the real trouble of the inner darkness of man’s spirit. The deep chasm of darkness into which modern man has fallen is the result of rejection of the Light of God emanating from the Book of books, given through Abraham and his seed, Israel, which was ordained to be a light unto the nations.

The blindness of men and nations to God’s plans and purposes for the ages in general, and to God’s role for Israel in the world in particular, is further evidence of the need of this light. This truth must be underscored.

As Abraham came on the world’s scene around 2,000 B.C. to shed abroad the light of God to dispel the darkness of ignorance, superstition and fear, so today, about 2,000 A.D., God is regathering Abraham’s seed to "His Land" in preparation for world redemption and Messiah’s return.

Sun Blindness

"The Lord God is a sun." His Word is Light. Today the Word of God is ‘cloaked,’ not taken into account by the nations. The U.N. is a symbol of the world’s spiritual darkness, groping as a blindfolded man for a wall that would not permit even a chapel for prayer in its structure. Finally a room was permitted for ‘meditation.’ The so-called Christian nations never refer to the Scriptures in showing the purpose of Israel’s ingathering and her coming role as a guiding light to bless all nations (Isa. 40:9). Therefore, the moon, a type of the nations, are "as blood" through wars, bloodshed and violence. And the stars, God’s messengers, continue to fall (Rev. 6:12-13).

Shortly after God called Abraham (and his seed) to be a light to the world with the promise, "In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," God said to Abraham, "Look now toward heaven and tell the stars . . . so shall thy seed be" (Gen. 15:5). For thousands of years before electronics and modern navigational equipment, the stars were the unchanging, life-preserving guideposts in the heavens, directing ships to their desired haven. So Daniel writes, "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the heavens and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

Stars are symbols of God’s people. Six million of these stars fell to the earth during the Nazi Holocaust, one-third of the world’s Jewish population. Eternity will reveal this loss of guiding lights of brilliant doctors, statesmen, scientists, educators and flaming heralders and prophets of righteousness, God’s stars to keep men from shipwreck and ruin. Christ’s brethren have been a salt-preserving quality in the earth as recorders of the Book of God, guardians of the Law and champions of every righteous cause. Six million stars ‘went out,’ but the world took little note. They did not know of the darkness to follow. There was a marked moral and spiritual disintegration on the world’s scene following the Nazi Holocaust and World War II. But the blind and "the wicked know not at what they stumble" (Prov. 4:19).

The Church Light

In another vein: the Redeemer in The Revelation, when speaking of the Church (believers known by their genuine love – John 13: 35) stated that the stars in His hand were the angels (messengers) – pastors of the churches. They symbolize the light of individual believers. There was a time when the Church, because of her holy, righteous, godly character was the "salt of the earth," the preserving quality of society. The unbelieving world rightly feared the Church. The Queen of England, in that day, said she feared the prayers of John Knox more than all the armies of Scotland. The ‘stars of heaven’ shone brightly. The man of God was highly respected as the righteous, spiritual leader in the community.

But has there ever been a time in the history of the Church when so many men of God, ministers of the gospel, guiding stars have fallen under various temptations, as in this day? They cannot be written off as frauds. Most were divinely-called ministers of God’s gospel. Many such brilliant ‘stars,’ and many lay-luminaries, who in their shining days pointed many to the safe harbor of righteousness, have fallen to the earth, their light and righteous influence extinguished.

During our brief ‘crossing of life’s seas,’ we have been grateful for the guidance and blessing these bright shining ministering stars have been to us. We weep in our hearts as we see so many fall under the pressures of the temptation of sex, money, popularity and becoming "men-pleasers." Their lights are dimmed and extinguished and with the falling of each one, it gets darker.

Satan, with the sons of darkness, knows his time is short and will continue his unrelenting attacks against the Most High and the sons of light until the very last. The Bible indicates that at Christ’s return the Church’s light will be dim (Rev. 3:14-18) and therefore "darkness shall cover the earth" (Isa. 60:2). The sun (Christendom) is turning dark and the moon (nations) becoming blood and stars (believers) are falling to the earth.

In William R. Newell’s, The Book of the Revelation, he states, "The book of Revelation indeed plainly shows that the Church, having failed, will give way to the kingdom (under Israel – Acts 1:6) to the Lord’s personal appearing" (p.77). In speaking of the condition of the Church at that time, Christ declares, "I am about to spew thee out of my mouth." Its condition ‘sickens.’

The Coming Sunrise

But we reiterate: it was darker when God first called Abraham. The world lay in complete moral and spiritual, superstitious, pagan darkness. There was no divine revelation of the true and living God on the earth. But God gave the bright promise to Abraham and his seed, "In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).

God’s promise of light through Israel continued, "I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth" (Isa. 49:6). The Redeemer-Messiah is bound up with His people in other such promises concerning Himself: "I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6).

Sons of Abraham penned the entire Book of God, this divine lamp and light unto our feet. It has blessed nations and people with cultural, moral and spiritual light and freedom where it has been received. Where it has been rejected – fear, bondage and superstition, moral and spiritual darkness prevails.

The Redeemer at His first coming, turned primarily to the Gentiles as the "bright and morning star" (Rev. 22:16). He is the "day star" that has arisen "in your hearts" to lighten and brighten the lives of millions of true believers around the world through the ages. Now that the Gentiles have largely rejected Him, He will soon return to His own people, Israel who will effectively minister His Word to the nations. He shall then appear and "arise as the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings" for all people, flooding the world with His light, fulfilling all other Messianic promises (Isaiah 11:4-9; Joel 3; Micah 4; Zeph. 3:8-20; Zech. 12-14).

Preparations for His return continues at a feverish pace in Israel, though not known even to some of the builders, as the word of Isaiah, the prophet, admonished, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord (the pillar of fire – the Shekinah, divine presence that led Israel through the wilderness and that abode in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and Temple; and above all that indwelt Messiah) is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60:1).

After 2,000 years the pendulum is now swinging back to His people Israel from the Christian nations that have had light so long but have turned from it. "For behold (moral, political and spiritual) darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people (Gentiles) but the Lord shall arise upon thee and His glory shall be seen upon thee" (Israel – Isaiah 60:2).

There is even now a marked contrast between the darkness of fear in Gentile nations to the "peace," shalom, that dwells in Israel. "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Isaiah 60:3).

And the Lord declared to Israel, "Not for thy righteousness or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess the land, but for the wickedness of these nations . . . and that He may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Deut. 9:5).

National Symbols

It is singularly significant that Gentile nations have wild beasts and birds as State symbols: the USA, the eagle; England, the lion; Russia, the bear; China, the dragon, etc. But Israel has the Menorah, the seven golden candlestick, as was ordained for the Temple and symbolic of the light of God. Israel was chosen in the beginning from Abraham’s time as "the burning lamp," as the world’s light (Gen. 15:17). Christ, Who is of the seed of Abraham, identifies Himself with His people, Israel, in Revelation 1:12 as the candlestick (menorah). When God in Christ turned to the pagan world 1900 years ago, Christ became this pagan world’s light and declared, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12). And He said of His true followers, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14). Since the time of Christ, the true Church has been a candlestick as spoken by the Lord in Revelation 1:12 which has given the light of the binomial (the written and incarnate) Word of God to the pagan nations. And we must never underestimate the power of the gospel of the true Christ of God to transform pagan lives. Neither must we confuse the castigated and deformed Christ of Christendom with the true Messiah of Israel.

Since the fulfillment of Luke 21:24, the retrieving and uniting of Jerusalem, Israel’s regathering takes on a much greater significance in the light of Jerusalem becoming the Bible-predicted world capital. God again will make them the light unto the nations as His kingdom of priests, according to His original plan (Exo. 19:6), remarkably indicated now by modern Israel’s State symbol, the candlestick.

It is written of them: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord (Israel’s Redeemer-Messiah) shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

"Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended" (Isaiah 60: 19,20).

It is evident, therefore, that if we are to have a knowledgeable concern in the redemption of the nations and world peace, we must be concerned with Israel’s welfare, prosperity and blessing.