Has God ever given you a visual while you were praying? Notice I said “visual,” not vision. I’m not a prophet and I cannot claim to have had any visions, although I believe without a doubt that God still speaks to His people through visions just as He did in the Bible. In fact, the prophet Joel writes that in the last days, God will pour out His Spirit on His people, and dreams and visions will be common (Joel 2:28).
The visual that came to me recently was a picture of darkness. I think all of those in whom God’s Spirit dwells can sense that spiritual darkness is increasing in our world. In my mind, I could see our world with a “blanket” of darkness around it. This darkness was growing in strength and magnitude, spreading out in all directions, and getting closer to the ground as if to snuff out all life and light below it. It was held back from this by what I thought must be God’s powerful angels holding the edges, and it was held up from “smothering” the earth by points of light underneath it, which I saw as the church, those who represent the Light of Christ on earth.
Is this a biblical picture? Well, our world did start out in the darkness.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light;” and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5)
Light always represents God in scripture.
Darkness always represents sin, and death, and Satan.
I believe at the point when God began to reshape the earth in anticipation of the creation of man, Satan was already here, having rebelled against God. A spiritual being, a fallen angel, he watched as God pushed back the darkness of this planet and brought light and beauty and life, and then placed man and woman here to enjoy what He had made, as well as sweet fellowship between the creation and their Creator. Satan has always been jealous. And he’s always had a plan to try to take over what belongs to God.
We’re seeing his plans unfold, which is why darkness is increasing. There is a spiritual battle between light and darkness, good and evil, and we are in the middle of it. For a time, God is going to give Satan a bit more room on His leash, and things are going to get darker. There is a final battle coming, which won’t really be a battle at all, but a demonstration of the power of God and the weakness and impotence of the enemy.
Do you know which book of the Bible mentions darkness the most? It appears 31 times in Job, the book that describes Satan’s personal assault on one of God’s most faithful believers. While Job did not know why God allowed the trials in his life, he recognized, sensed, and felt the darkness. He had to know God’s enemy had a hand in what was happening.
Joel describes the spiritual and physical darkness that is coming when God begins His final judgment on our world.
Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness. … Before them the earth quakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and the moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness. The Lord utters His voice before His army; surely His camp is very great, for strong is He who carries out His word. The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome, and who can endure it? (Joel 2:1-2,10-11)
In the meantime, what do we do? As long as God leaves us here, we are to stand firm in our faith and hold back the darkness using the spiritual weapons God has given us. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
We must put on our armor and defend our children and grandchildren and brothers and sisters against the encroaching darkness. Truth, righteousness, and the gospel. Faith, salvation, and the word of God. We fight a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons.
We must fight for those who are still in darkness, asking God to do for them what He did for us.
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
One day, God’s going to give a command, and all the light underneath that blanket of darkness is going to be removed as He calls His church out of this world. As the seven years of Tribulation unfold, those angels holding back that darkness will release their grip as well, and the darkness that will descend over our world will be unlike anything ever experienced before. Oh friends, you don’t want to be here when that happens.
I pray for you to come to the Light while it still shines brightly, even in the darkness around us.
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)