For openers, let's look at the two verses in the Bible that speak of gross darkness, and what the words mean:
Isaiah 60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
H2822, From H2821; the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: - dark (-ness), night, obscurity.
Jeremiah 13:16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
H2821, A primitive root; to be dark (as withholding light); transitively to darken: - be black, be (make) dark, darken, cause darkness, be dim, hide.
H6205, Probably from H6201; gloom (as of a lowering sky): - (gross, thick) dark (cloud, -ness).
Spiritually speaking, the world today is enveloped in gross darkness. Apostasy is rampant. Self is exalted. Crimes against humanity are at an all time high. Conflicts, wars and genocides are commonplace in today's news. Natural disasters have been steadily increasing in strength and frequency, taking thousands of lives every year. The cry for 'peace' is heard on a daily basis, but there is no peace, there is no safety, there is only uncertainty and fear.
The world at large recognizes how depraved things have become. People are talking about the end of the world coming, about Armageddon; there is an opportunity for those who are born-again to let their lights shine. People need answers, they need hope and help. Look at the verses before and after Isaiah 60:2...
Isaiah 60:1 ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! [Zech. 8:23.]
And following in verses 3-5...
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. [Isa. 2:2, 3; Jer. 3:17.] Lift up your eyes round about you and see! They all gather themselves together, they come to you. Your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried and nursed in the arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and tremble with joy [at the glorious deliverance] and be enlarged; because the abundant wealth of the Sea shall be turned to you, unto you shall the nations come with their treasures.
With all of the terrors by night and day that are taking place around the world 24/7, it is easy for us to get our eye off of God and onto the disasters and atrocities. With the increased Apostasy within the Church, it is easy for one's focus to be diverted from the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE... and onto the errors being taught. We get glimmers and glimpses of God's light penetrating the darkness of wrong thinking, illuminating errors held, and we want to go to war and set things right.
Few today would argue that the world is not in darkness. But what does this mean to the believer? How are we to conduct ourselves? Our first instinct, cultured by the teachings we have received, is to rush out and try to do something to change things. Jesus said:
'Occupy till I come.' We see in the parable he gave of the ten servants in Luke 19:12-27, that we are to work... that we are to get a return on our investment... so that we have something to give to the Master when He comes to collect.
This is a very powerful parable. And as with all of Jesus' teachings, we are totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the meaning... what are we to learn from this example He used?
We see in John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. To occupy is to labor, to be busy, but with what? With activities and programs and agenda's? The night is fast approaching, when no man can work. Isn't it true that we are quick to align ourselves with an up-and-coming leader... with a teacher or prophet or man of God that will tell us what is what? And isn't it also true, that in doing so, we often discover that what we thought was going to help us to grow in the Lord, brought us into bondage and submission to said man (or woman)? How many times have you heard someone proudly state that they belong to such-and-such Church, as if their association with a particular leader gives them some kind of special standing?
If we are depending on another to teach us, then we are limiting our learning to what another has learned, are we not? If we are 'occupying' by engaging in activities and programs set up by well intentioned leaders, then when are we being led by the Spirit?
If we are dependent upon another individual to teach us what TRUTH IS, how will we learn to hear the voice of God for ourselves?
In Luke 10:38-42, we find two sisters, Mary and Martha. Note that upon his arrival, ... it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. She welcomed HIM into her house. Down through the ages, many have welcomed Jesus into their hearts. Note what follows:
And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]! We have all been guilty of doing the very same thing Martha did here. We have welcomed the King into our hearts, and then immediately we embark upon trying to serve, rather than learning to listen. The Holy Spirit IS the Spirit of Truth. He alone can give us understanding. All too often, our attention is diverted from the Lord of Lords, to the menial tasks at hand. We can be so distracted with serving, that we miss the whole point. We end up doing many 'good works'... in our own strength and our own limited understanding. The result is that we make little impact, and end up discouraged and frustrated. The way of man is to put the cart before the horse, and then wonder why we aren't getting anywhere. We have all been involved with other believer's who were ardently working ... and have been admonished to lend a hand and do our part along with them.
First things first... Sit at Jesus' feet and learn of HIM. Then serve under the guidance and unction of the Spirit, and we will see results.
How did Jesus respond to Martha's request for help? But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.
God has been warning us, calling us out of the religious systems of men for an entire generation. The darkness we were born into has only increased. We are in a time of such perversions as to boggle even the carnally minded. There are many gospels, many gods, many using the name of Jesus, all of them claiming great things. Man has become very adept at creating god's to their own liking, ones that they can manipulate to do their bidding, and fulfill their own lusts. Little do they comprehend that in their wisdom and by the power of their own wills, they are in fact promoting doctrines of demons and operating in the supernatural powers available through the occult. New Age philosophies have crept into the Church. Positive thinking and soul power are presented as acceptable, even desirable. Every sacred and holy thing that God has ordained, has been twisted and distorted into unrecognizable forms... light is called darkness and darkness is called light.
Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ... is the key to our survival in these dark days. We have the choice before us, just as Mary and Martha had. We can choose to be anxious and troubled by the things that we see with our eyes and hear with our ears... Or we can choose the good portion, which is to our advantage, which no one can take away from us.
The good portion is found by our willingness to sit at Jesus' feet... and learn of HIM.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That is our goal, that is what we should be striving toward, and it bears repeating...
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
John 12:35-36 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.
We are called to be the children of the light, even in the midst of gross darkness.
All of these things must come to pass... the apostasy, the great falling away, the wars and rumors of wars, men's hearts failing them for fear. We cannot focus on the darkness. We must remain steadfastly focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. And in His way, and His timing, we will be lights in the midst of darkness... not that men will see us, but that they will see Christ, and God will receive all the glory. We are all familiar with the 24th chapter of Matthew, and the signs that will signify the end is near...