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What is Spiritual Darkness?

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 (Isaiah 60:2 KJV)

light shines in the darkness showing a woman holding a bottle of light

Sometime in the 8th Century BC, Isaiah prophesied and said, “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” This prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes today, year after year, as Christ’s return approaches. What then is this darkness that Isaiah spoke about? To aid our understanding, I will briefly describe the meaning of darkness under five subtopics: spiritual darkness, relationship to light, the human mind, human experience, and demonic activity.

First, it should be obvious God is not referring to physical darkness. In fact, since Isaiah’s day, there has been more physical light on the earth today thanks to scientific progress than in any other period of human history. This darkness, however, is not physical but spiritual. Paradoxically, though physical darkness has decreased, spiritual darkness has increased. 

Second, as presented in the scriptures, darkness is the absence of light. God is light, and when God withdraws His presence or is absent, the result is darkness. Not only is darkness and light opposites, but they are always opposed to each other; light always excels and trumps the darkness. 

Third, spiritual darkness is the blindness of people’s minds to the knowledge of the things of God. The natural human mind, except enlightened by the Spirit of God, cannot know or accept the things of God. This blindness is one of the most astonishing mysteries I see in the scriptures; people can be so sound intellectually but would not see that there is God and that Jesus is true. Speaking about this perplexing human dilemma, Paul said:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV)

Fourth, besides blindness of minds and hearts, spiritual darkness is the human experience of death, the opposite of the life from God in all its forms. This death experience manifests in human thoughts, feelings, desires, actions, and words. Therefore spiritual darkness describes the wicked, evil, sinful, and abominable actions and behaviors we see when people are not submitted to God. In Matt 24:12, Jesus aptly describes this aspect of spiritual darkness, saying 

iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12 KJV).

Lastly, darkness is closely related to Satanic or demonic activity. There is a mind-blowing explosion of demonic activity across the globe, and this upward trend will persist until Jesus comes. Please get this and know it clearly: the darkness that is over the world, as described above, is masterminded, orchestrated, and ruled by demons. In this respect, Paul said:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV) 

Yes, there are rulers of the darkness of this world. For example, as clearly revealed in 2 Cor. 4:4 above, demons can control people’s thinking and make them reject the Gospel or engage in perverted inhuman activities—all the while thinking it is their thinking.

But all hope is not lost. Isaiah reminds us that as the darkness increases, the glory of the Lord will shine brighter. In fact, John said:

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5 KJV)

The spiritual darkness is not a match for the light of God in us—it is the best of times to be a believer, to rule over darkness, clothed with the glory of God!

Meditate

Have you been struggling with darkness in any area of your life?

Apply the Word

The enemy of darkness is light, and you are the world’s light. Arise, shine in the wisdom and power of the Spirit!

Pray

Ask the Father to help us shine His light and rule over the darkness. 

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