The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
February 2, 2014


1) I Am the Light of the World (Bobby L. Graham)
2) Is 'Lucifer' Another Name for Satan? (Roger D. Campbell)
3) News & Notes


I Am the Light of the World
by Bobby L. Graham

As deity incarnate, Jesus came from heaven as the image of the invisible God, the effulgence of divine glory, and the very image of God's substance (Matt. 1:23; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3 in ASV).  To help humans understand his nature, role, and purpose in this world, so they might discern their need for him and the offer that he brought to the world, Jesus sometimes employed metaphors to depict himself (bread; light; door; shepherd; resurrection and life; way, truth and life; and vine).  John includes all of the "I am" claims of Jesus; his record focuses more on the King than the kingdom and more than do the other gospel writers.  In the fall of A.D. 29, during the what is commonly called the Later Judean Ministry, Jesus staked his claim to be both the one possessing light in his own person and the one bearing light to the world (John 8:12).  Other passages in John dealing with Jesus as light appear in 1:4-9; 3:19-21; 9:5; and 12:46.  

Is Every Person Naturally Enlightened?

Some, including the Quakers, have claimed John 1:9 as the support for their idea about natural, inner light being given to each one. From John 1:9 we see that he "lights every man coming into the world."  From this statement of our text, we readily learn that the light in him brings life to a world dead in sin.  "He that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life."  The world is dead, needing the life that his light can bring; on the other hand, he enlightens each one.  How are we to understand this apparent discrepancy? The explanation lies in our understanding that Jesus does not enlighten anyone against his will, but each one must desire the light and come to the light (John 3:19-21).  Unlike the light of the sun, which shines upon all, the light of Jesus Christ benefits only those who choose to walk in it.  Men can love darkness rather than light, because of the evil deeds in their lives.  In John 12:46 we learn how one comes into this light.  "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me may not abide in the darkness."  Because belief is not the natural endowment of each person, but the product of the divine word (Mark 16:15: Acts 15:7), it must follow that in choosing to believe on Christ one decides to leave darkness behind and to heed the enlightenment of truth.  

Relevant Achievements of Light

It is helpful to learn that the light which Jesus brought to the world served much needed purposes.  In the various passages of John's account on the subject of light, these accomplishments are noted:

1. It enables people to depart the darkness of sin (8:12).  

2. It helps them to walk in the light and to enjoy life (8:12).  

3. It reproves (exposes) the evil deeds of the darkness (3:20).  

4. It makes manifest works that are wrought in God (3:21).  

5. It survives in the darkness (not overcome by it) (1:5).  

Light Only In Jesus Christ

What a record of achievement belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Light does not exist alone, but in his person and in his word.  Without him there is no light available, and apart from him no one is ever enlightened. The enlightenment sought by many through the diverse paths of world religions is found in Jesus only, as indicated by the definite article in John 8:12 ("the light").  Some claiming to believe in Jesus have begun to leave doubts about their certainty of eternal life only in him, but where else would they find the light?  Billy Graham has seemed to hedge along this line in some recent interviews.  Leroy Garrett has said that the same light that Jesus brought to the world is available to people apart from Christ.  The light of Jesus Christ is not some "partial light" involving only the love of one's fellowman and the ethical treatment of people.  It is the light that enables one to follow Christ (John 8:12).  Following Christ is not taking a few of his steps, particularly those of one's own choosing, but omitting the rest of them.  Is it not remarkable how people redefine biblical teaching and, in effect, destroy the biblical standard and ignore biblical authority?  When all is said and done, many would even eliminate the concept of Jesus as Savior in their insistence that salvation is available apart from him, in spite of the teaching of passages like Acts 4:10-12 and John 14:6.  In the latter of these passages, Jesus surely spoke exclusively of himself as the only way, the only truth, and the only life, for no one comes to the Father except by him.  If he is the only way, then there is no going to God except by him.  If he is the only truth, then there is no knowing of God except by him.  If he is the only life, then there is no living except by him. That, my friend, is what the Bible teaches; and we must believe it and him to be saved, to be enlightened, and to be live with him in heaven.  We can believe it or disbelieve it, but we do so to our own eternal security or everlasting peril.  To believe otherwise is to deny the New Testament, to make the death and resurrection of Jesus non-essential and wasteful, and to destroy the very foundation of all morality.

Considering the Context

John 8 discloses the following information about Jesus' claim to be the light of the world in verse 12:

1. Though he did not depend on his own testimony, Jesus was eminently qualified to give it, "for I know whence I came and whither I go" (8:14).  

2. It was a supported (attested) claim, because the Father bore witness to it (8:18).  We see in John 1:7-8 that John the Baptist also bore witness to him as the light.  

In John 8:21-29 we gather additional information about Jesus as light, enhancing his role as our light:

1. Again the qualification of Jesus as light stands out, for he came into this world from heaven (8:23-24).  

2. The critical relationship of his qualification to those hearing him appears in his conditioning their salvation from sin upon their belief in him as divine (8:24).  

In the next paragraph (8:31-59), Jesus further elaborates on their willingness to walk in his light in terms of discipleship.  

1. He based true discipleship on abiding in his words (8:32), showing then that the benefits of being his disciples included knowing the truth and spiritual freedom.  Belief, which John credited to them in verse 31, was the beginning of discipleship, but spending time in the schoolroom of Christ is the extension of that belief that brings one to Christ.  

2. In their arrogance, they refused to become his disciples, claiming they were already free as descendants of Abraham (8:33).  

3. Jesus then described their true state as bondservants of sin, refusing the word of Jesus and acting as Satan's offspring rather than Abraham's seed (8:34-44).  They could, however, be genuinely free in the Son of God (8:36).  

The Cycle of Light

Light's Source:

1. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  

2. In the divine plan of the ages, Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12).  

3. From no other source can one gain light!

Light's Transmitter: The word of the Lord is light to benighted humanity (Ps. 119:105).  The transmission of the divine light of God to individuals walking in darkness occurs only through the word of God, not through some spiritual enlightenment provided by the Spirit.  

Light's Reflectors: Christians are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-16).  Many in the world are dependent on seeing light in the lives of children of God, for they do not read their Bibles.  What do they see in our examples?

-- Via Truth Magazine, Volume XLIX, Number 22, November 17, 2005, http:// www.truthmagazine.com/archives/ volume49/22-november-17.pdf


Is 'Lucifer' Another Name For Satan?
by Roger D. Campbell

In the Bible, the one who goes about seeking souls which he might devour is called "the tempter" (Matthew 4:3).  He is also identified as "the devil" (1 Peter 5:8), which means accuser or slanderer, and "Satan" (Luke 4:8), which means adversary. What about the word "Lucifer"? It literally means "day star." When the Bible speaks about Lucifer, is that also a reference to the devil?  Let us see.  

If a person wanted to learn what the Bible says about Lucifer, what passages would he need to read?  Actually, Lucifer is mentioned in only one Bible passage. The single Bible reference to Lucifer is found in Isaiah 14:12, where it is written, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"

Notice that in this verse someone is addressed as "thou" and "Lucifer."  That makes us ask the question, in this instance to whom was someone speaking?  To answer that, of course, requires that we look at the context.  

In Isaiah 14:4 we have the key piece of information in determining who Lucifer is.  Just what is written in Isaiah 14:4?  "That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!"  Here is a message against someone.  Is it against Satan? No.  Read it again: it is against "the king of Babylon."  We will not quote the entire passage here, but if you take the time to read it, you will see that from Isaiah 4:4 to Isaiah 4:11, the references are to and about the king of Babylon, not Satan.  

Thus when you get to Isaiah 14:12 and read, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer," it is talking about the fall of the king of Babylon. The context seals the deal -- there are no other explanations that fit.  So who is Lucifer?  It is a reference to the king of Babylon. The context of Isaiah 14 proves it.  

But how could it be true that the king of Babylon fell from heaven? (Isaiah 14:12).  That is figurative language that simply emphasizes how great the fall of the arrogant kingdom would be.  Pride-filled Babylon dominated the Middle East, so its fall must have come as a shock to many.  Not to Jehovah.  He saw it coming, foretold it, then made it happen.  The king of Babylon, a.k.a. Lucifer, met his match. "The Almighty" (Isaiah 13:6) brought down one who thought his power was matchless!

What lessons can we learn from this brief study?  First, it is absolutely essential to consider the context in which a particular Bible statement is made.  The context of Isaiah 14:12, the only verse in the entire Bible that mentions Lucifer, shows Lucifer to be the king of Babylon.  Remember: context, context, context.  

Second, if the Bible does not refer to Satan as Lucifer, but I have been saying that Lucifer is Satan, then I need to cease using such language.  We do better when we learn better, right?

Third, when God says that someone or some place is "going down," then you can rest assured that that is exactly what is going to happen.  

Fourth, Babylon and its king thought so highly of themselves that they thought they were invincible.  The Bible tells us that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).  

-- Via The Beacon, January 10, 2012


News & Notes

Bill Colston had to be readmitted to the hospital, due to an infection following his surgery; but is now doing better and back home.  Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember him in our prayers.

And let us also be praying for the following:

Virginia Fontenot
is still healing from her operation and finding the daily treatments, to help her along, a little painful. 

And others with health conditions:
Shirley Young, Cheryl Crews, Peggy Lefort, and Terry and Pam MacDonald.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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