The Fight for Light
I want to talk to you about “The Fight for Light” and I take two peculiar texts that came to me in reading over a passage in Exodus. They are in the tenth chapter of Exodus, the 21st and 23rd verses. These two verses bring forth a very miraculous fact:
“Stretch out thine hand toward heaven,” the Lord says, talking to Moses, “that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt—even darkness which may be felt.”
Then the 23rd verse:
“They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days—but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
This is the miraculous part: darkness that could be felt, none of the Egyptians could stir around, for three days; the darkness so thick they could not light it—“but the children of Israel had light in their dwellings!” God had stretched out His hand to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, according to His promise to Moses and Abraham, and darkness was upon the land, but in spite of the darkness the children of Israel, whom God was going to move forth, “had light in their dwellings.”
This is an exact picture of the condition of the world today. We are coming into the darkest era the world has ever known. We are nearing the time of the awful tribulation, and darkness by the hand of God is to come upon the Earth. But, praise God, in this darkness, and out of this darkness, Jesus is to lead those who trust in Him into His great kingdom of light; and while we are here, before He leads us forth, praise God, we have “light in our dwellings!” What a beautiful picture, what a wonderful picture, and how true it is today. Darkness may be gathering all about us, but the man who knows Jesus Christ can say, “Let it come—let the darkness come, until everybody can ‘feel’ it, but I have light in my soul for which long I have sought, since Jesus came into my heart!”
Oh, what a joy it is to walk around in modern conditions, in modern times, and yet know Jesus Christ in all of His sweetness and the joy of His light.
Light in Darkness
Jesus speaks to us just now with a word of warning, and in this day of darkness I would talk to you about the light which Jesus gives, and the condition of darkness round about us.
In Jesus’ own life there was light in the great darkness for Him, and He will be Light in our greatest darkness. When He hung between Earth and heaven on the cross, it was a dark night, a terrifically dark night; it was dark from the sixth to the ninth hour, supernaturally dark. Men feared because of the darkness, as He hung there on the cross, and the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.
God was showing His attitude toward sin, and His Son through that three hours on the cross was sin to God, for Jesus became sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. God turned His back, threw Jesus into the dark, and there, in the dark, He died—died your death, and my death, for our sin. Now He offers light and not darkness. There in the time of His suffering, even before the intense darkness comes upon Him, God says that He sees His seed and prolongs his days; there comes a glimpse then to Jesus of the light of the kingdom that is to come because of His death, and Jesus speaks of the joy in His heart to suffer there, a joy in spite of the cross,—“for the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God”—tonight!
Praise God that through the darkness He came forth to open the tomb—the darkest thing that men can know. The darkest place in all this world is that six feet of earth. The darkest place I ever looked into is a casket. The darkest, blackest night I have ever seen has been the crepe hung over the house and around the heart-strings of humanity, and that dead, cold face there, but, praise God, Jesus lighted up death until tonight it sparkles like the sun in the sky. Oh, death, where is thy victory? This is the victory tonight to the man or the woman who trusts Jesus Christ. The open sepulcher there is God’s mouth, opened wide, laughing at death, for Jesus has the keys of Hades and of death, and is at the right hand of God tonight to take any man or woman through who will dare to trust Him like a simple child.
Oh, let go of your little old doubt, and your grave-clothes, and come out into the light of our living Christ. He is fairer than ten thousand—the sun is but a diamond upon His precious, mighty, sustaining hand. He is beautiful; and He will save you if you dare to trust Him. Thank God, it is not simply a theory, it is not simply a philosophy, it is not simply a mathematical fact, but it is life, abundance of life. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Praise God, I have so much that it overflows! I am happy in Jesus today, and you can be happy in Him this very day if you will stop trusting yourself and stop trying yourself to get rid of these enemies of darkness, and see Jesus as the great light of the world.
“No darkness have we who in Jesus abide,
The Light of the world is Jesus.
We walk in the light when we follow our guide—
The Light of the world is Jesus.
Come to the Light—‘tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me.
One I was blind, but now I can see!
The Light of the world is Jesus!”
Listen: We worship genius because it is a step higher than the little knowledge that we know. Then why not worship Jesus? He is a million steps higher than every principality and power. He has accomplished what science could not touch. Why, science might eliminate smallpox, but even after smallpox you die. Science might eliminate scarlet fever, but after that is over you still die. Science might operate, but there is many a “successful operation” that after the operation is over the patient dies. Sure, I have heard of lots of successful operations, and right on the table they sewed it up, but the patient died right there. After all, we have to face death, just the same. You may make the finest of streets, you may have everything in this touch-button age, but you will die. Oh, if anybody is to have the monuments, it should be this Christ of God, who has broken the jaws of death and set men and women free. Praise Him who has broken the power of sin and of death.
Light in a Person
Remember, my friend, that Jesus is not just an emotion, that He is not only life, but life that is real, a personality that has its plans, and its purpose, its powers, and its kingdom. When I think of Jesus it is as outshining the sun, standing at the head of an innumerable company of martyred men and women, with the armies of His kingdom marching and countermarching upon everything that is of the curse of this world, cleaning it up, and Himself reigning here. Oh, Jesus has an army, thank God, that will clean the Earth and make it a spotless place in which to live.
My friends, the joy of living is the presence of Jesus, and if this resurrected Christ has not broken the stubborn sepulcher of your heart and come in and made you to rise out of your death clothes as He did Lazarus, may this be the time when you come down the old sawdust trail and accept Jesus and confess Him before men and women.
One Taken, Another Left
Now we are entering into the night. Jesus said the night is coming. He said, “I have to hurry and do this work, for the night cometh when no man can work.” He said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world,” and so it can be said of His people. While they are in this world, they will be the light of the world, but there is coming an awful moment when all the saved ones of the world, all who belong to Jesus will be taken suddenly from their place. One will be taken and another left; two women will be grinding at the mill—one taken and the other left; two men in a bed—one taken and the other left; all over the Earth—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye—and it will all be over, and those who are left will be in the tribulation, the awful, black night, of sorrow, here on Earth.
Salt and Light
Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth, and the light of the earth,” and while they are here, the Holy Spirit is in the world. These men of God, these praying mothers—where would some of you fellows be tonight if it were not for the power of the Holy Ghost through people who know Jesus? Where would the cities be tonight if it were not for the men and women who have taken Jesus and His standard, and died for it? But the moment they leave the world it is to be a fearful black, dark time. God says the midnight darkness will soon be here. Now you have light in your hearts, but even now the darkness is gathering so thickly round that it can be felt. You who are not Christians tonight, can you look up into my face and tell me anything about what all this distress of nations means—these wars and rumors of wars, the catastrophes that have come since the time of the San Francisco earthquake, the earthquake in Italy, the Galveston flood, the Dayton flood, the reason for the Boer war, then after that of the Balkan states, now into the European war—war all over the Earth tonight? Every monarch on his throne, ever man who is at the head of a nation, is trembling in his shoes. There is no peace. Oh, they cry peace, peace, but there is no peace, and there never will be peace until the Prince of Peace comes back to Earth to reign. There is nothing but darkness to look ahead to, as far as the world is concerned, but I offer you as an individual tonight the peace of God that passeth all understanding, light in your dwelling in Jesus Christ. With the light of Jesus in your heart you can restfully and joyfully work for the salvation of others, while other people are afraid, turning from side to side, panic-stricken, stampeding, not knowing which way to turn. God help you who have not this light to just come down these aisles tonight, and take Jesus as your Savior!
Sign of Man’s Lights
Now the darkness is here. Let us look at some of the signs of it. Here is one sure sign that the darkness is coming on. Suppose you and I were on a little automobile trip, coming into the city. We say to each other, “What time is it?” We don’t either of us know, but about that time we would see the lights begin to be lighted. We would say, “It won’t be long until it will be dark, the night will soon be here,” for the electric lights begin to shine up. We approach the city a little nearer, and a great switch is thrown in and this section lighted. Another switch is thrown in and another section lighted. You have seen it especially in cities where there are mountains outside the town. Sometimes coming down around the hills in a stagecoach, or in an auto, you will see them throw on the lights in the city before it is quite dark.
Men’s lights are the sign of night. Men’s lights are the sign of night—the sign that the real light of the sun is going down. And the greatest sign of our times that the darkness is coming on is that God’s light is declining, that people are refusing the light of the Son of God and are asking for “natural religion.” That is the tendency in the colleges all over our country, the cry of our professors. Some of the switches are in, and this is an indication of the darkness that is coming on, that we are turning to the light of men. Friend, I would rather hear what some little woman sitting in one of my pews, with an old black bonnet and a ragged dress that she has washed up the best she could, has to say about this Book than what all the high brows on Earth have to say about it, if she has tasted it and found the Christ it tells about. Yes, I would rather have the evidence of somebody who has tried to live by it than somebody who has stuck in an intellectual nose and sniffed it.
Light in Him
Men are turning to the lights that men are making, these days. We are going upon what men can do. These are human lights, and when I see men lighting up their natural lights and people turning to them, I say, “The darkness is coming on.” Let me help you tonight to see the signs of this fight for light—and if you are in the fight for the light you will have to come down that aisle tonight and take Jesus Christ as your Savior, for I say to you that in the light of men there is no light for you.
You will not find it in anything that man can give, for only Jesus Himself, thank God, has the light and the oil. He said, “Men love darkness rather than light”—why?—“because their deeds are evil.” We have become drunk with success. If we were poor and undone, as we used to be, men would turn toward God, but just the moment men begin to love their evil and have the money to pay for it they begin to turn away from the light of God.
Light of Science
Next is the light of science. Instead of men taking what god says—“thus saith the Lord”—they are taking what the professors say. I say to you, my friends, this is the Book of God. There is only one way to prove it, and that is to try it out in your life, and the men who have taken it into their lives and have kissed it and hugged it, have said, “Praise God, everything in it I have found to be true.”
It tells me about myself; everything in it verifies my every religious experience. All the experiences I have had with sin that Book told me about it in advance. It tells me the history and the outcome and the progress of sin. It tells me the history and the outcome and the progress of men. This book is absolutely up to date, and so far way ahead of it. Its validity rests upon the predictions of God; praise God, every prediction has come to pass at its appointed time and up to today every indication of the darkness that you can spot round about is already in this book. It tells you what men shall be in this last time.
Follow the Guide Book
It is like following a guide-book in Europe. How do I know it is an authentic guide book? I look in it and it says, “You will find Piccadilly Square two blocks up, turn to the left”—and I walk two blocks up and turn to the left, and there is Piccadilly. It says to me, if you go this way from the square, walk four blocks this way, you will come to a place where you go down in a lift—and I do, and get into the subway, and take a tram car to the outside of the city, and as I come up the steps and go a block one way, and another block another way, as the guide book tells me, I come to the monument I started out to see. I take a train to a certain station, and come to a place where I find carriages waiting, and for tuppence I can ride out and see a battlefield there. The guide book is right—why? Because as you take the steps it tells you, you find what it says you will find. You go to the art gallery, and the book says, “Number Five—a picture of a Madonna”—and you look up Number Five, and there it is, the picture of the Madonna.
There are men and women who have carried this old Book for eighty years, and praise God, never found a mistake in it. It is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my pathway; things come just as God says they come. Nations and their outcome are found here. Men and their outcome are found here. Man and his enemy are found here, and perfectly described. Jesus, the light of the world, is here. Take Him.
Look at Him
Is there a place for science? Sure—it is all right; let it examine every chemical combination and give out its findings in life, but it doesn’t know anything about the blood of Jesus and never can, and, thank God, Jesus still gives the victory in the lives of the men who trust Him, just as He says He will—it is God’s book and if you get any light you will get it right from Him. You may study books, but you cannot get Jesus in a microscope. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The scientist says to you, “Put your eye to that microscope and you will see germs moving a certain way.” God says, “Put your eye to that Book, and I will show you Jesus”—and praise God, He does it. And if I am going to mind the scientist and see germs, I am going to mind God and see Jesus, and if you do what God tells you to do you will come down that aisle and take God at His own word, and you will see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And the man who takes the purifying blood of Jesus Christ can become pure in heart and God will reveal Himself to him.
The mark of the times is darkness. When men turn to science and depend upon what men know simply for their salvation they are depending upon a mighty poor foundation. But the Scripture says that the man who builds his house on Jesus will stand—“and the floods beat upon the house and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.”
“And the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” The darkness came so that it could be felt, but the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. And darkness may be around about today, and skepticism, and naturalism, but, praise God, the man that trusts Jesus knows what he is talking about.
Follow the Light
Don’t turn simply to science, to education, to travel—these are men’s lights, men’s ways of “broadening” men. Broaden!—when you go to heaven and back every morning, noon and night, that is traveling some, isn’t it? I never saw a man in my life that that would not broaden. To know that Jesus Christ is in our midst tonight in this Tabernacle, and that we can have access to the throne of grace and get God’s ear—that is better than kings, or countries, or islands of the sea. God will so broaden and beautify your soul that you will live in Eden and dwell in a valley of flowers, where Jesus Himself will be the choicest flower in the garden—your rose of Sharon, your Easter lily, your lily of the valley. Oh, there is light in Jesus Christ. Come on, head into Him. Some of you older men here, I know you are hard to convince. You are just like an old eye—the doctors say it is pretty hard to do anything for it, but if they get hold of a young eye, they can help it out a little bit; it hasn’t been put to so many awful experiences. Some of you men are sitting here and get a little glimmer of light as I talk, but something else puts a veil over your eye, and you sink back into a state of coma. God help you, if you get a little glimmer tonight, follow the light, come toward Jesus.
Another sign of darkness is this: when the darkness comes on, the domestic folks go out to the barn, feed the horses, shut up the barn, come into the house, blow out the candles, go to bed—domestic folks. That is the natural day. That is the sign of darkness, that the domestic folks go to bed. Then what happens? Why, all the fools of the town, all the giddy, all the gaudy, all the harlots, all the booze-fighters, all that crowd, chase the streets—they are the crowd that is awake.
The domestic folks are going down, these days, going down. Look at the home—it is being shut up. It is hard to have a home, hard for the majority of people. How many of you find it hard to find a home where you can have children—to rent a home during this season where you can put children? They don’t want children. I know enough about it, seeking for a home myself, to know it is hard to get into a place where you can have children in the house. The enemies of the home are many these days—trying to get rid of that which is domestic. Folks don’t care for the country places; they rush to the city; they break up the old home. This is an indication of our times. As far as home is concerned, it is the hardest fight we have today—why? It is coming night. That is the old day, back there when we had old-fashioned homes, but the night is coming; we have no time to sit and cultivate the felicities of home; we must go, we must be on the move.
The Devil’s Gang
So that is the crowd that comes out, the devil’s gang. Oh, there was a time for the blush, for the modesty, that went with the old domestic relation, but that has gone to sleep in the great world at large. I want to say to you, that as a man I have seen the world—I am ashamed of it, ashamed to admit it, I know something of the world; but when I see the modern dress of women, I am shocked beyond all explaining, and any decent man is shocked when he goes down the streets. It must seem that women surely have lost all sense of modesty, to put on that kind of stuff.
You can dress any kind of a way—you know it—you know it is an indication of the night that is on us. The domestic things, the bashful things, the blushing things of life, have been turned to the winds. Do you know why? They have seen the shows of life that the devil is putting on. So long have the shocks and thrills come that the blush of decency has gone from the crowd that fill such places. The devil knew that if he shocked you and thrilled you about five hundred times, that after a while you wouldn’t have any shock left in you; until you say, “Oh, anything goes.” You have your censors—but, oh, they are itching to withdraw the censors.
Wait until God withdraws His censor—the Holy Spirit—then see what they will throw on; then see the age of darkness. God is going to give this old world the biggest dose they ever had. God says, “I have called unto you and you would not answer. I have called by every human way, by every divine way.” Think of it! God is talking to every man and woman in this Tabernacle tonight, yet you will turn God down and go back to the things of sin. “Now,” God says, “I am going to give you all you want of it.” The day is coming when God is going to withdraw the last call to men; the call will stop; and if there are any people who have had a chance, it is the folks who have come into this Tabernacle and been offered the chance to come to Jesus, night after night.
Pharaoh on his throne, when that dark night came and death started in, I tell you he called for Moses and said, “Get these people out of here!” Oh, when you begin to feel death and the awful issues of life, you find out where your amusements and your desires and your sensations and your dress and your own way will lead you. You will draw back and say, “My God, don’t put me in there!” “Well,” God will say to you, “that is what you chose to do before; you had a chance in that Tabernacle to follow Jesus, but you chose the devil and what he puts up. The wages of sin is death”—that is the end of it. God help you to come to the light tonight, and accept what Jesus offers.
The Criminals Come Out
Now, when night comes on, the criminals come out. That is one sign of night. They sneak along the street, through the darkness; and if you get the crime records and read them you will find out that this is the Earth’s night. How easily crime can be committed today, how much murder goes on. It is not done in the ruthless way it used to be, but just take up your paper and count the criminals, lined up on one side, down the other, of the papers. The papers know what the people want by the way they sell. Tell them that 174 people are taken into the church at the Tabernacle, and they would say, “Why, Mr. Rader, that isn’t news.” They wouldn’t give you even a paragraph for it. They are giving the people what they want. The world at large is interested in crime; it is not interested in Jesus. Oh, my friend, get an interest in Jesus! You may have the light if you will come to the light. Come to the light tonight; I tell you, it is a sign of the day in which we live, when the dark enters and the criminals begin to come forth. Don’t you see it?
The wild cat, the lion, do not come out just at the first break of night. Those that seek their prey, they wait until it is still, they wait until it is really night, when the darkness really sets in. Then they come out. And I tell you, when you look at the war in Europe you know that the ones that are after big prey, the kings of the Earth, have come forth, and it is more than simply twilight, it is night. It is growing very close to midnight—and at midnight the cry will be heard: “Behold the bridegroom cometh!” The big dogs of prey, the lions, are out after business—but, praise God, tonight you may have light if you dare to walk out of your darkness.
Listen to this pitiful cry of the poor Christ—this man who stopped the raging sea, who bade the waves to cease, who walked on the water and took Peter into the ship; who fed the multitudes; listen to this man who told Lazarus to come forth—and Lazarus came forth—who told him to take off the grave clothes; listen to this Man of Galilee as He cries out to the Jews, and so He is crying to you: “You will not come to me, that you might have life.” You stand there and discuss Jesus. Oh, my friend, make a break down this aisle and come to Him. If you come, He will not cast you out.
Beat the Potato
Even an old potato down in the cellar knows enough to make for the light; and it will send out its little white runners, and grip on the rock, and up toward the sun; then its little green stem will turn up to the cracks of the sidewalk where the light is coming through—five yards of white runner, reaching its way up the wall through the cracks and into the light.
Oh, won’t you reach out in this Tabernacle, reach for the light that is in Jesus? God help you, don’t you see that the light has come and Jesus is here, and He calls you tonight to come? Man, I would make a mad stampede to come to Jesus tonight. Will you let a common potato beat you seeking the light?
God help you to come, to come and be cleansed—He has made a way for your cleansing on the precious cross on which He died; to make you clean and present you to God, without condemnation. He can wash you and give you light.
“Who can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Who can make me pure within?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow—
No other fount I know—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”