It's Time to Shine!Volume 27 No. 2
As the world grows darker; the lives of God’s people shine brighter.
By Betsy Mayer
In February of 1944, the Dutch sisters Corrie and Betsie ten Boom were arrested for the crime of secretly aiding hundreds of Jews and Dutch Resistance workers during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Eventually, the two were convicted of high treason against the Nazi Party and sentenced to Ravensbrück, the infamous women’s labor camp.
Despite the horrific and unsanitary conditions of the camp barracks, every night Corrie and Betsie gathered the women to pray and read from a Bible they had miraculously smuggled into prison. The sisters comforted the hopeless women of Ravensbrück during those flea-infested services, leading many of them to faith in Christ.
Sadly, Betsie succumbed to illness and died 10 months after her arrest. Twelve days later, Corrie was released without an explanation. After the war she worked to rehabilitate many broken former Nazis and their collaborators. As a speaker and writer she shared her testimony of how God’s healing love and forgiveness must flow through us to those who have wronged us, or our loved ones.
The Bible says “The righteous are like a light shining brightly; the wicked are like a lamp flickering out.” Proverbs 13:9. Against the midnight rule of Nazi extremism, Corrie and Betsie, along with many other courageous men and women, shone as lights. They risked their lives for others, believing that this is what Christians should do in the face of evil and brutality. Their deeds still shine long after the curtains have closed on the stage of their lives.
THE GATHERING DARKNESS
I don’t currently live under a brutal and evil regime, although many Christians do. Yet the prophet Daniel was shown that at the time of the end the whole world will be plunged into a “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation….” Daniel 12:1.
Darkness usually isn’t a sudden event. It happens incrementally. But no one can disagree that the darkness of evil is deepening all around us. For some, even the twilight is now past.
In the previous article, “New World (Dis)Order,” Antonella Pedley details the ways in which our world is plunging into a state of cultural, political, and social lawlessness. She traces the root cause to a rejection of God and moral absolutes.
We don’t have to be atheists to reject God. The Jewish leaders continued a round of religion while rejecting their Messiah. They had put their own opinions above God’s Word. But they believed in God.
James reminds us that even “the devils believe, and tremble.” James 2:19. He wrote this in a rebuke to the early Christians for claiming to believe in God while ignoring the plight of needy brethren around them: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:15–18.
So it is not public skeptics alone that have filled the world with the rejection of God. It is also the world of practical atheists who have chosen to live a life unfettered from God’s requirements of love and mercy while claiming to be His subjects. And perhaps we could add a third category of rejecters—those who cannot reconcile the thought of a God of love with the deeds of those who profess to be His followers!
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!
As the darkness deepens around us, true Christians do not stand wringing their hands or blaming their “heathen” neighbors for the mess. As the old saying goes, “It is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
Deeds of love and kindness are one way that we can light a candle. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
The prophet Isaiah reminded Israel that fasting, or debating theology, was not a way to bring light to those in darkness, either. We bring the light of truth when we “undo heavy burdens…let the oppressed go free, …deal our bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out to our homes.” Only then “shall our light break forth as the morning, …and the glory of the Lord shall be our rereward.” Isaiah 58:4–8. We shine when we are serving others.
We see this demonstrated in the life of Christ. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” Matthew 9:35.
AS THE STARS FOREVER
Daniel records another important detail about God’s people at the darkest hour of earth’s history: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3. Like Jesus, we must combine deeds of love and mercy with a presentation of the gospel.
In prophetic vision, John was shown a mighty angel coming down from heaven, “having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” Revelation 18:1. What is this message that shines around the world? It is a message of warning to all God’s people who are still in Babylon-—a synonym for spiritual confusion. “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues,” the angel pleads in verse 4.
Who is this angel? He comes with the same power that Jesus promised His disciples in Matthew 28:18: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” The Greek word for power, exousian, is the same in both passages. The angel gives a message to the entire world. Compare “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” with “And the earth was lightened with his glory.”
This angel messenger repeats the messages of Revelation 14:6–11 with added emphasis—come out of her, my people. It is God’s last call to turn from sin to righteousness, before He pours out His final judgments on an impenitent world.
Right before the “time of trouble such as never was,” described in Daniel 12:1, God’s people, symbolized by a heavenly messenger (Revelation 18:1), will shine as stars in the heaven with the last warning message to this earth, Daniel 12:3. When “this gospel…shall be preached in all the world, for a witness…then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14.
But this won’t be the first time God’s people shine. They will shine because that’s what they’ve been doing all along! And the darker this world gets, the more contrast there will be between those that shine and those that don’t. It won’t even take a lot of light. A little candle can be seen when it’s really dark, so don’t compare your light to others bolder, older, bigger, or louder than you. Just go ahead and shine!v
Betsy Mayer is the managing editor for Last Generation magazine.
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