One of the most wonderful, cheering, and useful of all the works of God; called into being on the first of the six days of creation, by his voice: "Let there be light;" and there was light. No object better illustrates whatever is pure, glorious, spiritual, joyful, and beneficent. Hence the beauty and force of the expressions, "God is light," 1Jo 1:5, and "the Father of lights," Jas 1:17; Christ is the "Sun of righteousness," and "the light of the world," Joh 1:9; 8:12. So also the word of God is "a light," Ps 119:105; truth and Christians are lights, Joh 3:19; 12:36; prosperity is "light," Es 8:16; and heaven is full of light, Re 21:23-25. The opposite of all these is "darkness."
the offspring of the divine command (Ge 1:3). "All the more joyous emotions of the mind, all the pleasing sensations of the frame, all the happy hours of domestic intercourse were habitually described among the Hebrews under imagery derived from light" (1Ki 11:36; Isa 58:8; Es 8:16; Ps 97:11). Light came also naturally to typify true religion and the felicity it imparts (Ps 119:105; Isa 8:20; Mt 4:16, etc.), and the glorious inheritance of the redeemed (Col 1:12; Re 21:23-25). God is said to dwell in light inaccessible (1Ti 6:16). It frequently signifies instruction (Mt 5:16; Joh 5:35). In its highest sense it is applied to Christ as the "Sun of righteousness" (Mal 4:2; Lu 2:32; Joh 1:7-9). God is styled "the Father of lights" (Jas 1:17). It is used of angels (2Co 11:14), and of John the Baptist, who was a "burning and a shining light" (Joh 5:35), and of all true disciples, who are styled "the light of the world" (Mt 5:14).
To the ancient mind light was a holy thing, and the Scriptures associate it with God. He dwells in light (Ex 24:10; 1Ti 6:16); He is clothed with light (Ps 104:2); He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1Jo 1:5); His glory is the effulgence of His light (Re 21:23). Cf. the ancient Greek Evening Hymn rendered by Keble: 'Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured,' etc. Hence Jesus, God Incarnate, is called 'the Light of the world' (Joh 1:4-5,9; 18:12), 'an effulgence of the glory of God' (Heb 1:3); and salvation is defined as walking in His light and being enlightened by it (Joh 8:12; 12:36,38; 1Jo 1:7; 2Co 4:6; Eph 5:8,14; 1Th 5:5; 1Pe 2:3). And Christians as His representatives and witnesses are the light of the world (Mt 5:14,16; Php 2:15). On the contrary, a godless life is darkness (Joh 3:10; 8:12; 12:46; 1Jo 2:11).
Besides the references to physical light as existing distinct from the sun, and then emanating from the sun as the great light-bearer, the term is mainly used in scripture in a moral sense. Light from God is His word revealing Himself, and not only making manifest the dangers here, but acting as a lamp in showing the true path. Ps 119:105. The Psalmist asked Jehovah to lift upon him the light of His countenance ( Ps 4:6 ), and declared that Jehovah Himself was his light, Ps 27:1. As natural light brings vigour and health to the body, so the light of God gives cheerfulness and strength to the soul.
God is light, and the Lord Jesus came to the earth as the true light which lighteth every man. He not only exposed all the evil in the world and all the false pretensions of the leaders of Israel; but "the life was the light of men." Joh 1:4; 8:12. Christians are "light in the Lord," and are exhorted to walk as "children of light." Eph 5:8; 1Th 5:5. In the midst of darkness they are set to shine as lights in the world. Php 2:15. A grave responsibility rests upon them lest they should not have the heavenly lustre that would characterise them as having in their hearts the light of the glory of the Lord. If the light in the Christian become darkness by his not walking in the reality of it, how great is that darkness! Mt 6:23.
It has been very properly said that light is appropriately descriptive of God; for light, invisible in itself, manifests everything. Christians, as we have seen, are 'light in the Lord,' and thus convict the unfruitful works of darkness; but here we may notice that it is not said of them, as of God, that they are 'love,' for love is the sovereign spring of activity in God.
LIGHT, ???, is used in a physical sense, Mt 17:2; Ac 9:3; 12:7; 2Co 4:6; for a fire giving light, Mr 14:54; Lu 22:56; for a torch, candle, or lamp, Ac 16:29; and for the material light of heaven, as the sun, moon, or stars, Ps 136:7; Jas 1:17. Figuratively taken, it signifies a manifest or open state of things, Mt 10:27; Lu 12:3; also prosperity, truth, and joy.
God is said to dwell in light inaccessible, 1Ti 6:16. This seems to contain a reference to the glory and splendour which shone in the holy of holies, where Jehovah appeared in the luminous cloud above the mercy seat, and which none but the high priest, and he only once a year, was permitted to approach unto, Le 16:2; Eze 1:22,26,28; but this was typical of the glory of the celestial world. It signifies, also, instruction, both by doctrine and example, Mt 5:16; Joh 5:35; or persons considered as giving such light, Mt 5:14; Ro 2:19. It is applied figuratively to Christ, the true Light, the Sun of Righteousness, who is that in the spiritual, which the material light is in the natural, world; who is the great Author, not only of illumination and knowledge, but of spiritual life, health, and joy to the souls of men.
The images of light and darkness, says Bishop Lowth, are commonly made use of in all languages to imply or denote prosperity and adversity, agreeably to the common sense and perception which all men have of the objects themselves. But the Hebrews employ those metaphors more frequently and with less variation than other people: indeed, they seldom refrain from them whenever the subject requires or will even admit of their introduction. These expressions, therefore, may be accounted among those forms of speech, which in the parabolic style are established and defined; since they exhibit the most noted and familiar images, and the application of them on this occasion is justified by an acknowledged analogy, and approved by constant and unvarying custom. In the use of images, so conspicuous and so familiar among the Hebrews, a degree of boldness is excusable. The Latins introduce them more sparingly, and therefore are more cautious in the application of them. But the Hebrews, upon a subject more sublime indeed, in itself, and illustrating it by an idea which was more habitual to them, more daringly exalt their strains, and give a loose rein to the spirit of poetry. They display, for instance, not the image of the spring, of Aurora, of the dreary night, but the sun and stars as rising with increased splendour in a new creation, or again involved in chaos and primeval darkness. Does the sacred bard promise to his people a renewal of the divine favour, and a recommencement of universal prosperity? In what magnificent colours does he depict it! Such, indeed, as no translation can illustrate, but such as none can obscure: