The word apocalypse is derived from the Greek word apokalypsis, which means the unveiling or revealing of things hidden or unknown. While the Book of Revelation is the biblical text most widely identified as apocalyptic, the unveiling and revealing of things hidden or unknown runs throughout the Old and New Testaments. One of the most important of these apocalyptic motifs relates to light and its central role in the biblical narrative. As one commentator has noted:
“The Bible is enveloped by the imagery of light, both literally and figuratively. At the beginning of the biblical narrative, physical light springs forth as the first created thing (Gen 1:3-4). At the end of the story the light of God obliterates all traces of darkness: ‘and night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light’ (Rev 22:5 RSV). Between these two beacons the imagery of light makes nearly two hundred appearances, with light emerging as one of the Bible’s major and most complex symbols.” (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, p. 509)
This article is about light and its meaning and role in salvation as revealed in New Testament accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings. These revelations tell an extraordinary story about light, its power over darkness, and Jesus’ mission to bring light into a world beholden to darkness. In this story, we find unveiled remarkable truths about light, truths that deepen our understanding of Jesus and his mission when he walked the earth. We learn that Jesus’ nature is that of light, that his light is one with the Light of the Divine, that light was and is essential to his mission of redemption, that our essential natures are light, and that the most fundamental aspect of salvation is Jesus’ call for us to become, like him, beings of light and one with the Divine. This story also portrays a world and its people lost in a darkness violently opposed to the light and in desperate need of freedom from the power of that darkness.
These revelations about Jesus, light, and its role in humankind’s deliverance from darkness, it will be argued, are crucial to understanding Jesus and the path of freedom he unveiled for us to transform ourselves and our world. Much of the New Testament speaks directly or indirectly about light and its power to free souls from darkness. Jesus’ teaching about light and its power over darkness are found in his words, often in his parables which he used as symbolic expressions of higher truths, and in his actions, most notably his healings, by which he demonstrated the power of light over darkness. We also find in Jesus’ words and actions that the path to salvation culminates in oneness with the Divine and that the path to this mystical union is in and through light as one of the most essential aspects, and possibly the most essential aspect, of spiritual transformation.
II. The Light of Jesus
Jesus is light. No gospel passage reveals more profoundly this truth than the opening verses of the Gospel of John:
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.” John 1:2-9. (Biblical references are to the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
These prophetic verses tell us that Jesus’ essential nature is light. They also speak of the opposition between light and darkness and that Jesus, as a being of light, stands opposed to darkness. Moreover, they identify Jesus with the Divine by revealing Jesus to be the Light. We are further told that Light, the Divine, is foundational to the human experience in that “the true Light gives light to every man who comes into the world,” giving light a singular importance in understanding human nature. These unveilings about Jesus and light, further elucidated in the gospels, epistles and the Book of Revelation, contain the keys to understanding the identity of Jesus and his mission of salvation.
The revelation of Jesus as light is found in various gospel texts. Perhaps the most dramatic of these revelations is his transfiguration on Mount Tabor, considered by many New Testament scholars to be one of the “high points” of the gospel narratives. The significance of the transfiguration is found not only in Jesus unveiling his true essence as light but also in the discourse leading up to it.
Jesus poses to his disciples the critical question about his identity: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” His disciples respond: “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” But Jesus insists they tell him what they believe: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter boldly asserts: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus, affirming the truth that he is the Christ, tells Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven.” Matt 16:13-17.
When Peter says that Jesus is the Christ, he is making a specific declaration about the identity of Jesus. The term Christ comes from the Greek Christos meaning “the anointed one”. God promised to the Old Testament prophets that He would send a messiah, a Christ, who would deliver the Jewish people and, according to some Old Testament texts, the people of the world from their suffering. Peter declares that Jesus is the one promised by God, and Jesus affirms it. But Jesus does not stop there. He proceeds to reveal what the nature of his mission of deliverance will be.
Jesus foretells that he will suffer and die and arise again on the third day. Matt 16:17. Peter, having affirmed Jesus’ identify as the Messiah, is stunned, as most likely are the other disciples. Jesus’ disciples, like many other Jews, did not harbor expectations of a messiah who would suffer and die. After all, many Jews had already suffered and died under the yoke of Roman rule. A warrior king like David was more in line with popular Jewish messianic expectations. But Jesus, having affirmed his identity as the Messiah, goes on to unveil what his role as the Messiah would be. By foretelling of his suffering and death, he makes known that he did not come to be a warrior-king like David. In disbelief, Peter attempts to disabuse Jesus of the notion that he would suffer and die: “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to you.” Jesus then issues his famous rebuke to Peter, dispelling any illusions as to his mission as the Christ: “Get behind Me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Matt 16:22-23.
Jesus goes on to take his revelation of his role as the Messiah to a higher level, further unveiling the nature of the Christ and the meaning of salvation. In verses immediately following his rebuke of Peter, Jesus says that those who desire salvation must take up their cross and follow him and that whoever loses his r life for Jesus’ sake will find it. It is not, Jesus says, about gaining the world but rather gaining one’s soul. Matt 16:24-26.Jesus then takes Peter and two other disciples to the top of Mount Tabor, and there he reveals to them his true nature and what he will teach is the essence of salvation:
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light.” Matt. 17:1-2.
Jesus reveals to his disciples that he is a being of light and that beyond his human form is light. Arguably one of the most monumental apocalyptic events in the New Testament, Jesus’ dramatic unveiling of his true nature as light conveys in ways words cannot that his role as Messiah is inextricably linked to light and to his essence as a being of light. In his transfiguration on Mount Tabor, he reveals his truth as light and that salvation will come through this truth.
We thus find in the transfiguration and the discourse leading up to it Jesus affirming that he is the Messiah, dispelling notions that he will be a warrior-king like David, revealing his essence of light, and presaging that salvation will come to those who turn to the light and become, like him, beings of light. And lest there be any doubt that Jesus was affirming that he was the promised Messiah, he appeared on Mount Tabor with two of the most exalted figures to grace the Old Testament: Moses and Elijah.
As we have seen, the prologue of the Gospel of John reveals Jesus’ identity as light, his oneness with the Light, and his purpose to bring light into a world of darkness. More revelations of Jesus as light and his mission to bring light into the world are found in other gospel passages. In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the light of the world.” In John 12:35, he also identifies himself as light: “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you.” In John 12:36, he again refers to himself as light as he urges his disciples to become children of the light. “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of the light.” And in John 12:46, he links his messianic role with light: “I have come to bring light into the world.”
These gospel passages tell us, among other things, that Jesus had a privileged relationship with God, the Light, and that he came to teach us that we too can have the same relationship, one that will bring us spiritual transformation and deliverance.
III. Jesus and Light in the Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation offers more apocalyptic unveilings as to light, Jesus as light, and the relationship between salvation and light. The Book of Revelation, also known as the Revelation to John, is the account of a visionary experience of the apostle John, widely believed to be its author, near the end of his life. At the beginning of the vision, Jesus appears to John as a being of light, not unlike his appearance to him years earlier on Mount Tabor with Peter and James. As Jesus did with his transfiguration on Mount Tabor, he uses his appearance in Revelation in a transformed state to reveal truths about himself, light and spiritual transformation. And, more explicitly than in any other New Testament text, Jesus in Revelation speaks of what we must do to become light, offering his experience on earth as the model we are called to follow.
Jesus is revealing seven centers of spiritual energy within him—which are also within us–and that these centers, which John perceives as lampstands of glowing light, are the keys to spiritual transformation.
The apocalyptic revelations in the Revelation of John revolve around the unveiling by Jesus of seven centers of light, commonly known today as chakras, and their role in spiritual transformation. We have already seen in the gospels that Jesus taught about light and its relation to salvation. In Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, he further develops this teaching, not only in his unveiling of the centers of light but also of their significance for each of us and for the future of our world in the form of prophetic revelations that run throughout Revelation. Jesus reaffirms, as he did in the gospels, that the path of light is the path of salvation. But now, in his appearance to John, he adds specific instructions as to the chakras, their energies, and their role for people to become beings of light and one with God, which is salvation.
In the opening verses of Revelation, John sees Jesus as a radiant being and in Jesus’ midst he sees seven golden lampstands:
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in his right hand seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Rev 1:12-16.
Jesus is revealing seven centers of spiritual energy within him—which are also within us–and that these centers, which John perceives as lampstands of glowing light, are the keys to spiritual transformation. Jesus not only unveils the existence of these centers but also that he mastered the energies of these centers when he walked the earth. His mastery of these centers and their energies is signified by the seven stars he holds in his hand. Jesus is making known that to become a being of light, i.e., to be free of darkness, we must transform these centers of energies into “lampstands” of light as he did when he walked the earth. Jesus teaches of the importance of these energies in his famous messages to the seven churches, the churches being symbolic references to the energy centers, or chakras, which he has just revealed to John.
In the messages to the seven churches, Jesus teaches about each of the seven centers and their role in spiritual transformation. The vision in its entirety, i.e., the entire Book of Revelation, can be understood as a prophecy, although not set in stone, of what it means for us as individuals and for our planet if the energies of the chakras are used in the service of light and love or, instead, if they are used in ways that bring about darkness and evil.
Jesus expresses these truths symbolically as evidenced by the admonition he gives after each message: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; Rev 3:6, 13, 22. He is saying that the messages hold a deeper meaning intended for those who have ears to hear. Jesus’ use of symbolic language in teaching about the churches, or chakras, is similar to his use of symbolic langauge in gospel parables. When his disciples asked why he taught in parables, he explained: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Matt 13:11. The deeper truths contained in his messages to the churches, as in his parables, are for those who are developed spiritually enough to grasp the deeper meaning conveyed through the symbols. The deeper meaning of the messages, as Jesus stated, is meant for more spiritually advanced followers who can hear the Spirit and receive the wisdom the Spirit brings.
The meaning of the messages to the seven churches is discussed in the article “The Lost Churches of the New Testament”, at www.christianityandthechakras.com. The essence of these teachings is that the energies of the churches, or chakras, must not be misused, but rather they must be used wisely in order for a person to advance spiritually toward salvation. The spiritual import of using the energies of the chakras wisely is also found in several gospel parables. One such parable is that of the wise and foolish virgins in which Jesus teaches “for those with ears to hear” of the consequences of the use and misuse of the energies of the chakras. Matt 25:1-13.
In this parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Jesus refers to lamps, similar to John’s use of lampstand in Revelation, to symbolically represent the chakras, and he uses oil to symbolically represent the energies of the chakras. The virgins who use their “oil”, or energies, wisely gain entrance into the wedding feast, a symbol of union with the Divine. In contrast, the virgins who fail to use wisely the energies of the chakras are not allowed to enter the wedding feast. Their misuse of their “oil”, or energies, prevents them from making the transformation from human to divine consciousness, which lies at the heart of spiritual transformation. We see John passing from human to divine consciousness when, after having received the messages to the seven churches, he suddenly sees a door open, and then has an encounter with the Divine.John was one of Jesus’ more advanced disciples in whose heart, it appears, rose the morning star. 2 Pet 1-19.
The energy centers, or chakras, are known in most spiritual traditions as the keys to spiritual power and transformation. The term “chakra” is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning wheels of light. These wheels of light are the seven major energy centers in our energy bodies, also known as light bodies, which surround and interpenetrate our physical bodies. These seven centers are situated in places in our energy bodies corresponding to places along the spine in our physical bodies from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. These seven major energy centers, as well as many smaller ones, for aeons have been known by seers and spiritual adepts as phenomena that can be seen and experienced. In other words, these centers are not theoretical constructs.
A seer and spiritual master who wrote extensively on Jesus’ teachings about the chakras is the late Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the classic The Autobiography of a Yogi. In several writings he interpreted the seven golden lampstands, seven churches, seven stars, and seven bowls in the Book of Revelation as symbolic references to the chakras. For example, in Wine of the Mystic: The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam, he wrote: “These seven spiritual centers are spoken of as chakras or lotuses in the Yoga scriptures of India, and as ‘the mystery of the seven stars’ and the ‘seven churches’ in the Christian Bible. Rev. 1:20.” He similarly wrote in The Yoga of Jesus: “Man’s body, unique among all creatures, possesses spiritual cerebrospinal centers of divine consciousness in which the descended spirit is templed. These are known to the Yogis and to St. John, who described them in Revelation as the seven seals and the seven stars and the seven churches, with their seven angels and seven golden lampstands.” (Further references to the chakras in the gospels can be found in Paramahansa Yogananda’s “The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You”.)
Another spiritual master who interpreted the lampstands and churches in Revelation as references to the chakras is Sri Yukteswar. Like Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar was widely revered as a spiritual master in the Hindu tradition. Identifying the golden lampstands in Revelation as the chakras and as manifestations of “the true Light”, he wrote in The Holy Science (p. 91) that the Spirit manifests through these centers, which function as pathways from human to divine consciousness: “Through these seven centers or churches, the Ego or son of man passes toward Divinity.” It is this same transformation from ego consciousness to divine consciousness that John experienced after receiving the messages to the churches and that Jesus taught in regard to the use or misuse of the energies of the chakras in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.
Jesus thus teaches that the path to salvation, which is meant to culminate in union with the Divine, requires that we use properly the Light of the seven churches within us.This understanding is the key to unlocking the deeper meanings embedded on multiple levels in the Book of Revelation. In these meanings we find that Revelation is a series of apocalyptic unveilings about the critical importance of the energies of the chakras not only for each of us but also for our world. Appearing as one who has mastered the use of the sacred energies of the chakras, Jesus calls us to do the same. But his revelations about the chakras and their energies do not end there. They are also a prologue to the rest of Revelation in which it is revealed not only for each of us but for our world the consequences if we use these energies in the service of light and love or if we misuse them in the services of darkness and evil. These prophetic messages are contained in the passages on the seven seals and seven bowls as they speak of the epic struggle between light and darkness unfolding in each of us and in our world, arguably the central theme running throughout the biblical narrative beginning with the Book of Genesis and ending in the Revelation of John.
The Revelation to John can thus be understood not as a prophecy set in stone but as an unveiling, an apocalypsis, of the possibilities that lie before us in our choices, both personal and collective, as to how we use the energies of the chakras. Jesus is calling us to transform the seven chakras into seven churches of divine consciousness alive and radiant with the same energies that he carried when he walked the earth and he continues to carry in his oneness with God.
IV. The Need for Salvation: A World Beholden to Darkness
To fully understand light and its role in redemption we look to the Bible and what it tells us about darkness, for in the biblical account of darkness we find humankind’s desperate need for light. The Old and New Testaments portray a world and its people lost in darkness and evil. They also present a world where darkness and evil stand in opposition to the Light of its Creator. As stated in the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, “It is impossible to understand the biblical imagery of light without seeing it as the great antithesis and conqueror of darkness.” (p. 509) Thus, the Bible not only depicts darkness in opposition to light as one of its principal themes, it explicitly indicts darkness in humankind’s alienation from God. Relating darkness to humankind’s alienation from God, the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery further states:
“The Bible portrays this opposition of evil to good through images of darkness and light. From the very beginning when God spoke the light into being, saw that the light was good and separated the light from the darkness, the light became associated with good, with God himself. Darkness, by contrast, works as the opposite of light and goodness, most often picturing a world of evil alienated from God.” (p. 248)
We first encounter the problem of darkness and evil and their power over people in the earliest verses of Genesis: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen 6:5. The problem is reiterated a few verses later: “[T]he imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Gen 8:21. This dire plight of humankind is echoed repeatedly in the words and warnings of the prophets. For example, Jeremiah 4:14 admonishes the Israelites: “O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you.” Similarly, Ecclesiastes 9:3 decries the evil and madness that rule people’s hearts: “Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live…”
Psalm 52:3 likewise delivers a sweeping indictment of people’s lying nature and love of evil: “You love evil more than good. And lying rather than speaking righteous.” Isaiah 5:20, for its part, issues a somber warning against those who deceive by calling evil good and good evil and who choose darkness over light: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 9:2 adds that those who walk in darkness dwell in “the land of the shadow of death.” In Proverbs 2:13, evildoers are “those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.” And, underscoring the bondage of darkness, it is rendered as a prison from which one needs to be freed. Ps 107:10, 14; Is 42:7; 49:9.
The New Testament similarly depicts humankind and the world in need of freedom from darkness as it portrays darkness as a powerful force opposing and resisting the Light. We have seen this portrayal in the Gospel of John in its revelation that Jesus is the Light and that he came to bring Light into a world of darkness. Jn 1:4-10. Darkness is also characterized as a powerful spiritual force opposed to the light in Luke 22:53 in its reference to “the power of darkness”. Paul identifies the problem as not only darkness but also dark beings: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:12. Paul further cautions against the dangers of darkness and dark beings in believers’ relationships with unbelievers: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Beliar?” 2 Cor 6:14-15. A similar dichotomy is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:5 in referring to believers as “children of the light” who are not “of the night [or] of darkness.” In Peter 5:8, the devil is likened to no less than a beast of prey roaming the world: ”Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Jesus therefore exhorts Paul to deliver those to whom he is called to preach “from the power of Satan”. Acts 26:18. And, lest we fail to fully grasp the dangers posed by darkness, we are forewarned that a life of darkness may very lead to the ruinous loss of all light: ”The light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more.” Rev 18:23.
These verses, like those in the Old Testament, identify humankind’s need to be free of darkness. But the New Testament also illuminates another truth about salvation, one that will prove pivotal to the entire story of salvation: freedom from darkness is made possible by the coming of Light into the world but people must choose the light. Therein lies the great moral imperative at the heart of salvation. It is not that the world is bereft of light. Rather, when offered the choice between light and darkness, people too often choose darkness: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come into the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” Jn 3:19. So great is the problem of our free will to choose darkness over light that Jesus counseled the women of Jerusalem not to shed tears for him as he faced his death but rather for themselves and for their children, i.e., for the people of the world who choose to reject the Light and therefore choose to be prisoners of darkness. Lk 23:28-31.
Salvation, in its essence, is Jesus’ call for us to become, like him, beings of light and to join with him in union with the Light. Light, then, is the bridge between humankind and God, between human consciousness and divine consciousness.
The principal motif running throughout the Old and New Testaments, therefore, is the opposition between light and darkness and humankind’s need for deliverance from darkness. We hear this need for deliverance in God’s promises to the ancient prophets that He would deliver the world and its people from darkness and evil. The primary mission of a redeemer would then be to reveal to humankind the path of freedom from darkness and how to choose light over darkness. The fulfillment of this mission would, per force, require a person filled with light and free of all darkness. The New Testament reveals Jesus as this person filled with light and free of all darkness. It also reveals that he came as light in fulfillment of God’s promises to deliver the world and its people from darkness.
V. The Mission of Jesus: Light and the Deliverance from Darkness
The New Testament clearly portrays Jesus and his mission as bringing humankind and the world out of darkness into the light. Jesus repeatedly asserts that he is light and his mission is to bring people out of darkness.For example, in John 8:12 he states: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of the world.” Similarly, in John 12:46, he identifies himself as light and states that his mission is to deliver believers from darkness: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness.” In John 12:34, Jesus again refers to himself as light as he warns against the dangers of darkness: “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you.” In John 12:35, Jesus yet again refers to himself as light as he exhorts his disciples to become children of the light: “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” And he informs Paul on the road to Damascus that he is sending Paul ”to turn [unbelievers] from darkness to light.” Acts 27:18.
The epistles also tell us that the salvation Jesus came to bring to the world was light and its power to deliver humankind from darkness. In Ephesians 5:8, Paul writes that true believers in Jesus pass from darkness to light and become children of the light: “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.” He goes on to advise against “fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” as he relates living in darkness with a death from which one is saved by the light given by Christ: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead. And Christ will give you light.” Eph 5:11-14. Similarly,1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 tells us that believers undergo a fundamental transition from darkness to light: “But you brethren are not in darkness… You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness.” Likewise, the author of Colossians, relating salvation to light and deliverance from darkness, proclaims that the saved will be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” and delivered “from the power of darkness.” Col 1:12-13. And in 1 Peter 2:9 salvation is succinctly rendered as being “called out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
The New Testament defines the problem of salvation not only as the need for deliverance from darkness but also as the need for protection from dark beings who attack the light and work to hold people in bondage to darkness. The New Testament is replete with references to dark beings and the threats they pose. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus himself is attacked by the devil who attempts to destroy Jesus’ mission by tempting him to use his light for personal aggrandizement. In 1 Peter 5:8, we are warned of the devil as a dangerous presence in the world. Paul likewise identifies the battle being not only against darkness but also against dark beings and dark forces. Eph 6:11-12. We encounter these dark beings and forces in Jesus’ healings and in his exorcisms as he casts out unclean spirits and demonic entities. So powerful is the devil and his machinations that Jesus teaches us to pray for deliverance from the “evil one”. Mt 6:13. And Jesus’ mission is revealed as being not only to free individual’s but the world from the power of the devil: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” Jn 12:31.
The New Testament unequivocally identifies Jesus’ mission of salvation with light, rendering freedom from darkness as synonymous with light. Yet, as we have seen, the New Testament also awakens us to our freedom to choose between light and darkness. In the Old Testament, humankind’s choice of darkness and evil was the crux of the problem, and it remains so in the New Testament. As 1 John 1:5-6 states, we cannot say we have chosen the light and still involve ourselves in dramas of darkness: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” And, as Paul tells us, Jesus pulled back the veil of darkness but we must choose: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Rom 13:12. A new imperative to turn to the light is thus proclaimed: “Again, a new commandment I write to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.“ I Jn 2:8.
VI. What Is Light?
At the heart of the gospel story of redemption, then, is humankind being imprisoned in darkness and Jesus being sent by God to show us the way to freedom from darkness. And central to this freedom is light. If Jesus, indeed, is calling us to turn to the light and offering light as integral part, and perhaps the most integral part, of salvation, we may ask what is the light Jesus calls us to become. The answer is critical to understanding Jesus and his mission and, more importantly, to understanding the way of personal and global transformation that he taught. The New Testament, as we have seen, unveils the truth of light and salvation. We therefore look to the gospels and other New Testament texts for revelations about the nature of light and its power to heal and transform a people and a world.
The New Testament tells us that light is of the nature of God, is of the essence of Jesus, and is central to the salvation. Light, then, as the path to salvation stands as the bridge between humankind and God, between human and divine consciousness. But we cannot grasp these truths about light through words. Words give us concepts, a knowing of sorts mediated by the mind. But light as a concept fails to capture its truth. Light is not a matter of the mind, it is not something known through ideas, concepts or beliefs. As such, it is not with the mind that we will know light or what it is to be light.
Light is known only through light, which we learn in Jesus’ teachings. He did not teach about light through ideas or concepts or, for that matter, by even addressing the mind. Rather, he taught about light through symbols and metaphors pointing to something beyond what the mind can grasp, e.g., using lamps and oil to symbolically speak of light and its energy. He also taught about light by revealing directly to disciples on Mt. Tabor and in the Revelation to John his nature as light. He not only told them many times he was light, but he actually showed them he was light. Accordingly, just as light is known by light, we cannot truly know Jesus except by becoming light ourselves. Jesus, through his words and actions, taught us to become light. And to know Jesus by becoming light is to know the Light. To become light, then, is each person’s journey to salvation, the journey to God.
We encounter this extraordinary light in the opening verses of the Gospel of John, which reveal the nature of Jesus as light but not as the light seen by the ordinary eye.
Spiritual light, as it might be called, is sometimes encountered by persons who in dreams and visions see heavenly realms and spiritual beings appearing as radiant light. The New Testament tells us of several such experiences, which underscore one of the most striking features of the light as revealed in the New Testament: there is light not seen with the ordinary eye.The light of the sun or of a candle is seen with the ordinary eye. But the New Testament speaks of a different light.
We encounter this extraordinary light in the opening verses of the Gospel of John, which reveal the nature of Jesus as light but not as the light seen by the ordinary eye. If these passages referred to light seen by the ordinary eye, they would lose all meaning. Ordinary physical light already existed abundantly in the world, and Jesus would not be bringing to the world something new. The light referred to in the prologue to the Gospel of John was the light made visible by Jesus to his disciples in his transfiguration on Mount Tabor. If this light were seen by ordinary eyes, Jesus’ disciples would have seen it in and around him all the time, which they did not, and the disciples waiting at the foot of Mount Tabor would have seen a light shining atop the mount, which they did not.
Other New Testament passages further attest that the light of Jesus came to bring is not light seen by the ordinary eye. Paul encountered this light in his conversion experience: “I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.” Acts 26:13. Peter saw such light when he was freed from prison by an angelic presence: “Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison.” Acts 12:7. In Revelation 22:23, this same light is associated with the New Jerusalem, illuminated not by a natural source but by divine light: “And the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light.” Similarly, Revelation 22:5 proclaims that the Kingdom of God is lit not by natural but by the light of God: “And there shall be no light there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.”
The New Testament associates this extraordinary light with the Divine. The Gospel of John, as we have seen, identifies the light Jesus brings to the world as the Light. “That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.” Jn 1:9. We also encounter the relationship of light with the Divine in James 1:17, which refers to God as the “Father of lights,” as well as in 1 John 1:5, which proclaims that “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” Likewise, in 1 Timothy 6:16 God is the one who “dwells in unapproachable light.” And Revelation identifies light not only with God but also with the Spirits of God. “There was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald… And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings and voices. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Rev 4:3, 5.
We learn of light not only in gospel passages speaking of what light is but also in those speaking of what light does. We see what light does in what Jesus does, for Jesus is a being of pure light. In his actions we encounter light as a powerful force affecting people and things on many levels and in many ways. The power of light is manifested in Jesus’ miracles. He transformed water to wine, multiplied loaves and fishes, walked on water, calmed the seas, raised Lazarus from the dead. He even caused a fig tree to wither and die to illustrate a fundamental teaching about those whose lives do not bear fruit in the Spirit.
We learn more about light in Jesus’ encounters with darkness, when his light is set in relief against the darkness. Jesus’ encounter with the devil while fasting in the desert was a spiritual attack on Jesus’ light and mission to bring light into the world. Jesus was victorious in this battle, foreshadowing his victory over darkness throughout his life. He continued to confront and overcome darkness when he healed people of the darkness rendering them physically ill and diseased. He likewise battled and overcame darkness when he cast out demons and other unclean spirits. Jesus’ ultimate testament to the power of light over darkness was his crucifixion and resurrection. His personal triumphs over darkness, as well as his healings and exorcisms, teach us that the light Jesus brought to the world is more powerful than darkness and can free humankind and the world from darkness and its deadly grip.
We thus see revealed in Jesus’ miracles, healings, exorcisms, death and resurrection a force emanating from God and acting through Jesus. Indeed, Jesus’ performance of extraordinary feats is ascribed to God, revealing Jesus’ special relationship with the God: “And the power of the Lord was present to heal them” (Luke 5: 17); “I can of Myself do nothing” (John 5:30). Jesus’ miracles and healings, his death and resurrection, thus reveal his special relationship with the Father, the Light, a special relationship to which we too are called. It is because of this relationship, open to all who turn to the light, that Jesus can promise to those who follow his path and become one with the Divine that they will do even greater things than he did, a promise that light has the power to transform those who turn to the light and, through them, the world. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to the Father.” Jn 14:12.
The light Jesus revealed, then, is not to be understood as representing goodness or divine blessing or a higher spiritual principle. Rather, what Jesus revealed is an extraordinarily powerful force emanating from God and illuminating and animating His creation. Jesus revealed this force at every turn when he walked the earth: in his teachings, his miracles, his healings and exorcisms, his unveiling of his essence of light on Mount Tabor, his death and resurrection, and his appearance to disciples after his resurrection. In these and other ways, Jesus revealed yet another truth central to salvation: this extraordinary divine force, which he calls light and which is associated with God, dwells within each of us. It is, as we are told in John 1:9, the “the True Light which give light to every man who comes into this world.” And it is, as Jesus unveiled, the Kingdom of God within: “The Kingdom of God does not come from observation: nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed the Kingdom of God is within you.” Lk 17:20-21.
We thus see that Jesus revealed light to be not only of the nature of God but also our divine essence. Jesus is saying to us that we are like him when he walked the earth: human and divine. In this sense salvation—deliverance from darkness—entails awakening to our true natures as beings of light. Jesus refers to this inner light to which we must awaken as the Son of Man, the divinity dwelling within us that he calls us to become: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jn 3:14. Jesus foretells that some of his disciples will lift up the Son of Man–realize their divine essence–while still in body: “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.” Matt 16:28. It is this inner light, Jesus proclaimed, which brings those who so choose into oneness with his light and the Light of God: “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in me, and I in you.” Jn 14:20.
VII. Light and Love
The divine light revealed by Jesus is indistinguishable from divine love. What Jesus says and does as a being of light are expressions of divine love. This interplay of divine light and love in the New Testament reveals yet more about salvation. It tells us that to choose the light is also to choose to love, for when we choose not to love we are blinded by darkness: “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1 Jn 2:9-11.
We have seen in Jesus’ miracles, healings, and exorcisms and in his personal triumphs over darkness that light loves. Jesus was light and he used light in the service of love. Likewise, Jesus loved and he loved in the service of light. Thus, in Jesus we encounter a being of pure light and pure love. And we also see in him that light and love are not only inextricably linked but are one and the same. Light, as a divine force dwelling in Jesus and also acting through him, is of a very high vibration of energy, so high that is dispels the vibration of darkness. Love, too, is of a very high vibration of energy, arguably the highest vibration of all energy. It is in this highest vibration of energy that divine light and divine love are inseparable. To become light, then, is to become love, and to become love is to become light. And to become light and love is to realize our true selves, our true identities, for we are, as Jesus taught, children of the Light who have dwelling within us our essence of Divine Light.
VIII. Seeing the Unseen
If the light revealed by Jesus is real, why do not we see it? Therein lies the problem, at least a big part of it, for each of us and for our world. It is difficult to see the light until we advance spiritually – until we turn to the light and through prayer, spiritual practices, and selfless service live at light’s higher vibration of energy. It is then that we will be able to see what is unseen with the ordinary eye.
We find this “spiritual” seeing in some seers and visionaries of almost all spiritual traditions. This visionary way of seeing comes as a gift to some, which seems to be the case with the disciples on Mount Tabor. To others it comes as the fruit of spiritual evolvement, which perhaps was the case with John’s visionary experience recorded in Revelation. In traditions of Eastern spirituality, seeing non-physical light is often ascribed to the opening of what is called the spiritual eye, an energy center, or chakra, in the center of the forehead just above the physical eyes. In these traditions, opening this energy center is considered fundamental to spiritual awakening. Jesus refers to this kind of spiritual sight when he says that seeing through this chakra, or spiritual eye, and not with ordinary sight, fills one with light: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Mt 6:22 (King James Version).
Seeing through the spiritual eye is often associated with purity of heart. Purity of heart comes from purifying the energy center known as the heart chakra and deepening into the Hidden Chamber of the Heart, which lies beyond the depths of the heart chakra. It is in this experience that we encounter our inner essence of Divine Light and Love, our Sacred Heart. Jesus proclaims that this divine encounter will come to the pure in heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” Mt 5:8. John in his vision recorded in Revelation had this experience when he entered beyond the depths of the heart chakra and had a direct experience of the Divine. Rev 4:1-5. He opened to his Sacred Heart where he then experienced the Sacred Heart. This Sacred Heart of divine light and love is honored in Catholic tradition in its reverence for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Spiritual sight is also attributed to some Old Testament prophets, often referred to as seers, e.g., Zech 1-6, Dan 10:5-8, Isa 33:17, 2 Sam 24:11; Isa 29:10. Not the least among these seers was Moses, who saw God face to face. Deut 34:10. The seers’ prophetic roles in large part depended on seeing things unseen by the ordinary eye and conveying what they saw to others.
IX. What Is Darkness?
The darkness Jesus reveals is no less real than the light. Darkness is clearly a force and not a metaphor for that which is not good or for a spiritual principle opposed to the good. And, while not synonymous with evil, darkness is closely associated with evil. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery interprets references to darkness in the New Testament as referring to a cosmic, spiritual force:
“The power of darkness in the NT is so vivid that it is more than a symbol, becoming nothing less than a spiritual reality. Jesus himself spoke of “the power of darkness” (Lk 22:53), and Paul spoke of how Christians do not battle against physical enemies but against “cosmic powers of this present darkness against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12 NRSV). The context into which darkness is here placed is the cosmic spiritual battle between good and evil, God and Satan. “What partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness?” Paul asks. “Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar?” (2 Cor 6:14-15 NRSV). The world itself is divided into “children of light” and children of the night or of darkness. (1 Thess 5:5). The ultimate power of darkness was manifested with the temporary triumph of evil as Christ hung dying on the cross—a triumph of evil that took the form of a three-hour darkness that left people awestruck.”
The New Testament makes clear that darkness is a powerful spiritual force, and Jesus unveils not only the reality of light but also the reality of darkness. And it is in the conflict between these titanic forces that salvation unfolds. We thus find in the New Testament the development of the motif originating in the Old Testament: that humankind is at the epicenter of a cosmic battle between light and darkness. We also find that Jesus entered into the midst of this battle, revealing light’s power over darkness and the choice of light over darkness as the path of salvation..
X. Darkness Today: The Need for Discernment
Is the darkness in us and our world today less potent and less problematic than the darkness decried by the Old Testament prophets? Is today’s world any less dark than was the world when Jesus walked the earth? And is the need for freedom from darkness any less urgent today than it was during biblical times?
These questions may seem hard to answer. One reason is because we often cannot distinguish between light and darkness. As in the times of Isaiah, in today’s world we often call evil good and good evil, and we put darkness for light and light for darkness. Isa 5:20. In other words, we may not be any more discerning of light and darkness than were the people of ancient times. Lacking the ability to distinguish between light and darkness, we are vulnerable to becoming trapped in things of darkness that we mistakenly believe are of the light. Our discernment, then, or lack thereof, is of critical importance for our spiritual well-being. As Jesus warned, our choices between light and darkness have consequences for our lives on earth but also extending far beyond our lives on earth.
One way to distinguish between light and darkness—which Paul called a mark of spiritual maturity (Heb 5:14)—is to know that light carries a high vibration of energy and darkness a low vibration of energy. Persons and things of light are of a high vibration of energy, while persons and things of darkness are of a low vibration. We can teach ourselves to feel the energies of these high and low vibrations and learn to distinguish between them in ways that go beyond what may feel good or bad on a superficial, physical level. We are more than physical beings. Feeling a high vibration of energy is not always the same as what may feel good or pleasurable physically. Confusing physical pleasure with what is good spiritually is a pitfall for those who identify themselves with their bodies and fail to recognize that they are not just physical beings but spiritual beings as well.
Another way of discerning between light and darkness is by looking at the fruits of our thoughts and actions. When our thoughts and actions bring to ourselves and others truth and the very real experience of loving and being loved, we will see the fruits of light at work. When our thoughts and actions bring falsehood and a lack of love to ourselves and others, we will see the fruits of darkness. As Jesus said, we will know the tree by its fruit. Light will beget more light, and where there is light there is love. Darkness will beget more darkness, and darkness opens us and others to evil.
The gold standard for discerning light from darkness is to see with spiritual sight what is light and what is dark. This becomes possible when we develop spiritually to a level at which we can “see” not with the ordinary eye but with the spiritual eye. Mt. 6:22 KJV. As discussed above, this higher level of seeing comes with the opening of the energy center in the forehead between the eye brows, often referred to as the third-eye chakra. When it opens and is developed as a center of spiritual knowing, we then see energies unseen by the ordinary eye, energies that are light and energies that are dark. For example, we can walk into a room and see it filled with light or darkness. Or we can look at a person and see the person surrounded by light or by darkness. This spiritual sight allows one to penetrate veils of illusion, making visible what is inaccessible to ordinary eyes. This level of discernment, which Jesus had, reduces the chance that one will live blindly and fall prey to the deceptions of the world.
Choosing between light and darkness is difficult if we cannot distinguish between them, particularly when the darkness impersonates the light. Learning to discern what is light and what is dark, which for some will include spiritual sight, give us a greater ability to know what is light and what will bring us to freedom. In the same manner, it allows us to better know what is dark and will keep use trapped in darkness. Choices between light and darkness become clearer as we come to know more about light and darkness in the world and learn how to distinguish between them. We then are much less likely to confuse light and darkness and to fall prey to things of darkness that we misperceive to be of the light.
XI. Sex, Money and Materialism: Paths of Light or Paths of Darkness?
Three areas of our lives today in which it is often difficult to distinguish between light and darkness relate to sexual energy, money, and the materialism embedded in many of the beliefs and values of the modern world. The difficulty in distinguishing between light and darkness in these three areas, which are pillars of contemporary culture, illustrates the problem we face in discerning between light and darkness and choosing between them. Just as the peoples of the ancient world were imprisoned in the darkness as it manifested in their world, we too may be imprisoned in darkness, the same darkness as of ancient times but rendered in different forms. Lacking discernment in the most fundamental aspects of our lives, we too may be trapped in darkness without knowing that we live in darkness and its low vibration of energy. In other words, what we may perceive as good and what may feel good and what we may choose as good may, in fact, be avenues for the darkness to enter our hearts and minds and to keep us prisoners of darkness but blinded to this truth.
Sexual energies are the most powerful spiritual force within us. Flowing from the two lower cerebrospinal spiritual centers, or chakras, these energies are a divine, creative and powerful source of grace, healing and transformation. In the Revelation to John, they are unveiled as nothing less than the “Spirits of God.” Rev 4:5. They are essential to both our physical well-being and our spiritual transformation. In their highest forms, sexual energies are meant to be joined with the energy of love flowing from the depths of the heart chakra when the lower chakras and the heart chakra are open and their energies are used as an expression of love.
Sex then holds the potential to be much more than an act in pursuit of physical pleasure. It is meant to be an ecstatic encounter between two lovers filling them with light and love and lifting them to a state of joy that arises from the depths of the heart chakra.
One of the principal ways for the fusion of sexual energies and the energy of the heart is love-making. When the sexual energies merge with the energies of love flowing from the heart, we are filled with light and are brought to a higher vibration of energy. These energies, now joined, become a single force that is creative, healing and liberating in its power to lift us to a higher frequency of energy. This can happen in love-making only when our heart chakra is open and our sexual energies are used as an expression of love. Love-making then becomes one of the most potent ways to transcend the limitations of the ego because true love-making lifts out of the ordinary ego and ordinary mind and into the Sacred Heart of love beyond the depths of the heart chakra.
Sex then holds the potential to be much more than an act in pursuit of physical pleasure. It is meant to be an ecstatic encounter between two lovers filling them with light and love and taking them into states of joy arising from the depths of the heart chakra. As such, love-making has a place in our lives reaching far beyond the physical. At its highest and purest level, love-making is more of an energetic experience than a physical one. This is true of orgasm as well. It lifts lovers whose hearts are open into the transformative power of sexual energy and into the mystery of divine love within the heart. In this sense, love-making and orgasm can be seen as a preparation for and as preludes to union with the Divine, providing, so to speak, a taste the greater ecstasy that awaits us if we hold true to our spiritual destinies.
Few people understand the role of sexual energy and love-making in the salvation to which Jesus called us. Popular culture, blinding us to the true purpose and power of sexual energy, teaches us to view sex as one of the primary venues for physical pleasure and the satisfaction of ego desires. We find this benighted view in the media, music and advertising, as they condition to use sex, and therefore our sexual energy, in the service of physical pleasures and ego gratification.
But sex at the physical level does not fill us with light, does not transform us spiritually, and does not bring us closer to the fulfillment of our deepest longing to be one with the Divine, all of which are part of the path of salvation. Instead, we too often allow into our hearts and minds debased and often pornographic images and fantasies that fill us with darkness and diminish our capacity to experience what love-making is truly meant to be. This occurs even with children at young ages as they are initiated by popular culture into the misuse of their bodies and sexual energies. Later, as adults, they do not know what love-making truly is and how to experience it as a source of light and love. We have been misled into believing that the misuse of the body and sexual energy is light, whereas in popular culture it has become an avenue through which darkness enters us and keeps us at a low vibration of energy, which is inimical to all that Jesus taught.
Money, too, often disguises itself as light but brings darkness into our lives. Material security is a legitimate need, but money has been given a place in our lives and world that it does not merit. Our culture is steeped in the consciousness of money. This can be seen by how often in a day we think of God and what will bring us closer to God as compared to how often in the same day we think of money and what will bring us the things we can acquire with money. The desire for money and material possessions is fed by the lies seeded throughout popular culture that money and material possessions will fulfill our deepest longings for joy and freedom. But these illusions promise what they cannot deliver. They cannot and do not bring us the joy and freedom that sits at the heart of the salvation offered by Jesus. One reason for this is that money carries a low vibration of energy, far below that of light and love. When we live in a consciousness of money and material possessions we live in a low and often dark vibration of energy, which stands opposed to the higher vibration of light and love.
While we may hide from ourselves the truth of our worship of money, our energy fields tell the tale. The consciousness of money and desire for material wealth, and the misguided beliefs and desires born from such consciousness will create in our energy fields a low vibration of energy. To the extent that we live in what we love, we will live in the low vibration of energy within the energy fields that surround and interpenetrate our physical bodies. We are then unable to live at the high vibration of light and love needed for salvation, unwittingly becoming trapped in the darkness of the false god we have created. The happiness that money and material possessions bring, seductive as they are to the ego, pales in comparison to the joy we experience when filled with the light and love of the Divine. When we worship at the altar of money, we sacrifice the magic of this light and its power to transform us and the world. Moreover, it may be the consciousness of money and its low vibration of energy, and not the high vibration of light and love, that we carry with us over to the other side in the transition known as death.
The pervasive influence of money, which often enters us subtly, has made the desire for and attachment to money and material possessions a modern-day disease of the soul. When we put money and material possessions before God we are not living in the consciousness and energy of the Divine. Jesus taught that light and love, and not money and material possessions, are the keys to salvation. If he believed that money and material possessions would bring the salvation promised to the ancient prophets, he would have preached to that effect. But he did not. Instead, we are warned that we cannot love both God and the things of the world. Mt 6:24. We are similarly counseled: “Do not love the world or the things of in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 Jn 2:15.
The materialism of our modern times is another avenue for the darkness to enter our hearts and minds and to prevent us from living as beings of light and love. We are not only physical beings but also spiritual beings, as Jesus magnificently showed on Mount Tabor, in his Revelation to John, and in his resurrection. Materialism blinds us to this reality, obscuring the truths taught by Jesus that we are in essence Spirit and that how we use our spiritual energies will determine whether we attain freedom in light or remain imprisoned in darkness. The New Testament makes clear in its unveiling of light that we are spiritual beings and that our spiritual energies, including the energies of the chakras identified as the Spirits of God, must be used for light and love in order for us to become, like Jesus, light and love.
Modern culture in many parts of the world has fallen under the spell of materialism. Materialism is embedded, implicitly or explicitly, in educational systems, entertainment, advertising, and in many economic and governmental policies. Few of us are taught when we enter school and begin to open to the broader world that we are spiritual beings whose essence is light and love. And the lip service often given to these truths by religions is too readily belied by the false consciousness of materialism that even our religious institutions find hard to escape. The endless and pervasive drumbeat of materialism in our lives and world blocks us from being open to the many dimensions of Spirit within and around us, too often rendering us unable to even feel the higher vibration of Spirit when it is present..
Materialism’s effects on us can be considered a rape of the soul, a violation of the soul’s longing for Spirit and the transformation Spirit brings. Without an understanding of light, which is of the essence of Spirit, we are impotent to truly transform ourselves and the world. Even in our churches we are not taught about light and its power to transform. It is probably fair to say that many people go to church and have an experience in which their consciousness and energy are lifted, but the change is short-lived as they soon return to the things of the world and their low vibration of energy, which defeat the higher vibration of Spirit. What seems to be lacking is not genuine worship and in some people a heart-felt desire to change, but the teaching about light and its mastery as one of the most important keys to spiritual transformation.
XII. Light and Salvation
Misuse of the body and sexual energy, money and materialism are but some of the many ways that darkness weaves itself into our hearts, minds, and souls. The darkness then creates in us a low vibration of energy, which blinds us to our innermost truth that in our essence we are beings of light and children of the Light. The delusions created by the darkness seduce us into believing wrongly that our deepest longing—which is for light and love and the freedom they bring—will be fulfilled not by the magic and mystery of light and love but by what is dark but often mistaken as light. We then end up, as decried by the ancient prophets, loving darkness rather than light and calling good evil and evil good.
The higher the vibration of light, the more the darkness is dispelled in us and the world.
Salvation is freedom from darkness, and freedom from darkness is to be, like Jesus, one with God, who we are told is the Light and the source of all light. Jesus’ union with the Father, to which we are called, is a union of light with Light. When we turn to and become the light, we then are joined with the Light of the Father. Jesus can thus say that many who believe will do greater works than he because they too will be one with the Light. Jn 14:12. This divine union is achieved through sacrificing all that is not light, which is the lesser self and its lesser desires, for all that is light, which is the divine light that shines in ever man. John 1:4. Jesus showed us the way in his words and actions and, ultimately, in his death and resurrection.
The truth of the light within us and the imperative of becoming light are found in other spiritual traditions. In some of these traditions, we find a highly developed understanding of light as a powerful energetic force that is interwoven into beliefs and practices regarding spiritual transformation. One of these traditions is Hinduism. A teacher in the Vedanta tradition of Hinduism, Swami Vishnudevananda, writes that the goal of the practice of meditation is nothing less than the realization of the light within:
“In Vedantic meditation, the most important thing is to realize that one’s self is the sun of suns, the light of lights. In the state of meditation one can see above the body and above the mind and dehypnotize oneself into the light of lights, into the sun of suns.” (The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, p. 314)
Jesus’ revelations about light also teach us that we can become the light of lights, the sun of suns—and that knowing that we are this light and becoming this light is the path to salvation. When we become the light, we live at a higher vibration of energy, the vibration of love. Love, not to be mistaken for an emotion, is an energy, and it is this energy that is needed not only to transform into light the darkness in us but also to dispel the darkness in the world. The more we turn to light and love, and the more we are light and love, the more effective we will be in our efforts to stand in opposition to the darkness in the many forms in which it is embedded in us, in our societies and in many of societies’ institutions, formal and informal, that keep imprisoned children of the light.
Light and love, then, and their high vibration of energy, which is the vibration which brings us closest to the Divine, is the sine qua non of truly meaningful transformation on all levels—spiritual, political, economic, social, emotional and psychological. It is not a question of choosing between a spiritual path and efforts to change the things of the world that are dark and oppressive. Each person is given gifts and talents and is called to use their gifts and talents in ways that allow them to become light and also to stand in opposition to the darkness of the world, for the higher the vibration of light and love, the more the darkness is dispelled in us and in the world. And, if we are called to fight, we must do our best to fight with the light and as children of the light.
What if Jesus came into the world not to be worshipped but to show us the path to become like him–beings of light? What if Jesus came into the world not to establish a church or churches of dogmas and doctrines but rather to show us how to create within us churches of light and love? To be holy, then, would mean to be filled with light and love. This, in turn, would mean that to be holy we must transform the darkness within us into light and turn away from the false promises of the darkness of the world. And those who choose to do so will not, the New Testament tell us, stand alone. Jesus will stand alongside us—as he has since he walked the earth two thousand years ago—offering his light and his love to free us from darkness and to be, with him, joined in union with the light and love of the Divine.
The New Testament reveals many truths. Of singular importance among its revelations is the truth of light and of our true natures as beings of light. Jesus’ life, teachings and mission cannot be fully grasped without understanding his reveelations about light and, ultimately, by becoming light. Light stands today, as it did when Jesus walked the earth, as the path to freedom for us and for our world. Light has the power to dispel fear, hatred, violence, greed and the illusions which feed these and other forms of darkness. When we live in light, we will do what light does, which is to love. Jesus taught this impeccably in all he said and did. Spiritual transformation, personally and globally, awaits those who will turn from darkness and choose to become light. Then we may find that we are transforming not only ourselves but also the world as we live and love in union with the Divine.
Light and love are the most potent antidotes to darkness and evil. The place of reason vis-à-vis darkness and evil is in the service of light and love, which stand as the highest truths revealed in the New Testament.