Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1:13 Paul says, “Who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Paul’s word here corresponds to the word given him by the Lord on the way to Damascus. According to Acts 26:18, the Lord charged Paul, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Gk.). Both in this verse and in Colossians 1:12 and 13 Paul speaks of darkness, light, authority, those who are sanctified, and the portion or the inheritance. No doubt, Paul’s word to the Colossians reflects the Lord’s word to him at the time of his conversion.
Years ago, I thought that the authority of darkness referred only to evil things such as gambling, stealing, and fornication. Later I realized that the authority of darkness here includes a great deal more than this. In the book of Colossians the authority of darkness refers not to evil things, but to religious observances, Gentile ordinances, and Gnostic philosophy. In chapter two Paul linked idolatry, the worship of angels, to philosophy, mysticism, Gnosticism, and asceticism. Asceticism denotes the practice of treating the body severely in order to bridle the indulgence of the flesh. This kind of practice is found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Catholicism. As we shall see later, asceticism is of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (2:23). Religious observances, asceticism, and philosophies are not evil. Some observances are even based on God’s commandments in the Old Testament; for example, the regulations concerning eating. Nevertheless, when Paul says that the Father has delivered us out of the authority of darkness, he means the darkness of these very observances, ordinances, philosophies, and ascetic practices. All of us regard gambling casinos as under the authority of darkness. But not many think that philosophies or ethical teachings are also part of this authority. Therefore, it is crucial that we understand Paul’s use of this term in the book of Colossians.
The authority of darkness denotes the authority of Satan. God is light, and Satan is darkness. Satan’s authority of darkness is the authority of evil in the heavenlies, in the air (Eph. 6:12). This evil refers to something that is in rebellion against God. The authority of evil, of rebellion, in the heavenlies is the kingdom of Satan, the authority of darkness (Matt. 12:26).
Darkness is related to death. Where darkness is, there death is also. This darkness is opposed to light, which is related to life. Satan, darkness, and death stand in opposition to God, light, and life. According to 1 Peter 2:9, we have been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Darkness is Satan as death, but light is God Himself as life.
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