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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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Apart from its literal meaning, darkness often has a figurative meaning in the Bible. Its most common figurative usage is as a symbol for evil. This symbolic usage is natural, for wrongdoers prefer darkness to light. It enables them to carry out their wrongdoing more easily (Nehemiah 6:10; Psalms 91:5-6; Isaiah 29:15; Jeremiah 49:9; Luke 22:53; John 3:19-20; Romans 13:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:7).

The world of humankind, because of sin, is a place of darkness and death. Believers need not fear this darkness, for God has become their light (Psalms 23:4; Psalms 27:1; Micah 7:8; Ephesians 5:14). In fact, when people receive God’s salvation they come, as it were, out of a kingdom of darkness into one of light (Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 42:6-7; Luke 1:76-79; Colossians 1:13). They must therefore no longer live as if they belonged to the darkness, but live as those who belong to the light (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8-11; see LIGHT).

An intervention by God in human affairs may be accompanied by unnatural darkness (Deuteronomy 4:11; Matthew 27:45-46). This is particularly the case if the intervention is one of judgment (Joel 2:2; Joel 2:31; cf. Revelation 16:10-11). Therefore, the Bible may speak symbolically of a day of judgment as a day of darkness (Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:15). In keeping with this symbolism, the Bible depicts the final destiny of unrepentant sinners as a place of terrifying and everlasting darkness (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; 2 Peter 2:17; Judges 1:13).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Darkness'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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