Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lamp and Light

Teaching children in Sunday school has been a part of my life for a long time. Telling the stories in the Bible, helping with memorization, and building foundations of truth, occupied my life during those precious hour slots on Sunday mornings. One of my favorite activities was teaching cute children's songs. Even today I find myself repeating those songs, like the one taken from the following verse.

Psalm 119:105 (KJV)
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

This simple verse and the song derived from it packs a punch. The Word of God is the lamp and light that guides the believer through life! Yet, there are many Christians who barely open the Word of God. Few routinely memorize or actually engage in study of the Scriptures. Without the Word of God we have no lamp or light, we wander around in darkness, stumbling into things, taking wrong paths, and falling into pits that are hard to climb out of. Is it any wonder that Christianity today seems to be in decline?

The Bible is full of references to lamps and light. Yeshua preached about them, too.

John 8:12 (KJV)
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

In this verse Yeshua claims to be the light of the world, which makes so much sense since He is the living Word of God (John 1:1-4), while the Bible is the written Word of God.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV)
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Although Yeshua is the light of the world, believers also become lights that reflect Yeshua. We are commanded not to hide our light under a bushel, but to put it on a candlestick so that we shine light before men. What exactly is our light? What are we to put on the candlestick? According to this passage our light is our good works!

Where do we find out what constitutes good works? We certainly can study Yeshua's life to see the perfect example of good works. We can study the New Testament and take to heart the teachings found therein. However, the teachings in the New Testament are not really new, they are packaged a little differently, but they are not new. They are all found in the Old Testament, particularly in the Torah.

Proverbs 6:23 (KJV)
23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Proverbs tells us that the commandment is a lamp. Which commandment is this referring to? The second phrase tells us that the Torah is light. These are two parallel phrases that mean the same thing. The commandment is not a particular one, but refers to the entire Torah. The last phrase states that the reproofs of instruction are the way of life. While "Torah" means "law", it is more accurately translated as "instruction." Again, the writer of Proverbs was indicating that Torah is the way of life.

Most Christians, however, reject Torah as a way of life. Although we teach our children songs about God's Word being a lamp and light, and read Proverbs 6:23 as if it only pertains to the New Testament, we violate the simple meaning of both of these texts. We also violate the interwoven connections between the Old and New Testaments. We arbitrarily enshrine the New Testament, while lopping off the Old. Yet, the New Testament could not exist without the Old. Try removing all the Old Testament quotes from the New and you'll have nothing left. The New Testament is dependent on the Old. Psalms and Proverbs gives truth. The Torah is our lamp and light. If Christianity is to find its way again, it must pay attention to the whole Word of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment