Walking in Darkness

“Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.”
~Is 8:22-9:1

“… the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”
~Matthew’s gospel quoting the next verse, Is 9:2

“Then a gloom settled over the land of Pallingham, and the Caprics could no longer see far across the plain from the top of their hill. Generations passed without seeing sun or sky, and the monks continued in their devotion. But each class of recruits was more ignorant of the order’s purpose, and they were harder to relieve of their doubts.”
The Treasure of Capric.

The monks living on Capric Hill in The Treasure of Capric live in gloom and darkness, much like the people Isaiah describes above. It is a spiritual and a physical gloom in both cases. There is hunger and violence through the land, and this leads to psychological and spiritual distress. In the fantasy setting of the Capric monks, however, it is also a visible gloom, as clouds and mists fill the air night and day. They literally walk in a gloom and darkness that prevents them from seeing the sun, moon, stars, or the distant horizon.

When Matthew quotes Isaiah above, he asserts the Jewish understanding of this passage as a Messianic prophecy, a fulfillment of God’s promises. The light will dawn. God’s savior will come. The spiritual and physical darkness will relent because according to Isaiah’s prophecy in verses 6-7,

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.”

That child is Jesus Christ the Lord. But his arrival does not end all the darkness in a moment, like flipping a switch. Though he achieves victory over sin and death, there is struggle until the final consummation of His reign.

Even after Jesus comes, teaching with authority and performing miraculous signs, he tells Nicodemus, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (Jn 3:19).

He also warns his disciples that “night is coming, when no one can work.” (Jn 9:4).

This is the night we live in now. The light has come, and we can walk in the light (1 Jn 1:7), but we see dimly, as in a cloudy mirror (1 Cor 13:12).

It’s also the night the Caprics live in. Their Christ figure has come and fulfilled his work, like Jesus, and they live in the days long after the glorious growth of the kingdom of God. Now things look bleak for the faithful.

But after Kurian meets the King of the Caves and decides to follow him, the world changes. Suddenly the lights are on, and they are dazzling as the plan of God moves forward with power.

The physical darkness and lightness are only symbols in the fantasy realm, but we can experience the clarity of walking in the light of God’s truth. We can be certain God has forgiven us, saved us, made us His children. When we repent and join the kingdom of God, we walk in His light. There “we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 Jn 1:7).

We also have the promise of a future day, when God Himself will light a renewed world in a glorious city, making the sun and moon obsolete (Rev 21:23).

As dark as this world may sometimes seem, faith pierces the gloom. We can live with faith in the coming dawn promised by the Light of the World.

If you’ve enjoyed this excerpt and would like to read more, I encourage you to check out the book on Amazon.

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