There is an old African proverb that says,

Until lions have their own historians, the hunter will always be the hero of the story.

History is written by the winners. Western history has been written by the intellectuals whose ideas conquered Europe and became the basis of Western Civilization. The victorious historians called the first phase of the conquest “The Enlightenment”. The new era is the age of light.

Another term coined by the winning historians was “Renaissance” – the new birth. What was being reborn? God was being slowly pushed into the shadows, and in his place the “light” of the classical era dawned again. The thinking of the Greek philosophers illuminated the new age.

Those Greek philosophers had been the luminaries in the time before Christ. When the Word of God dried up at the end of the Old Testament, Socrates (in many ways the father of Greek philosophy) was philosophizing at the time when Malachi ended the divine revelation with its closing quotation mark. Then for 400 years, God was silent; until “the Word of God came to John” (Luke 3:2). John pointed forward to the coming of Jesus, bearing witness, we are told, to the “the true light which...was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Light, John tells us, that shone “in the darkness” (1:4).

Notice that word. The Bible tells us that Jesus was the light that came into the darkness. The Word became flesh after 400 years of no Word from God; those centuries were the dark ages. This was the era of human wisdom at its finest, as the Greeks were thinking their big ideas, and the climax of human power as the Romans controlled and administrated the world. The birth of our western civilization was in those centuries – art, education, politics, democracy, sport, to name but a few aspects. Historians would later refer to that era as the light that would be reborn 1500 years later. But the Bible calls it “darkness”.

When the Lion (of the tribe of Judah) re-writes history, telling it like it really is at the end of the story in which the Lion conquers, the tales of the hunters will be seen to be the fables that they really are. The best of human wisdom is but darkness – unable to even compare with the “foolishness” of God; and the might of Rome, the raw power of mankind is a strength that is feeble in comparison with even the “weakness” of God (1Cor 1:25). With the coming of Jesus into the world, light entered the darkness. When he returns as a conquering Lion, history will be rewritten accurately, and we will see light and darkness for what they really are. Human wisdom is darkness; Jesus is the Light of the World.

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