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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Evening, October 31, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

Christ was with them every day in the temple. Yet they did not reach out to capture Him in the daylight. They waited until it was late at night. Then they came through thick darkness and arrested Him. Why did they wait 'till it was night?

"Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

They worked in darkness because their hearts were darkened. They did their wicked works under cover of night, and rejected the light of Christ, because their deeds were evil. They chose that gloomy hour to execute their black designs on Christ. They arrested Him in the Garden of Gethsemane at night. Jesus said,

"If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23).

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

"The power of darkness." This speaks of Satan. A short time earlier Christ said to the Disciples,

"Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" (John 14:30).

Luther called Satan, "the prince of darkness grim." Christ called Satan, "the prince of this world." Dr. Gill said,

The power of the prince of darkness here meant; that power which he usurped, and was now permitted him to exercise against Christ… [Satan] who was once an angel of light, but now full of darkness, and who darkens the minds of men, and for whom blackness of darkness is reserved…now was the time come, that Christ should be delivered up into the hands of wicked men and devils; that the [demons] should have him in their power, and triumph over him for a season; and that hell was now let loose, and all the infernal powers were about him, throwing their poisoned arrows and fiery darts at him; all which Christ endured, to deliver his people from this present evil world, from the wrath of God, the curses of the law, and from the power of darkness (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 713).

Lucifer was an angel of light, but he fell through sin. The prophet Isaiah tells of his fall from Heaven.

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" (Isaiah 14:12).

The "son of the morning" became the "prince of darkness." For he said in his heart,

"I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14).

Professing himself to be wise, he became a fool. Proclaiming his own divinity, he became a wretched demon. Proceeding to take the throne of God, he was cast out onto the earth.

"Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezekiel 28:15).

"Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground" (Ezekiel 28:17).

By his rebellion against God, Lucifer is cast out of Heaven to earth. Instead of being "the son of morning," he becomes Satan, the prince of darkness. He worms his way across the earth like a snake. He was once an angel of light, now he appears in the darkness of the Garden of Eden. He lisps words of temptation to Eve. She listens to his slippery talk, eats of the fruit and takes it to her husband. He also eats, and his whole posterity is poisoned in the blood, and in the genes, and in the spirit. The human race comes under Satan's spell,

"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Ephesians 4:18).

And down through the ages, to this present hour, Satan becomes ruler "of the darkness of this world" (Ephesians 6:12), ruler of the demons, the "prince of darkness grim."

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

Orange, black and red - the Devil's colors - stain the pages of history. Samhain, Lord of the Dead, rises from his ancient Celtic grave to haunt the streets of Los Angeles tonight. Samhain, Lord of the Dead, is Satan - and Halloween is the Devil's birthday! He roams our streets under cover of darkness tonight. They mock. They laugh. They half-believe. And yet it is so. Satan rules in the hearts of men on this October night!

"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved"
      (John 3:20).

Halloween is here. Demons, witches, bats and skeletons are glorified. It is as dark tonight as it was when they arrested Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

They took Jesus and flogged Him. After they had beaten Him half to death they nailed him to a Cross. Darkness descended. It was like the land of Egypt, under darkness in the time of Moses, when Christ was crucified. He cried out from the Cross,

"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34).

The darkness descends. Satan rules. The power of Halloween falls down across the world.

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

They strip His dead body from the Cross. They wind it in cloth and bury it in a tomb hewn out of stone. They seal the door. They set a Roman guard to watch. They have murdered and they have buried the Son of man.

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

But deep in that stone cold tomb, I see a ray! There it is - a shining spot of light! The earth quakes. The stone rolls back. The guard falls to the ground. The Son of man walks forth alive again into the morning light! He is not only the Son of man. He is also the Son of God! He has stripped the Devil of his power. He has undone the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. He has paid the penalty for human sin. He has risen from the dead!

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead" (Matthew 28:6-7).

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The powers of death have done their worst,
    But Christ their legions hath dispersed:
Let shouts of holy joy outburst. Alleluia!

The three sad days have quickly sped,
    He rises glorious from the dead:
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!
     ("The Strife Is O'er" translated by Francis Pott, 1832-1909).

The prince of darkness has had his day. Satan's hour is come and gone! Christ has risen!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Deep in the darkness of the city, I see a glowing ray. There it is - a shining spot of light! The earth quakes. The guards fall to the ground. The stone rolls back. I hear the voice of children singing.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

A church rises from the black streets of Los Angeles! It's the Baptist Tabernacle! It too has risen from the dead! People are flocking through the doors, coming with joy to Jesus Christ! I can hear someone shouting. What does he say? "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
    From death's dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live and sing to Thee. Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 22:47-53.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"The Strife Is O'er" (translated by Francis Pott, 1832-1909).