Dark Ages, meaning spiritually dark, no light from God's Word. (Psa.119:130, Prov.6:23) Outwardly man had built great Cathedrals "which appear beautiful...but are within, full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matt.23:27). The House of God had now become a natural building rather then
the people of God(John.2:18-20, Matt.16:18; 23:36, 1Cor.3:16-17; 6:19, Eph.2:1-22).Nevertheless,
during the "dark ages" there were individuals "grinding in the (spiritual) prison house" as
Samson was. Just as the Philistines thought they had the upper hand, Satan thought he had
finally crushed the Church (Judges.16:21-23). HE WAS MISTAKEN!
A. There was Nicholas of Lyra(1279 -1340 AD)
Spoken of as the bridge between the Middle (Dark) Ages and the Reformation. His work had a profound influence on Luther and helped "seed" the Reformation.
B. Next came John Wycliffe(1330 -1384 AD)
Wycliffe was an English theologian and religious reformer. "His rejection of the biblical basis
of papal (Popes) power and dispute with the doctrine of the transubstantiation of the
host anticipated the Protestant Reformation. He was the 'morning star' of the Reformation,
and recognized scripture as the final authority, not the Catholic Church. Wycliffe also translated
the Bible from Latin to English. The Catholic Church's (the Church of the spiritual decline and
dark ages) response was, that such a version would also make it easier for him (Wycliffe) to
Wycliffe declared "...that the people had the right to read the Bible and interpret it themselves...". During the "dark ages" the Bible was locked up in the Latin tongue which was unknown to thecommon people.Only the "educated priests" interpreted the Bible for the people.
Note: Some today still wait for those who have theological degrees to tell them what the Bible means, rather than letting the Holy Spirit lead them into all truth (John.16:12-13). Leadership is there not to have "dominion over your faith," (2Cor.1:24, Matt.20:24-28) but to be "helpers of your joy" in understanding what God is teaching YOU (1John.2:27)!
C. After Wycliffe came John (Jan) Hus(1372-1415 AD.)
Wycliffe's ideas spread into Bohemia, where John (Jan) Hus widely preached them in powerful sermons and was burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for his Bible based belief's taught by Wycliffe)
IX. The Church is about to come out of the "dark ages"
Samson's hair was now beginning to grow again. This is a picture of the Church beginning
to separate from "dead works" and have " faith towards God" (Heb.6:1). From the end of the 1st.
Century until the 15th. Century, the Church, like Samson went to sleep (spiritually) on the knees of
the harlot Church, (Delilah). This resulted in their consecration and separation (hair) being shaved off
and they became "weak like any other man" (Judges 16:17). This gave the "advantage" to Satan
(the Philistines) who put out the spiritual eyes of the Church and bound them with spiritual "fetters
of brass;" leaving them to "grind in the prison house" of the dark ages.
But now, Samson's hair "began to grow again" Judges 16:22.
The Reformation was about to break out! God was about to call a people out unto Himself, just as He did when He called Israel out of Egypt. Note: It is not coincidental that before the Reformation, God's Word had been placed back into Greek without the corruption of the 2nd Century. Tyndale had translated this Greek text into English. The printing press had been invented which allowed the Bible to be put in the hands of the common people.