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O1. Being Salt for the Earth & a Light for the World.    [Make a Comment]

We are to be salt for the earth and a light for the world.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Isaiah 49:5-6
So now ADONAI says - he formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Ya'akov back to him, to have Isra'el gathered to him, so that I will be honored in the sight of ADONAI, my God having become my strength - he has said, "It is not enough that you are merely my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya'akov and restore the offspring of Isra'el. I will also make you a light to the nations, so my salvation can spread to the ends of the earth."

Matthew 5:13-16
You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on. You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don't cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:22-23
The eye is the lamp of the body. So if you have a "good eye" [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an "evil eye" [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Mark 9:49-50
Indeed, everyone is going to be salted with fire. Salt is excellent, but if it loses its saltiness, how will you season it? So have salt in yourselves - that is, be at peace with each other.

Luke 14:33-35
So every one of you who doesn't renounce all that he has cannot be my talmid. Salt is excellent. But if even the salt becomes tasteless, what can be used to season it? It is fit for neither soil nor manure - people throw it out. Those who have ears that can hear, let them hear!

Acts 13:47
For that is what ADONAI has ordered us to do: "I have set you as a light for the Goyim, to be for deliverance to the ends of the earth."

Ephesians 5:8-14
For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light. Live like children of light, for the fruit of the light is in every kind of goodness, rightness and truth - try to determine what will please the Lord. Have nothing to do with the deeds produced by darkness, but instead expose them, for it is shameful even to speak of the things these people do in secret. But everything exposed to the light is revealed clearly for what it is, since anything revealed is a light. This is why it says, "Get up, sleeper! Arise from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you!"

Philippians 2:14-15
Do everything without kvetching or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure children of God, without defect in the midst of a twisted and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky [NKJ: "lights in the world"] ...

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, the King's cohanim, a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


Because salt is essential for life, it is used in the Bible to symbolize life. Related to it, light is used in the Bible to symbolize godly knowledge and understanding that leads to life. Yeshua said of himself in John 9:5:

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

And yet, in Matthew 5:14 he told his disciples:

You are light for the world.

Could both be true? Yes, both were true, for he told his disciples in John 12:35:

The light will be with you only a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, or the dark will overtake you; he who walks in the dark doesn't know where he's going.

Yeshua was letting his disciples know that he was going away, but that he was going to transfer his light to them so that when he left, his light would remain. The Bible uses "light" to symbolize revelation and understanding as far back as Genesis 1:3 and, in Isaiah 49:5-6, Israel is said to be a "light to the Gentiles" (i.e. the rest of the world). Therefore, when Yeshua imparted his light to the original Jewish disciples (today all who believer in Yeshua are his disciples), he did so with the expectation that they/we would disseminate it throughout the world in his behalf.

"Salt" is also used symbolically in the Bible. In addition to salt being an intrinsic part of our bodies and therefore necessary for life, it is used to preserve food and to make food flavorful. By Yeshua saying that we (his disciples) are to be salt for the earth, and by his warning to us not to lose our saltiness, he is sending us forth to minister the truth and life of God through both our words and through our "enlightened" examples that others who have need of knowing God would want to emulate.

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah is not addressed by any of the classical commentators.


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