Yahshua, the Son of God, prophesied when He spoke John 9:4. That is, He spoke of something that would happen in the future:
We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:4-5)
Since He also said in Matthew 5:14 that His disciples were the light of the world, the darkness in John 9:4 must be referring to a time when neither He nor His disciples would be "in the world." So when was this time of darkness? We cannot say that Peter, Paul, and the rest of the apostles were in darkness. The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 2:8, written near the end of the first century, that the light was still shining then:
At the same time it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)
And look at this amazing verse:
... a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel. (Luke 2:32)
This was spoken of Yahshua at His dedication in the Temple. Then in John 14:21, Yahshua said,
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him. (John 14:21)
So you can see that light is revelation, but apart from obedience to Yahshua's commandments, He will not reveal Himself to anyone. There will be no revelation, and the light will go out.
Look at the interaction between Peter and Yahshua in Matthew 16:
Simon Peter replied, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:16-18)
Contrary to popular thought, the rock that the Messiah was going to found His church upon was not Peter himself, but upon the revelation he received as a result of recognizing and obeying the Son of God:
Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)
The church was founded on the revelation that comes from hearing and obeying, and Revelation 2:4-5 ties it all together:
Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)
Therefore, since the light is revelation, and since obedience is necessary for revelation, and since the church in Ephesus fell away from obedience to the command to love one another as Yahshua had loved them (John 13:34-35; Ephesians 6:24), their light went out. A form of godliness remained, but it ceased to be a place where they could do the works that build up the Body of Messiah. This brings us back to Yahshua's prophecy in John 9:4, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work."
As history makes really clear, the warning in Revelation 2:4-5 did not result in repentance, therefore the lampstand was taken away, and all that remained was a form of godliness -- words and rituals, but no revelation. Instead, there were things like the Council of Nicea, where the bishops bickered concerning doctrines. There was no love, no revelation from the Holy Spirit, since not one bit of it was "the wisdom from above" --
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17-18)
It is no coincidence that the centuries following are called the Dark Ages. And so it has been for the past 1900 years. There have been many "reformations" and "revivals" but no obedience to the Messiah's commandment to love one another the way He loved, therefore the light of revelation has been absent.
You probably don't want to judge, but perhaps you have wondered about the lack of obedience in the churches. They may have a lot to say about points of doctrine, but their way of life is not substantially different from the world around them. But the true church, which is the Body of Messiah, is described in 1 Peter 2:9, which is the "city" of Matthew 5:14.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
You are the light of the world; a city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
The light of the world is a body of people who all have revelation from the Holy Spirit, which causes them to become just like their Master Yahshua when He was on the earth:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:14-15)
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)
Those who truly love Yahshua with all their heart and all their soul are not under the Law, but they fulfill the Law. They accomplish their purpose: to be a city set on a hill that gives light to all those around.
Our Master Yahshua now has such disciples on the earth again! The long 1900-year night is over. It is now possible do the works that build up the Body of Messiah (Ephesians 4:15-16), since there is now a real Body to build up! We are calling you to come out of the darkness of Christianity and into the marvelous light that is emerging in a few places on this dark planet! Those places are listed in the back of this freepaper.