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  • Writer's pictureTim Hemingway

The Gift of God's Light


 

"There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:5


The angel at the end of John's revelation shows him a new garden of eden - a glorious city. Like Eden, it has a river - this one flows from the throne of God (22:1). Like Eden, which had Gold and Onyx near by, this city has golden streets and walls of precious stones (21:19-21). Like Eden, God calls his people to serve - in this case as kings and priests (22:3,5). Unlike Eden, there is nothing impure or deceitful here (21:27). Unlike Eden, God's presence endures here for ever - no banishment (21:3). Unlike Eden, here the tree of life is always available for food and for healing (22:2). Unlike Eden, there is no curse (22:3). Like Eden, there will be close and abiding fellowship with God, where his face will be seen and where his name will be ours (22:4).


This is the state of the future new heavens and new earth, wherein will dwell righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). But even here, where we will have everything we will ever need, the Lord our God will not stop giving. Even here he will provide for us freely. Verse 5 says he will give his people light. Not light from a great ball of burning gas, but light from his very being (21:23). Whilst the sun is our source of light here and now, there his glory will be so apparent, so visible, so tangible that the emanating glory of his majesty and being will be enough to provide constant light for us all for ever and ever.


This is like what we see in the creation account of Genesis. There, in verse 2 the earth was empty and darkness was over the surface of the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. But it's not until the fourth day of the creation account that God makes the lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night. And it says that God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.

So, before God made the great light to govern the day (the sun) there was light - the light of his own countenance (Numbers 6:25) and it illuminated the world!


In the old order God did make a sun, in the new order there won't be one according to Revelation 22:5 which might seem alarming, and perhaps disappointing too. Revelation is a hard book to understand and is often talking in figurative terms, but let's say that Revelation 22:5 really means there won't be a sun in the new heavens and earth. If that's the case, we can be confident that God's own light will be infinitely more impressive than the very best sun rise we have ever seen. He will give his exquisite light without end, and it will never, ever be boring.


Here's how the psalmist put it:


For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

the Lord bestows favor and honor;

no good thing does he withhold

from those whose walk is blameless.


That is the nature of this gift of the eternal light of his glory: it is forever good for us!

 

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