Covenant Compendium #6
Guest Blogger: Pastor Justin Wallick
Genesis 1:14-19 – “And, God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And, let them be for signs and festival seasons, and days and years. 15 And, let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.’ And, it was so. 16 And, God made the two great lights: the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night and the stars. 17 And, God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night and to separate the light from the darkness. And, God saw that it was good. 19 And, there was evening, and there was morning, the fourth day.”
The next section in this, the first chapter of Genesis, focuses on the next three days of creation. The first three days, God organized His creation by separating (light-darkness, waters below-waters above, waters-dry land). God spent the next three days filling.
The focus of this post is on the Fourth Day when God put the lights in the heavens. He created these lights (or heavenly bodies) to function as the “separators” of the light and darkness. As we learned on the First Day, God is the source of light as it comes from His glory-cloud. His created light-bearers only reflect light that He provides.
The greater light, the sun, would reflect light during the daytime. The lesser light, the moon, reflects the light during the night. The absence of the greater light from the sun is the reason for the darkness at night.
Darkness is the absence of light. In the beginning, darkness was not the ideal. God addressed that by His Word (speaking into creation) and His Spirit (hovering over creation). The Word spoke “Let there be light.” The Spirit hovered over creation to drive away the darkness. Light pushes away darkness.
When the sun sets, the greater light-bearer is no longer reflecting God’s light on that part of His creation. He still provides light by reflecting upon the lesser light-bearer. This light also waxes and wanes (to be addressed soon).
God created the sun, moon, and stars for more than separating through light-reflecting. They also served as signs (symbols). Creation teaches us about God. We are to read it like a book. The heavenly bodies teach us. What do they teach us? Governing.
God’s next purpose for these great lights was for governing. He created the sun to govern the day. He created the moon to govern the night. We can look at how these great lights govern and learn more about God’s creation. We should not be surprised that God used the sun, moon, and stars to teach His people prophetically.
When Joseph explained his second dream to his family (Genesis 37:9-11), they immediately understood that the sun and moon were symbols (or signs) for his parents. And, the stars were symbols for the brothers.
God later sent prophetic messages using the signs of sun, moon, and stars. Like Joseph’s family, the people had to understand God’s message by understanding the signs (Isaiah 13:10; Matthew 24:29; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:12). Even today, we use these symbols to represent government and nations. Look at the flags of the world and see how many feature a sun or moon. How many have stars? What do these signs represent? Governing bodies and leaders.
The sun, moon, and stars also governed festival seasons. Israel’s festivals (or feast days) were governed by the lunar calendar. God’s people would have more time for joyful celebrations with a full moon lighting up the night contrasted with a quarter moon or even no moon. The people’s daily lives revolved around religious celebrations. The moon governed their religious lives.
The sun also teaches us by governing days and years. Each day is 24 hours long, which is how long it takes for the earth to turn completely around on its axis. Each year is approximately 365 ¼ days long. This is how long it takes for the earth to make one revolution around the sun.
In summary, God reveals His truth and His glory in creation. We respond in faith by interpreting creation by His truth. We see what He put in the heavens, praise Him for it, and grow in understanding that He has a purpose for doing so. He put the sun, moon, and stars to fill creation with light and to separate the light from darkness. And, He teaches us about governing and nation-states.
Justin R. Wallick is Pastor of Hamlin Reformed Church in Castlewood, SD