THE GREAT LIGHTS
In the vast universe no two heavenly bodies influence the earth more than the sun and the moon. The sun makes life possible on earth and keeps it habitable, while the moon keeps us company at night waxing and waning monthly like clockwork, each phase taking about one week. The earth and life upon it respond to them in a kind of measurable rhythm. One rotation of earth equals a day. The earth faces the sun during the day, and we are warmed by it. Plants are fed by its rays so they can thrive. We accomplish most of our work in the light of day, knowing night inexorably comes when the shining stars and moon march across the sky. The cycles and rhythms of the heavens advance our seasons like clockwork. Spring, summer, fall, and winter our lives are governed by the seasons. We sow and reap year by year to sustain life.
Nature’s rhythms are also governed by the sun and the moon and the forces they exert on the earth. Ocean tides, migrating birds, and sea creatures work in clock-like precision set in time to the sun and moon. Plant life buds in spring, flourishes all summer to die in autumn, and lie dormant in the winter. It is all as sure and predictable as the calendar hanging on the wall, so sure that our watches and clocks are set to it, history is recorded by it, and the future is anticipated. But what about the future? Has a future been determined by the same Great Power that sustains the universe? Is it all just a never-ending cycle, or is there a purpose to it? Where does man fit in? Is there hope for mankind?
The hope for mankind is absolutely sure, as sure as the rising of tomorrow’s sun. God has designed creation to help us see and understand His thoughts. But proper understanding can only come when creation is viewed through the lens of the Bible. King David’s words in Psalm 19:1-6 will set the stage for our fascinating study of “The Great Lights.” “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” So the rhythms of the heavens proclaim God’s glory in a sort of cosmic speech that reveals knowledge to anyone the world over who wants to understand. This fantastic knowledge is available to anyone willing to believe and obey God’s word, the Bible. Continue reading David’s words in verses 7 through 12. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold… Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” Apart from God’s word and His help we cannot grasp the meaning and significance of life or creation. To understand is more valuable than fine gold. Now we will look to the heavens to hear their speech clearly and discern the glory of God and the hidden knowledge that gives us hope.
David realized in Psalm 19 that what takes place day after day in the heavens is relevant to mankind. It is so relevant that he was thrilled to understand and would not trade it for fine gold. God’s knowledge was not just for King David, Moses, or the apostles learning at Christ’s feet. It is for all of us now at this particular junction in history. For the last six thousand years the vast majority of mankind has lived in darkness. That is now about to change as we approach a great climax in God’s plan!
What is darkness? Is it not night? And light, is it not the day? We discovered in Digest 2 that in the beginning of creation week God separated light from dark. The world had been plunged into darkness and had become a wasted ruin in God’s eyes. On the fourth day of creation week, God decided to activate the timing of His plan. Remember, the sun and the moon had been around long before creation week. Their significance had only been physical until Genesis 1. On the fourth day God gave them spiritual relevance, and this is what David saw when he looked up into the heavens. Let us read Genesis 1:14-16. “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth;’ And it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.”
We need to realize, like David, that something far beyond physical time keeping was being set in motion. From day four of creation week the plan of God began to roll forward, unstoppable and sure as the rising sun. “Like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.”
The great lights are nothing less than the timing device to keep track of where we are in a six thousand year time of darkness until Christ liberates mankind from the oppressor, Satan. That is why John the Baptist called Christ the Bridegroom in John 3:29. “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” Christ also refers to Himself as the Bridegroom in Luke 5:34-35. “And He said to them, ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.’” In Revelation 1:16 Christ the Revelator is described this way, “…and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”
The world soon has a rendezvous with this Christ who shines like the sun. This scheduled meeting is an event to look forward to with eager anticipation. This is when six thousand years of darkness shall end, and peace shall reign throughout the earth. The following Scriptures prove this point clearly.
Malachi 4:2, “But to you who fear My name the SUN of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.”
Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the SON of Man be.” Hence the sun is like a bridegroom traversing the sky east to west. Now it is true, no man can know the day or the hour, as we are told in Matthew 24:36. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” But we are to know the season. Matthew 16:2-3. “He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red”; and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.’” We can determine the season by God’s great lights.
Since Christ is represented by the sun, who is represented by the other great light, the moon? Physically we know that the moon’s light is not of itself. It is the reflected light of the sun. Just the same way, Christ’s spiritual light and truth are reflected by people. Let’s look at a couple of scriptures from Psalms and then some of Christ’s words.
Psalms 43:3 “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.”
Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
Psalm 37:6 “He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
Now we can better understand Christ in Matthew 5:1-10 when He describes those who are blessed in His sight: the poor, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers. These are the people who reflect His light. Then He adds in verses 11-14, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.”
The prophets of the Old Testament and those who follow in their footsteps reflecting Christ’s way of life comprise the other great light. They are a type of the moon shining in the night. God has been working through imperfect people for almost six thousand years. People do not always reflect His light, and that is why the physical moon goes through phases in the sky. We can see it wax and wane each month, sometimes fully reflecting the sun’s light and sometimes not at all. Abraham, Moses, David and the apostles all let God down from time to time diminishing their brightness. Some prophets, such as Solomon, may have gone completely dark after having shone brightly.
Remember the sun shall rule the day and the moon shall rule the night for signs and seasons. The moon has been trying to reflect God’s light through six thousand years of darkness. We can prove this in an interesting way by reading the description of Christ’s first coming in John 1:1-5. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Christ, therefore, came in the darkness; and while He was dwelling with mankind, it was day.
Compare Christ’s words in John 9:4-5. “I 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.” Therefore we can see the SUN, the SON dwelt with us. He also told us in Matthew 5 that those who reflect His way of life and love are also a light to the world. John 14:15 and 21 tell us how to love God and reflect His light. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” “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 manifest Myself to him.” Future Digests will cover the commandments and how important they are, but for now we want to connect them back to creation week.
Exodus 20:8 spells out the fourth commandment. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work…for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This brings us right back to creation week at the end of which God rested. Keeping the Sabbath day puts us on God’s schedule, which is vital to comprehend signs and seasons. Moses was given the law at the right time and season during the course of this six thousand years. Christ Himself came the first time at the correct time and season during the six thousand years of darkness. It is interesting to note that Christ came four thousand years after creation week, which is also two thousand years ago from our point in time. This accurately fits into a seven thousand year plan of God, the first six thousand of which mankind dwells in darkness. Each one thousand year period equals a day of the creation week. A few more Scriptures will help us see this point.
Psalm 90:4 says, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”
II Peter 3:8-9 confirms this concept. “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance.”
An interesting point to note is that just as darkness preceded light in Genesis, so six thousand years of darkness precede Christ’s second coming. Also with God, the beginning of a day is sunset, not sunrise. God marks the day from evening to evening. He is very consistent.
The first six thousand years are each as a watch in the night during which God has used a few people for His purposes. These people have suffered greatly in order to live His way, record His word, and point the way for us. God has not been slack in making us wait so long for Christ’s second coming, but in His mind He knew this much time would be needed to maximize salvation for mankind. The delay is actually an act of love and mercy.
Ancient Israel was told they could labor six days and rest on the seventh like God did in Genesis. This portrayed what God would do over the next seven thousand years. The Sabbath and the holy days, which are called High Sabbaths, were given to Moses at specific times in the year. The dates were to be calculated by the moon, marking off months from the beginning of the year onward. In Exodus 12:2 God tells Moses in the month of the first Passover, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Month means “new moons” and is number 2320 in the Strong’s Concordance. There are four phases of the moon in a month, each lasting about a week. There are three special seasons in God’s year: Passover season, Pentecost (the spring harvest season) and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Ingathering) of the great fall harvest season. Why is it important to understand these seasons? When Christ does return, all mankind will have to come to agreement on matters of religion. There will be no more wars in the name of God, no more sectarian violence pitting one faith against another, and no more terrorism in the name of God. All weapons will be changed to useful purposes. All of this can only be done when everyone gets on the same page, worshipping God in the same way and at the same time. This will bring such wonderful peace to the earth and do away with the massive religious confusion we see today.
It may seem a little late, but let us define signs and seasons as used in Genesis 1. We can now better appreciate the tremendous love and the mighty intellect of the God who has fabricated such an awesome plan.
SIGNS number 226 equals a signal, literal or figurative as a beacon, omen, evidence. From number 225 in a sense of appearing, something to come.
SEASONS number 4150 an appointment, a fixed time or season, festival, assembly of the congregation, a place of meeting beforehand. From number 3259 to meet or summon for an engagement, (for marriage).
The definitions say it all. The great lights mark off spiritual time, pointing ahead to fixed appointments as evidence of something to come. That something is an assembly of the congregation of God summoned to meet the bridegroom, Jesus Christ. We have passed many important milestones over the last six thousand years, some of which are to be commemorated on a weekly basis (like the Sabbath) or annually (like the seasonal holy days). We are now entering the season in which Christ will return. Why not start early making ready for this awesome event by getting on the same page as God, by utilizing His revealed word in the pages of the Bible. Keep reading the Digest, and you will soon know how to keep track of the days God says are important to Him. You can also go to our website: www.thebeautifulthoughtsofgod.com and learn more. You, too, will more fully appreciate the great lights and become a point of light for the world around you.
HOW TO CONTACT US
Great Lakes Church of God
P.O. Box 77
Newberry, MI 49868
Great Lakes Church of God
2672 Turondale Road
Turondale, NSW 2795
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The source for the Hebrew and Greek words in this book and their meanings is The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, Copyright © 1995 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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