The concert hall was buzzing with the hushed voices of thousands of people anxious to hear the evening’s performance by the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. My wife and I looked forward to another extraordinary concert. We were not to be disappointed.
One piece in particular was especially good. I remember hearing early in the introduction an interesting and unique tune which was further developed throughout the piece as it was played on various instruments. Then at the end the theme came into play again, bringing a lovely conclusion to this masterful piece.
In a similar fashion woven throughout the Bible, from the very beginning to the very end, we find the concept of light in various manifestations.
It is the first thing we read about in the creation story. “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).
Then at the end, in the very last chapter of the Bible, we find that in heaven God Himself will be the only source of light. “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light” (Revelation 22:5).
Just as there are various meanings for the word today, “light” is used many ways in Scripture. One consistent use of the word is in reference to God. For instance, in the Old Testament we are told, “The LORD is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1); “the light of Your countenance” (Psalm 44:3); and the prophet Isaiah wrote, “a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy” (Isaiah 9:2-3). “The LORD will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8); “His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden” (Habakkuk 3:4). Also, the Shekinah glory of God in the Holy of Holies was a supernatural light that appeared on the mercy seat, or atonement cover (Exodus 40:35).
Consider how often light is involved when God reveals Himself to man. God revealed Himself to Moses through the light of a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-4). In this instance God used the relatively dim light of fire in the form of a burning bush to reveal His brilliance to Moses because the extreme brightness of God who is light is far too intense for man to look upon. Later we read, “Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him” (Exodus 34:29-30, see also 2 Corinthians 3:7-8). Even having seen only the back of God (Exodus 33:23), Moses was so radiant that others could not look at him!
God used the light of fire to proclaim His presence on many occasions. A pillar of fire was used to guide the nation of Israel at night (Exodus 13:21-22). On Mount Sinai God descended upon the children of Israel with fire (Exodus 19:18). God sent fire to consume Elijah’s offering on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:38-39). Ezekiel was given a vision of fire to warn of coming judgment (Ezekiel 1:27). And God used fire at the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-3). God often used the light of fire as a visual manifestation of His presence.
Another example of God revealing Himself in the form of light is seen in the New Testament account of Saul’s conversion, where God’s appearance was in the form of a bright light, resulting in the temporary blindness of Paul (Acts 9:3-9).
Additional examples of God as light in Scripture include: “You are resplendent with light” (Psalm 76:4 NIV). “Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment” (Psalm 104:2). “They looked to Him and were radiant” (Psalm 34:5). “He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations ... May His name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun” (Psalm 72:5, 17 NIV).
In the sixth chapter of Isaiah we read of the seraphim, a special type of angel. They are in the presence of God, extolling His holiness. The glory of God is so bright that Isaiah says the seraphim cover their faces with two of their six wings. Like man, the seraphim are created beings, and therefore the brightness of His glory is too much for them to observe.
This is not an exhaustive list of the Scriptures that show a relationship between God and light.
In heaven we will dwell with God, who is light, and we will then fully understand all the intricacies of both physical and spiritual light.
Sunlight / Sonlight
Sunlight is woven throughout our physical existence. Without physical light there would be no life on earth.
Sonlight is woven throughout the written Word of God. Without an understanding of the God who is light and acceptance of His Word and His work on our behalf, there is no spiritual life.
THINK AND GROW
1. When you read the words, “God is light,” what is the first attribute of God you think of?
2. What attributes of physical light can you identify that are fitting pictures of God?
3. The Bible has much to say about the Shekinah glory of God. For example, look up Exodus 40:35, Leviticus 16:2, 1 Kings 8:10, 2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalm 80:1, Isaiah 37:16, and Ezekiel 9:3. What do these verses tell you about God light and John’s statement that “God is light”?
4. Look up Exodus 13:21-22 and Acts 9:3, 8-9, 18, 27; 22:6, 11; and 26:13. What relevance do these verses have with respect to Sonlight?