Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #18 of Genesis, chapter 1 and we are going to read Genesis 1:14-18:
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
I will stop reading there. Notice that God said He made two great lights. Then He refers to a greater light that ruled the day and a lesser light that ruled the night. He does not directly refer to the sun and moon here, for some reason. I am not sure why. Of course, we know that it is the sun that is the greater light and the moon that is the lesser light. There is another Scripture that will show that this is what is in view, but I just thought I would mention that God does not call them “sun” and “moon.”
Another thing for us to notice is that the word “lights” and “light” is the Hebrew word, Strong’s #3974. It is a different word than was used earlier where God made the “light” and said, “Let there be light.” The Hebrew word in verse 16 is Strong’s #3974 and it is found only 17 times in the Old Testament; it is found three times in verses 14 through 16 and it is found 10 times in relationship to “oil” for the light of the lamp or the candlestick in the temple. For instance, it says in Exodus 27:20:
And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
This is one example of how this word is used 10 of the 17 times. The light in the temple that was to burn daily was a picture of the light of the Gospel or the light of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. When the Book of Daniel makes reference to the abomination of desolation being set up, it speaks of the “daily” being taken away. It is referring to the “light” of the Gospel or the “oil” that was to continue burning in the lamps of the temple. It was an illustration of the Spirit of God being in the midst of His people, whether it was Israel in the Old Testament or the churches and congregations of the New Testament. So this is interesting that God uses this particular Hebrew word to describe the light of the greater light and the lesser light when He created the celestial bodies. One of the reason God does this is that the “sun, moon and stars” relate to the light of the Gospel and the light of the Gospel stays lit by the Holy Spirit – the “oil” maintains the light. As long as the light of the Gospel was in the midst of the churches, the “sun” was shining and the “moon” gave its light, but when God brought judgment upon the churches, then the third part of the sun, moon and stars were darkened, as it says in Revelation, chapter 8, which indicated that the Holy Spirit was no longer keeping the light burning.
When God brought the world into judgment, how did He indicate it? He indicated in Matthew 24:29:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven…The “oil” of the Holy Spirit is what enlightens the spiritual lights of the heaven. It is really an illustration of God’s salvation program. When the lights go dark to the world, it signals that the Holy Spirit has left the world insofar as salvation is concerned.
Another thing we want to notice is the word “rule.” It says in Genesis 1:16:
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
This word “rule” is also in Psalm 136:7-9:
To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for his mercy *endureth* for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
We have to be careful with the phrase that says God’s mercy endureth forever. It means that God’s salvation is an eternal salvation. The fact that He has saved a people for Himself means that His mercy endures forever, in that sense. Look at Psalm 136:15: “But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.” It certainly cannot be said that God was displaying any mercy toward Pharaoh or the Egyptians that were overthrown, but His mercy still endures forever upon His elect, so this is what is in view in each of the verse refrains in this chapter. In our time, God has ended His salvation program and He has ceased to do the work of salvation because He has completed it and, yet, His mercy endureth forever because He has saved a people for Himself and He will show forth His mercy upon them eternally. They will be the recipients of the mercy of God for evermore. It is a beautiful truth that is true of God’s salvation program toward those He has saved.
Again, it says: “The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night.” The word translated as “rule” is also translated as “dominion” in 1Kings 9:19:
And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.It was all the land of his “dominion” or all the land of his rule. He was a king that ruled over a vast kingdom that was under his dominion or rule. The “sun” rules the day. The “moon” rules the night. The greater light rules the day and the lesser light rules the night.
As we return to Genesis, chapter 1, we see that God is making a division in Genesis 1:14, “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night.” And in verse 18, He also divides, as it says in Genesis 1:18: “And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.” When we look at the Bible, we find that God speaks of a time period that He identifies as the “day of salvation,” the acceptable time or the acceptable year and it refers to the prolonged period of time when God was saving. Actually, salvation was available from Abel all the way to the time God shut the door of heaven on May 21, 2011. Outside of a few other short periods in which virtually no one was being saved, the light of the Gospel shone forth and Christ ruled the “day” and His light penetrated the darkness for His elect people for generation after generation.
The Bible also speaks of a time when the “night” would come. The Lord Jesus said in the Gospel of John that there were twelve hours in the work day and He must do the work of the one that sent Him while it was “day.” It is the work of God that you believe; it is the work of salvation done by God and God likens it to being performed over the course of a twelve-hour day, the last hour of which typified the Great Tribulation period. Then came the end of the work day or the end of salvation and the “night” came, spiritually. Christ then came as a thief in the night, the night in which no man (Christ) can work. In Genesis, chapter 1, God is establishing that it is not a time when there is not “rule” or when there is not the “dominion” of God, but it is the “lesser light” that rules the night. We understand the night to point to Judgment Day, which we have learned is a prolonged period of time. It began on May 21, 2011 and, at this point, we would have to say we do not know the exact duration that Judgment Day will be, but we do know that the Lord Jesus Christ is ruling with a rod of iron over the unsaved inhabitants of the earth. Let us go to Revelation, chapter 19. Keep in mind that the Bible likens the “sun” to the Lord Jesus Christ and He likens the “moon” to the Law of God, the Bible. It is the Word of God. They are synonymous and the moon represents the Word of God. In Revelation, chapter 19 God describes Judgment Day and He speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 19:13-15:
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword…
According to Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.” Of course, when it says a sword goes out of His mouth, it refers to the Word of God. Then it goes on to say in Revelation 19:15:
…that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
So Jesus is ruling. The Word of God is ruling in the Day of Judgment or in the “night” time in which no man can work. When Christ came as a thief in the night He rules the nations with a rod of iron and that “rod of iron” is also a reference to the Word of God. The Law of God or the “moon” rules the night.
So right from the beginning God describes the creation of this world. On the fourth day when God made the “sun, moon and stars” He established two lights, with the greater light to rule the day. Jesus Christ would rule all the while God was saving and there was the lesser light to rule the night because during Judgment Day the light of the Gospel has been put out. Yes, God says the light of the moon has been put out, but on another level it is the Word of God that is executing the judgment. The judgment information is coming forth from the Bible, so the lesser light is ruling during the night, the period in which God is pouring out His wrath upon the unsaved inhabitants of the earth.