The Heavenly Bodies Made to Give Light and to Serve as Signs. Part 1 of 3

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

May 17, 2013

Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe

PART: I GENERAL HISTORY FROM ADAM TO ABRAHAM—Gen. 1:1-11:9.
Topic #A: An Account of Creation. Gen. 1:1-2:7.

Lesson I.A.5: The Heavenly Bodies Made to Give Light and to Serve as Signs.


Gen. 1:14-19. (KJV)

14 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:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
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.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 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.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.


Commentary

14 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 God said,
This is the history of the fourth day's work; the creati0n of the sun, moon, and stars to serve as lights. God created these bodies in the sky, and assigned them several functions to benefit mankind: to make the distinction between day and night, to serve as indicators that would enable them to distinguish between the two divisions of the twenty-four hour day; to serve as signs for men to use in navigation, to create and regulate the ocean's tides; and to be the means of measuring time in hours, days, months and years and creating the calendar of the world in general. This should be enough to fill us with praise and thanksgiving. Ancient Job mentions this as a demonstration of the glorious power of God—“that by the Spirit he hath garnished the heavens…” (Job 26:13; KJV)—and here we have an account of that garnishing which is not only the beauty of the upper world, but also the great blessing of this lower world.

Day four begins the second half of the creative week, whose works have a striking likeness to the labors of the first day. The Creator having eliminated the original chaos and perfected the four fundamental elements of light, air, water, and land, begins a second series of operations, in which He places light permanently in the sun, and fills the water with fish and the air with birds and the land with animals, and then in His final creative act, he makes a man and a woman.

Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;
Since the atmosphere has been completely purified, the sun, moon, and stars were for the first time unveiled in all their glory in the cloudless sky; and they are described as “in the firmament” which they appear to be to the eye, although we know they are really a great distances from it. They are actually in the upper part of it, which we have designated the starry heavens. Some commentators, both Jewish and Christian, and even modern astronomers, believe that they appeared at this time, but had been formed on the first day. They presume they did not shine out as clearly and visibly as they do now, on the fourth day: this theory assumes that the body of fire and light produced on the first day was now distributed and formed into the sun, moon, and an infinite number of stars. The firmament itself is spoken of as having a brightness of its own—“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan 12:3; KJV)—but this was not sufficient to give light to the earth and perhaps for this reason it is not expressly said of the second day's work, in which the firmament was made, that it was good, because, until it was adorned with these lights on the fourth day, it had not become helpful to man.

God had created the light on day one, but now He establishes a new order in nature by making the sun the dispenser of cyclic daylight, and the moon and stars shining by night, so there would be alternating periods of day and night. He teaches us by this arrangement that all creation is subject to his will; because Moses reports nothing else than

that God created these heavenly bodies by merely speaking; “And God said, Let there be lights.”

“Let there be lights,” are lights that are more magnificent than that created on the first day, having by now been condensed and reduced into these lights; which are higher in the heavens, more illustrious for light, and more powerful and influential, than that which was at first. It is important to note that herbs and trees were created before the sun, but now the sun is necessary for their life and production of fruit and leaves, and this shows that God does not depend upon help from any part of His creation.

There should not be any objections arise from the moon being a reflective body; since Moses does not say it is a luminous one; any more than a lamp or chandelier is luminous in itself, though it is the instrument of holding or diffusing light.

“To divide the day from the night” refers to the artificial day, which begins at the rising of the sun and ends at its setting. This is different from the natural day, which lasts twenty-four hours and includes the night in itself. Hence, the implication is that the interchange of days and nights will be repeated continually: because the God, who determined that the days should be distinct from the nights, directs the action of the sun and the earth until time ceases to exist.

and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
That is, for "signs" of good and bad weather; for the times of ploughing, sowing, reaping; for the "seasons" of summer and winter, spring, and autumn; for hours and days by the rotation of the earth on its axis for the space of twenty-four hours; and for "years" by movement of the earth around the sun for the space of three hundred sixty five days and some odd hours.

The child of God must bear in mind, that Moses does not speak philosophically of occult mysteries, but relates those things which are readily observable and well known today. These things are taught to children, and have been proven by science.

The question may be asked, “Why does Moses call them signs?” Perhaps, it was because certain people abused this passage, such as the ancient Egyptians did in order to give emphasis to their frivolous predictions. I call those who pretend to deduce everything from the position of the stars fakes and fortunetellers who hate God, and want to take credit for things only God can know. Because Moses declares that the sun and moon were designated by God to be used as signs, they think they are entitled to elicit from them anything they please. But this is easy to refute, because they are called signs of certain things, not signs to represent whatever it is that suits their fancy. Moses asserts that the only things to be signified by them are those things belonging to the order of nature? The same God who decrees here that they are for signs testifies through Isaiah that he “frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad” (Isaiah 44:25; NKJV); and forbids us to be “dismayed at the signs of heaven. (Jer 10:2; NKJV).

The lights of heaven are made to serve us, and they do it faithfully, but we are set as lights in this world to serve God, but are we faithful to the purpose of our creation? No, we are not, our light does not shine before God as His lights shine before us—“You are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14; NKJV).

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

It is good, I think, to repeat what I have said before, that Moses did not intend to kick off a philosophical discussion on how great the sun is, and how great, or how little the moon is, or even how much light comes to us from them; rather, Moses here speaks to our senses, so that we do not lose the knowledge of the gifts of God which we now enjoy. Therefore, in order to understand the meaning of Moses, it is not necessary to soar above the heavens; we only need to open our eyes to behold this light which God ignites for us who live on the earth.

It is the function of the heavenly light-producing-bodies, to send us light, either their own or that reflected by them; to be light-bearers for the earth. No sooner had God spoken than it was done; because it was not an ordinary work that He did, but an act of creation.

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