Light, Glorious Light!
“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23).”
“A dark dread fell over the land.” When we read such words in literature we understand what they are striving to convey, for we sometimes feel this way about our present life. At times, the future that lies before us seems shadowed and threatening. Darkness seems to envelop our hearts as we watch the life of one we love slowly fade to black as they slip from us. My father, who has had a brilliant mind, now struggles to communicate to me his present world as he ages. He often says, “my mind is growing very dim.”
Because we know what it means for darkness to overwhelm us, we are meant to rejoice when we hear the news of Revelation 21:23. There may or may not be a literal sun and moon in the new creation, these words do not require their absence. The point being made here is that “God’s glory is incomparable in relation to any source of light in either the old or new creation. God’s glory is sufficient to make the city (= the saints) resplendent (Greg Beale in the NIGTC commentary on Revelation).”
The light-giving sources of sun and moon are absolutely essential for our life and prosperity in this world where we still know God’s presence in a limited fashion. Yet what is announced in this text is that in our eternity future, God’s complete presence among his people is what will satisfy our every need. Those who are my contemporaries will likely know well the opening words to a song by Journey: “When the lights go down in the city.” Thanks be to God that this will never be said of our eternal city. One day all the gloomy darkness we know in this life will fade away in the presence of the glory of our Lord!