CDPCKL · Building a House For God: the Light-Keepers’ Clothing (Exodus 27:20-28:43)

Building a House For God: the Light-Keepers’ Clothing (Exodus 27:20-28:43)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, the raw materials he was going to use to shape the earth into a house where he could live with his creation. 

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, the light of his spoken Word. And through his Word God separated the light from the darkness. And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day. 

Then God took the unformed earth and separated it from the rest of the universe: he shaped it into a self-contained building with a floor still covered with water, and a vaulted roof. And there was evening, and there was morning — the second day. 

Then God got to work inside the house that is the earth: he gathered the waters under the sky to one place, and let dry ground appear, and let the land produce vegetation. And there was evening, and there was morning — the third day. 

Then, for the fourth day of creation, God went back to the beginning, back to the first day when he first spoke light into the universe. But this time he installed lights in the roof of his earthly house: the stars and planets, the sun and moon. And these lights had two jobs: they were to govern the day and the night, and also to serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years. 

In other words, on the fourth day God went back and filled the light and the darkness from the first day with living creatures. And as creatures, those lights in the sky were given responsibilities. On one hand, they rule over the separation between light and darkness; on the other hand, their ruling actually serves a more humble purpose: to mark sacred times, and days and years. 

In short: the heavenly lights were put in place as mediators of God’s original light, God’s original spoken Word. They rule by taking God’s wildly creative light from beyond the roof of the earth, and then focusing that light through themselves into the house that is the earth, thus serving by using that light to bring a sacred rhythm and order to the earth. 

Then, for the fifth day, God went back to the second day when he shaped the earth into a giant building with oceans still covering the floor, and a vaulted sky above. And God said, “Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 

In other words, on the fifth day God went back and filled the oceans and the skies of the second day with living creatures. And these living creatures were also given responsibilities. They do not rule the seas and the skies — they are a different order of creature than the stars that rule over light and darkness — but they are told to increase in number and fill the water and the skies. 

Then, for the sixth day of creation, God went back to the third day, when he gathered the waters under the sky to one place, and let dry ground appear, and let the land produce vegetation. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds.” 

In other words, on the sixth day God went back and filled the land from the third day with living creatures. But just like the sea- and the air-creatures, the land creatures are not called to rule their environment, merely fill it. 

Which raises a question in the mind of the discerning first-time reader: God has installed rulers in the sky itself to regulate the day and the night. But who is supposed to rule over the creatures of the sea, the skies, and the land? 

Well, if you are familiar with Genesis, Chapter 1, you know that those questions are quickly answered. 

Before the sixth day was over, God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 

In other words, after God had finished putting all the other elements of his earthly house in place, then he created mankind a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor, and made him ruler over his house, the mediator of God’s light, God’s Word, to all the creatures of the earth. 

Now, those of you who have been worshiping with us over the last few weeks already know why we have started our sermon back in Genesis, even though our passage today comes from the middle of Exodus. And that is because God’s instructions to Moses about how to build a tabernacle — a sacred tent for God — have been deliberately arranged to follow the pattern God himself followed in the original creation. 

And since, as of last week, God has just finished putting all the basic elements of his tabernacle in place, it is time to answer a question that might occur to the mind of the discerning first-time reader: who is supposed to “rule” over this tabernacle? Who is supposed take care of God’s earthly house? 

So now we pick up where we left off in Chapter 27, where God goes on to say: [20] “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. [21] In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.” 

So in this new re-creation story, Aaron — who is Moses’ older brother, by the way — is the new “mankind” made in God’s image on the sixth day. 

And that is the answer to our question: Aaron and his sons after him are the ones who have been given the responsibility to rule, to regulate the running of God’s house. 

And just like the stars in the original creation, Aaron and his sons have been called to rule by serving: their job is to separate the day from the night by tending the seven lamps inside the tabernacle. 

And this part is so intuitively obvious that really it should not need to be said, but in our day and age it really does need to be said because it is no longer intuitive for us: when Aaron and his sons did this, they were following the natural rhythms of the heavenly lights. They did not decide for themselves when it was day and when it was night. That was God’s decision, that was God’s rhythm of light and darkness, a sacred rhythm and order that God communicates to creation through the heavenly lights. It was Aaron’s job to watch the sky and say, “Oh, look boys, the sun is going down. It is time to light the lamps! Oh, look, the sun is rising. Time to put them out.” 

I will say it again: Aaron and his sons were created to rule by serving. It was not their job to make the rules; it was their job to follow the rules already put into place by God. The general rhythm of light and darkness has been revealed to all mankind; everyone can see the sunrise and the sunset, and as a result everyone knows that there must be a Creator — we call that general revelation. But the question of how mankind is supposed to respond to the rhythm of light and darkness — the question of how mankind is suppose to respond to the reality that there must be a Creator — that part comes only through a special, spoken revelation, which is what Aaron and his sons are receiving at this point: specific instructions from God. 

God is saying, “This is how I want you to respond to the evenings and the mornings: when the sun is in the sky, declaring the reality of my glory to all creation, you do not need to light the lamps. But when the sun is gone, light the lamps. That way my people will know that my glory is actually closest to you in the times when all the rest of the earth is plunged into darkness and shadow.” 

Now, there is another thing here that is so intuitively obvious that really it should not need to be said…but in our day and age we had better make sure to say this explicitly: Aaron did not choose himself. He did not ordain himself as priest over God’s people — God did that. Which definitely becomes clear as God continues his instructions: 

[1] “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests.” 

God does the choosing. 

But God’s people are called to respond to that choice — in this case by making sacred garments: 

[2] Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. [3] Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. 

The job of ruling the people by being the chief follower of God’s rules is a special calling. And in those days the best way to signal a person’s special role in society was by giving them special clothing. Even today we have some understanding of this: we know that when we see someone wearing a uniform of some kind that they are serving in some specific capacity in our society. 

So, to summarise this section here: God chooses who will be his priests; but he also wants his people to recognize those priests, to acknowledge them and their role as chief followers of God’s Word, as first and foremost the Keepers of the Light. 


Now, for this next section, we are not going to go through all this detail by detail — partly for the sake of time, but even more because all these details do not actually tell us very much. Every drawing you have ever seen of what Old Testament priests looked like are almost completely speculative, because we do not have the original concept drawings that Moses had in his head after his meeting with God on Mount Sinai. 

As a result, all we are really left with are some general impressions. Which is okay, because God is not calling us to recreate these sacred clothes, he is calling us to understand the symbolic meaning contained in these sacred clothes. So that is what we are going to try to do. 

Now, there is probably no end to what we could notice about what is going on here. So for today I am just going to notice two major themes: 

The first thing we are going to notice is that Aaron’s robes are made out of the same materials as the tabernacle walls: gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen. Aaron’s robes also show a movement from greater holiness to lesser holiness, just like the tabernacle — but partially inverted, actually. 

If you recall from last week, the rarest and holiest materials are used at the center of the tabernacle and at its highest points — the parts closest to God — while the parts further outward and downward — away from God’s presence — are made of more common materials. 

Well, in the same way we see that the turban on Aaron’s head has some kind of golden plate or flower or seal tied to the forehead, etched with the words “holy to the Lord”. Which makes sense, since the priest’s head is the part closest to heaven. Then, over Aaron’s shoulders and torso, we see that he wears a vest that is covered in gold and precious stones. But when we get to his legs, we see that the hem of his robe only has one single row of golden bells, interspersed with cloth pomegranate fruits that symbolise the promise of God’s provision. And when we get to Aaron’s feet we notice that God has not commissioned any shoes for him at all: Aaron serves the Lord barefoot. 

So that progression matches the tabernacle: most precious at the top, least precious at the bottom. 

But when we look at the way the materials are layered in Aaron’s robes we find that they are actually arranged in the opposite order from the tabernacle. Aaron’s robes are most valuable and holy on the outermost layer: the ephod, that special outer vest, is made of the most expensive cloth, and covered in gold and precious stones. The robe underneath is made of less expensive cloth, and it just has those golden bells around its hem. Then the undershirt — the part that comes in direct contact with Aaron’s skin — is made of regular cloth. 

So the priest’s robes are actually holiest on the outside — which is the part that is closest to contact with God — while the inner layers are less and less holy the closer they come to the body in the center — which is the part furthest from contact with God. 

So now we have to ask: why? What were these general details meant to communicate to Aaron and to God’s people? 

Apparently God wants everyone to understand that the priest is a kind of living model of the tabernacle — that is why the same materials are used in his robes. But here’s an interesting question: since God is going to take up residence within the tabernacle…does this suggest that God is also going to somehow take up residence within the body of the priest? 

…no. And that is why the materials are arranged as they are. Apparently, God wants everyone — especially the priest, perhaps — to understand that the priest’s body is not actually a worthy tabernacle for God’s Spirit. 

Yes, Aaron has been chosen by God. But not because he is somehow special, or holy, or anything like that. And so every time he puts on his cheap undershirt, and then covers it with a fortune in gold and precious stones, he is being reminded that those holiest outermost layers are actually designed to protect him from the all-consuming glory of God’s presence. Every time Aaron puts on that turban with its golden seal and then crosses the tabernacle courtyard with his bare feet in the dust, he is reminded that he is not a heavenly creature, he is a creature made of earth, that he is “holy to the Lord” only because the Lord has clothed him in these temporary robes of dignity and honor. 

In short: the tabernacle is holiest in the center, because that is where God lives in unapproachable light. But the only reason the priest is able to represent the tabernacle in any way is because he is wearing the tabernacle on the outside. Unlike the tabernacle, the priest is actually most impure in the center, because that is where God does not live. 

The second thing we are going to notice is that the twelve kinds of precious stones Aaron wears on that outermost layer do not just symbolise holiness, they also symbolise the people of God. 

He has two precious stones on his shoulders, each stone etched with six of the twelve sons of Jacob. And God says these are memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So those two stones point backward to the past, to where God’s people came from: the twelve fathers of the twelve tribes. 

Then, built into a special square breast-plate, there are twelve stones, each one engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes. And God says these twelve stones are a continuing memorial before the Lord. In other words, these twelve stones point forward to the future of the twelve tribes, to their destiny. 

But what is their destiny? Well, in verse 29 we are told that whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place to care for the lamps, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart. 

So what we are seeing is that the priest is clothed in God’s holiness, and as part of that holiness he is also clothed with the names of God’s people. He is wearing the reputations God’s people. He is carrying the spiritual essence of God’s people into the Holy Place. The point is this: the destiny of Israel is not just life in a new land, it is actually union with God, life in God’s presence. 

Remember how, a few weeks back, we realized that Israel as a nation is now engaged to be married to God? Israel’s destiny is secure, bound by the covenant Moses made at the foot of Mount Sinai. But they are not yet married. First they need to travel to the home the Lord has been preparing for them — only then will they be truly united in marriage. 

In the meantime, however, as God’s fiancee, Israel will have the privilege of visiting her groom in his house in this symbolic fashion. 

Every time Aaron enters God’s outer reception room, carrying the names of God’s people over his heart, those precious stones are a continuing memorial — a continuous reminder — to God and to God’s people that they are engaged to be married. To put this in modern terms, we could see the priest’s breastplate as Israel’s engagement ring: it is a physical symbol of God’s covenant promise that one day his bride will be carried into his innermost chamber, where they will be one. 

But Aaron is also supposed to carry at least two other stones with him into God’s presence. Apparently they are called the Urim and Thummim, which seems to be related to the Hebrew for “lights” and “perfections”, or “lights” and “darks”. And apparently the priest is supposed to use these stones to make decisions. 

And that is all we know about them. They are mentioned several times in the Old Testament, always in relation to making some kind of decision at a national level. But we do not know how they worked, or even how many urim and thummim there were. All we are told is that it was important for the priest to always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord. 

So now we have to ask: why? What was carrying the stones of decision over the priest’s heart meant to communicate to Aaron and to God’s people? 

Well, first we should understand that, for the ancient Israelites, the heart was not seen as the center of emotion, but of will. So when Aaron carried the names of the Israelites and the urim and thummim over his heart before the Lord, this symbolised how Israel’s decision-making was submitted to God’s decision-making for them — they were a promise of obedience. 

But second, these stones of decision also point back to the concept we have already talked about, this idea that God’s chosen priests rule God’s people by serving God’s Word, they lead God’s people by following God’s instructions. We have already realised that they are supposed to do this in a general way through general revelation — by timing their rituals according to the sacred times marked by the stars and planets — and now we realize that they are also supposed to do this in specific ways through special revelation: direct guidance from the Spirit of God. So: 

Every time Aaron enters God’s outer reception room, carrying these stones of decision over his heart, he is reminded that he does not rule by his own power but by God’s Spirit. 


So, to summarise what we have learned today from this passage: 

God chooses his priests. But not because they are already holy; they are not. 

Which is why they need to be clothed in robes that give them dignity and honor. These special robes set the high priest apart from the rest of the people, and they act a bit like armour designed to protect him from the consuming fire of God’s holiness while he does his work in God’s presence. 

And the priest’s work is, first, to keep the lamps burning throughout the hours of darkness, and second, to carry God’s people into that light as a continuous reminder of the covenant that exists between them. 

Okay. So what are we supposed to do in response to God’s instructions here? Is this passage saying that I should be wearing some kind of special robes up here when I preach? 

Some church traditions would say yes, that is exactly what this passage is teaching us. But in our particular church tradition we do not think that is an appropriate application of this passage. 

Let me explain why: 

See, at least part of what God is communicating to his people here is the unworthiness of any man to enter his presence without wearing these special robes. At the same time, when a man puts on these special robes, he is in some way symbolically transformed into a miniature living model of the tabernacle. Which raised a question for us: since God is going to take up residence in the heart of the tabernacle, does this mean God is also going to somehow take up residence in the heart of the priest? 

The tabernacle system itself says no, this is not possible. In the Old Testament, God’s residence is concealed behind a curtain of cherubim. He lives in the midst of his people, but he does not live in the hearts of his people. Yes, he does sometimes fill various Old Testament individuals at various times for particular purposes, but he does not take up permanent residence there. 

But, as we saw last week, the tabernacle system itself also contained the promise that, one day, the curtain separating God from his people would be removed. And the ancient people of Israel understood this. Throughout the Old Testament we see that they had this hope that one day God would actually take up residence in the hearts of his priests — in the hearts of all his people, actually, so that they would truly become a nation of priests. 

Moses talks about this hope in his Book of Deuteronomy, where he promises that the Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 

And much later the prophet Zechariah promises a future age when all nations on earth will go up to Jerusalem year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty. And he says that on that day Holy To The Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. 

In other words, the golden seal that was once reserved only for the high priest’s forehead will one day be applied to everything in the city, from high to low, and everyone who comes to the city will be allowed to use everything that used to be reserved for the priests. Basically, in this prophesied age everyone who comes to worship the Lord will be a priest, made holy from the inside-out — not from the outside in — and the whole city will be the holy dwelling place of God, not just the tabernacle. 

Well, the New Testament writers looked back at those Old Testament hopes, and they said this is the age Zechariah was talking about. 

Just as we discussed last week, they said that Jesus’ death on the cross removed the curtain that separated God from his people. And in this way, the apostles explained, Jesus became our greatest and final high priest, the one who carries the names of all the children of God over his heart as an eternal memorial before his Father — he is clothed with us. 

But look, there is more: because, if the robes worn by the priests in the tabernacle sanctified them so that they were outwardly clean, how much more, then, will the blood of Christ cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God? 

Therefore, the New Testament writers concluded, this is also the age Moses predicted: when God has circumcised the hearts of his people, making them holy from the inside-out. 

Jesus has become our high priest. He is clothed with us…and we are clothed with him. 

This is why, in our church tradition, pastors and elders do not wear special robes, and why we do not require you all to wear special clothes to church, even though you are also God’s royal priesthood. Aaron’s robes were actually pointing forward to the Messiah who would make people holy from the inside-out. Since the Messiah has already come and completed the work of God’s high priest, why would we want to go back to wearing the symbols of a system that could only make people holy from the outside-in? That would be like watching your wedding video every day instead of actually living with the person you married! 

So this is actually our application of this passage: as Christians, we are not supposed to go around looking like especially religious people, because scripture says that true religion is revealed from the inside-out. We are not supposed to go around clothed in special religious robes anymore, instead we are supposed to be clothed with Jesus Christ. 

Now, if you are here today and you are not a Christian, you may be wondering how we are supposed to be clothed with Jesus Christ. Jesus is a person, not a suit of clothes, amirite? 

Well, the bible says that all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. So this is the first step in being clothed with Christ: repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. To repent means to give up all the useless religious and non-religious things you are doing to try to make yourself worthy in your own eyes and in the eyes of society. To be baptised means to identify yourself with Christ — to publically say: “That is my guy. That is my brother, my Saviour. That is my Lord.” 

Friend, the bible tells me that you were made in God’s image, originally crowned with glory and honor, designed to be a ruler over creation. But you are not; not anymore. Our first father Adam messed that up for all of us, and we have all responded by committing our own self-sabotaging sins. And as a result you have lived a life of frustration, longing to be clothed once again with dignity and honor, but knowing all the while in your heart of hearts that you are not worthy. 

This is your chance to finally be clothed with the dignity and honor that ought to be yours as a human being. Repent and be baptised; claim Jesus as your brother, your bridegroom. If you do this, then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of God himself will come and take up residence within you. He will cleanse you of your shame, and you will become a child of God. You will find your name engraved like a seal over Jesus’ heart; you will find that “Holy to the Lord” has been written on your brow. Jesus himself will become your armor, your protector, on the Day of Judgement when you find yourself in the presence of the God who created you. And so you will be saved to live forever in joy. 

Okay. But is that all? Many of us here today have already been baptised; we have already been clothed with Christ. Is there more that we are supposed do, even after baptism? 

Yes. This is what the bible says: now that we have been clothed with Christ, let us now clothe ourselves with Christ. Let us learn to be the priests that our Father has chosen us to be! 

What does that look like? 

Well, in our passage today, Aaron and his sons were introduced first as the keepers of the seven lights. As we learned a few weeks ago, those seven lights symbolised the guiding lights of heaven. And the guiding lights of heaven rule by reflecting the greater light that is God himself. 

And this is all a reminder to us that, from the beginning, mankind was created to be a priesthood that would read God’s signs and interpret those signs for creation. We were designed to lead creation by following God’s general revelation; we were designed to rule creation by serving God’s special revelation, shaping creation by his spoken Word as his Word shapes us, teaching us to read and interpret the world around us for his glory. 

In Christ, we have become a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. In other words, we are now the keepers of the seven lights. It is our task to tend the lamps of God’s Word, to keep them lit throughout the long night. 

But let’s get practical now: what does it look like to keep the lamps of God’s Word burning here in modern Malaysia? 

Just like Aaron and his sons, we are called to reflect and live out the natural sacred patterns ordained by God: evening and morning, seedtime and harvest, rainy seasons and dry. 

This can be quite a challenge for us in the city, because we do not live very close to the earth. But that actually makes our submission to God’s general revelation even more important, because the bible says that since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. There is a reason why urban people all over the world tend to be secular atheists: because they live in a world dominated by man’s creation, they use man’s creation to hide from themselves the natural evidence and the reality of God’s existence. 

So we urban Christians actually have a greater responsibility to live in such a way as to highlight our submission to God’s natural designs for human life. Resting — actually resting! — and worshiping every seventh day is one very simple way we can do this. 

But — and this part is so intuitively obvious that really it should not need to be said, but in our day and age it really does need to be said, because apparently it is no longer intuitive for us — another basic truth we need to highlight now is the fact that we do not get to decide for ourselves who is male and who is female. That is God’s decision, that is God’s sacred rhythm and order that he has clearly communicated to creation through the light of nature — a light that does need to be mediated and interpreted by Jesus’ Church as we live out that truth through the sacred rhythms of marriage, reproduction, parenting, all the basic building-blocks of family and community. 

Yes, that is right: our global urban culture today is getting so confused on these matters that, simply by being a man, being a woman, being a godly husband and father, being a godly wife and mother, simply by honouring our parents and by refusing to abandon our children we are actually preaching the gospel to a warped and crooked generation. You do not have to be a pastor or an evangelist or somebody super religious in order to be a good Christian; all you have to be is a faithful father, a faithful mother, a faithful son or daughter, and this will be enough. 

How do we know this will be enough? Because it has been enough before. Jesus’ Church was born 2000 years ago into a Roman world just as confused as ours is about gender and marriage and family. And at first, Christians were persecuted by the Roman world, because those first Christians insisted on being non-religious but ethical. They insisted that they were all priests, but then they refused to wear special religious clothing, they refused to practice special religious sacrifices at special religious temples on special religious days. Instead, they insisted that true priesthood starts on the inside, and reveals itself through practical ethical things like monogamy, equality, racial reconciliation, care for the widows, the orphans, the poor and the helpless. And the Roman world hated Christians for those crazy “unnatural” ideas! 

But the Christians stuck to it. They tended the lamps of God’s Word through the long centuries of darkness. They loved one another, the loved the loveless, they even loved their enemies. And after three hundred years Christian homes were shining like stars in the night sky throughout the empire, proof that God’s glory is actually closest to his people in the times when all the rest of the earth is plunged into shadow. And as a result the Roman empire was transformed — just in time to collapse and then explode, sending Christians flying outward into the darkness in every direction, even as far as the ends of the earth, where we find ourselves today, still engaged in the same great project: mediating God’s Word to creation, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything our Lord has commanded. 

Now, I know that this task can feel a bit overwhelming to us, as we look out our windows at the man-made creation that dominates our environment. So I want to close with a reminder and a promise. 

This is the reminder: it is actually Jesus who is tending the lamps. And we are the lamps; Jesus’ Church is the light of the world. 

We know this because the last book in our bible, the Book of Revelation, opens with a vision in which the apostle John finds himself standing in the front doorway of God’s heavenly reception room. And the first thing John sees are seven golden lampstands. Then he sees Jesus standing among the lampstands, dressed in priestly robes, tending the lights with seven flaming stars. And as the vision goes on, Jesus explains to John that “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” 

So this is our reminder: it is Jesus who tends us, who keeps the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. We work only because he works. 

And now this is our promise: the night is nearly over; the day is almost here. This is the evening; there will be a morning — the eighth day. 

And we know this because the Book of Revelation closes with a vision in which the apostle John finds himself carried away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high. And there he sees a city coming down out of heaven from God. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates; on the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, made of twelve kinds of precious stones, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 

And John goes on to say that the city does not need the son or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 

Brothers and sisters, do you see? That city John saw is the same city Zechariah talked about: the tabernacle finally perfected, the priesthood finally filled with the Spirit of God. And we are that city, that priesthood, the bride, the wife of the Lamb, who is being made holy even now, cleansed by the washing with water through the word. 

And on that day when we are finally revealed to be the children of God, the stars and planets will retire from their rule over the day and the night, because there will be no more night. We will no longer need them as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, because our bodies will finally be redeemed and ready to live in the unmediated light of God’s presence. 

This is how John describes it: the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and we his servants will serve him. We will see his face, and his name will be on our foreheads — “Holy to the Lord.” We will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give us light. And we will reign forever and ever. 

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. 

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