“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void; darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:1-5).
Have you ever wondered where this light came from on the first day of creation that separated the night from the day, as the sun, moon, and stars weren’t created until the fourth day of creation? God Himself supplied this “temporary” light for His creation work week. He created light and darkness as well as everything in the Universe. “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity. I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declares to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity. I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).
On the sixth day, God created animals and man. “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
There are traditions from both Jewish and Christian sources that teach that before the fall, the skin of Adam and Eve was luminous. In other words, they were “covered” by divine light and would “glow” or “shine.” Dr. Alewine in The Creation Gospel Workbook Four: The Scarlet Harlot and the Crimson Thread has this to say:
“Rabbinic insight is that the clothing of Adam and Eve was glory, or radiance (or with an aleph), a white light invisible to the human eye that was replaced with a covering of skins (or with an ayin). The white light is the same covering of the Bride of Messiah in Revelation. The Bride reflects the Lamp of the New Jerusalem, the Lamb. In terms of the menorah, there was a spiritual covering over the first couple’s earthly bodies, a covering or radiance pictured when Moses spoke with Adonai on the mountain, receiving the Torah covenant for Israel. Like the Holy One in whose image they were made, they had corresponding covers of light-like garments.” (p. 175).
Those who adhere to this view believe that after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their luminous covering (clothing of light) was removed and they found themselves naked. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7). How did they know they were naked? The verse says their eyes were opened, perhaps to the fact that they could no longer “see the light” emitting from their translucent skin. Of course, we know the end of the story. God replaced their fig leaf coverings with tunics of animal skins, and they were banished from the Garden of Eden. For more on this Hebrew tradition, see https://graceintorah.net/2015/09/08/garments-of-light-part-i/.
Evidently, angels have this same light covering or their bodies are made of light. On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, when the women came to prepare Jesus’ body with spices, they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. When they entered the tomb, they did not find Jesus’ body. “And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments” (Luke 24:4). These two “men” were angels who informed the women that Jesus had risen.
Another example is when Jesus ascended into heaven. “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’” (Acts1:10-11).
When Stephen was martyred in Acts 6:15, the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. The idea behind the phrase “face of an angel” seems to be that his face was shining. Moses’ face also shone after the Lord passed before him when he received the two tablets of stone with the 10 commandments written on them, as per Exodus 34:29-35). More thoughts regarding the “shining” of men later.
SUPERNATURAL LIGHT AND DARKNESS
During the 9th plague of Egypt, before the children of Israel were set free from their bondage, there was darkness in the land for three days. It was so dark, scripture says it could be felt. This was supernatural darkness and not a solar eclipse, as a total solar eclipse only lasts for a few minutes.
“So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:22-23). Just as God supplied light for the first three days of creation, he gave light to the Israelites living in the land of Goshen for three days (24-hour days). Whereas light can be blocked by the sun, nothing can block out the light of God.
There was supernatural darkness that occurred in Israel during Jesus’ crucifixion, which lasted for three hours. “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).
THE SHEKINAH GLORY OF YAHWEH
During the 40 years of wandering in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, Yahweh, in the form/theophany of the angel of the Lord, led the Hebrews in a supernatural way. “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people” (Exodus 13:21-22).
After the exodus from Egypt, in the first month of the second year (1445 BC), on the first day of the month, the tabernacle of meeting was raised up. “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 2:34-35). Moses couldn’t enter the tabernacle because of the brilliant light (and heat possibly) radiating from Yahweh. It would have blinded anyone that tried to enter the tabernacle.
This same Shekinah glory of the Lord was witnessed by the Israelites during the time of King Solomon when the dedication of the newly built Temple took place. The dedication of Solomon’s Temple was performed on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles on Tishri 15, 959 BC. “It came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, For His mercy endures forever, that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:3-14).
The Shekinah glory of the Lord was not present during the days of the 2nd Temple. According to Jewish tradition, the 2nd Temple lacked five things present in the 1st Temple: the ark of the covenant, fire falling from heaven on the sacrifices, the Shekinah glory of the Lord, the Urim and Thummim, and the spirit of prophecy. In 520 BC, Haggai received a prophecy from the Lord about resuming the rebuilding of the 2nd Temple and its comparison to the 1st Temple. “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:9). The 2nd Temple didn’t compare to the 1st Temple in size, beauty, or wealth. However, this was the temple that the Lord Jesus used while he walked the earth; therefore, its glory was greater than Solomon’s Temple.
David had this to say about the Lord God’s glory: “O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind” (Psalm 104:2-3).
INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL LIGHT
Without light, there is no sight. One cannot see in the darkness. When one sees by way of the light, a path is made available for the seeker. When there is only darkness, the path to one’s destination cannot be seen and is impossible to traverse. Light can also mean illumination and intelligence. “Seeing the light” is an idiom that means to gain an understanding of something previously not understood, especially in a sudden insight. “Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel” is an expression that means a bad situation will end soon or a difficult job will be finished soon. Some people who have had near-death experiences (or have died and come back to life) recounted stories of actually seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel.
There is also a spiritual component to light and darkness. Light is often used as a synonym for truth, understanding, and righteousness. “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Psalm 37:5-6).
Darkness, on the other hand, represents lies, deception, and sin. “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble” (Proverbs 4:19). “He uncovers deep things out of darkness and brings the shadow of death to light. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man” (Job 12:22,24-25).
THE TRUE LIGHT
Jesus, in his pre-incarnate form, is called Yahweh or the Word. He is the 2nd Person of the Trinity of Elohim. Sometimes he appeared on the earth as “the angel of the Lord.” As Jesus, in His human form, He is the Son of the Father God. Jesus Christ is the true Light of the world. John the apostle explains this concept in the first chapter of his gospel.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (the Baptist). This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light that gives light to every man coming into the world.
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:1-13).
In John 3, a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus at night (under cover of darkness) to talk with Jesus. Jesus explained to him that if he was to see the kingdom of God, he must be born again spiritually.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:14-21).
The Gospel of John has the most mentions of “light” in the New Testament, with 24. Jesus had this to say about Himself. “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtakes you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going” (John 12:35).
Isaiah has the most mentions of “light” in the Old Testament with 31. One of the more famous verses is found in chapter 5. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).
The prophecy of the coming of the Messiah is seen in Isaiah 9:1-7. Verse 2 compares Him to a great light. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”
In Isaiah 49, the Messiah is pictured as a servant and as a light to the Gentiles. “And now the Lord says, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Isaiah 49:5-6).
Isaiah 60 prophecies of the aftermath of Daniel’s 70th seven (the Tribulation) when the sun and moon will no longer give their light. Instead, the Lord Jesus will be the light for the nations of the earth. “Arise, shine; for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3).
“The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you, but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended” (Isaiah 60:19-20).
The second witness to this supernatural light emanating from the Lord in lieu of the sun and moon is found in Revelation. “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there)” (Revelation 21:22-25).
THE SHEKINAH GLORY OF LORD JESUS
Of course, there are several instances in the New Testament where Jesus’ glory is made manifest. The first time was when Jesus, Peter, James, and John went up a mountain and Jesus was transfigured before them.
“He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’ When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only” (Matthew 17:2-8).
The second time Jesus’ glorious light was manifested occurred a couple of years after His crucifixion and resurrection. Saul (Paul) was the recipient of Jesus’ blinding light as he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians there, but God had other plans for him.
“At midday, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” (Acts 26:13-18).
A LIGHT TO THE JEWS AND THE GENTILES
Later, as Paul was recounting this story to King Agrippa, he said, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23).
33 days after baby Jesus was circumcised, Mary’s days of purification had ended and the young couple took Jesus to the Temple to be presented to the Lord “(as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons’” (Luke 2:23-24).
There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, who was characterized as being just and devout, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel’” (Luke 2:26-32).
THE LIGHT OF CHRIST’S GOSPEL
Paul spoke of the light of Christ’s gospel. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
Paul spoke to the Philippians, “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Philippians 2:15-16).
Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the gospel, “God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).
REDEEMED MAN’S SHINING
During the Millennium and Eternity, redeemed mankind will emulate Jesus’ Shekinah glory with a brilliant shining white light emanating from his being. If man did have this translucent skin or covering during Adam’s time in the Garden, it will be much brighter in the future by being in the eternal presence of Elohim (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-4).
“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:43).
THE GOOD CONFESSION
“But you, O man of God, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called, and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:11-16).
Amen. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!