Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then 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. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on 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. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (NKJV)
In Genesis 1:3, God created light as something separate and distinct from Himself, who is light, 1 John 1:5. This created the first day, v. 5.
There’s some discussion about what exactly this “day” and the other “days” in Genesis 1 were. Some believe that each “day” was a period of perhaps millions of years, thus making room for the extensive “time” required for evolution. And the Scripture does sometimes use the word “day” to refer to a period of time other than a “normal” 24-hour day, as in “the day of the Lord”.
However, a simple reading of vs. 3-5, though there is nothing “simple” about them, indicates ordinary days of 24 hours, “time” itself, at least as we know it, also being created in v. 3.
In our text for this post, God gives some instruction for what He intends “day” and “night” to do or be. He creates individual “lights” in the heavens, the stars, to separate day and night, to provide our calendar, and to provide light on this ball of dirt. To further implement this plan, He then makes two particular lights: the sun and the moon.
There is one difficulty with the stars and the idea of a six-day only window of creation. Even at the phenomenal speed of light – a ray of light would circle the earth at the equator more than 7 times in a second! – it takes thousands of years for light from those stars to reach us. So, in a six-day only creation scenario, starlight shouldn’t even have reached us yet in this year of our Lord 2020. Except for the Sun during the day and the Moon at night, the sky should be empty. Night itself should be pitch-black except for the pale luminescence of the Moon. There seems to be no room for a mere 24-hour day.
There is an expression used in Scripture that sheds some light on this difficulty.
Referring to God, Isaiah 40:22 says,
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
Isaiah 44:24 says,
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;”
And Zechariah 12:1 says,
The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him;
“stretches out the heaven.”
While it’s difficult, if not impossible, really to understand what this phrase means, we might liken it to putting some dots on a balloon with a marker, then filling it with air. The “dots” would be “stretched out” in the process. While it’s a poor analogy, it may give some idea how that the LORD God created everything, the shining of the stars included, with the light streaming from them, then “stretched out” the heavens, the rays of light with them. As I said, a poor analogy, compared to the creative might and purpose of Almighty God. His Word focuses on the earth because that’s where mankind lives and where sin and redemption take place, not the heavens.
There is great prophetic significance beyond this mere chronological use of day and night.
There are those who believe that God is done with Israel because of their continued rebellion against Him ever since their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, but more particularly because of their rejection and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. They simply cannot or will not see that that rejection and crucifixion was the means of salvation, not only for us Gentiles, but that it will be that even for Israel itself. While God may have temporarily put aside Israel in favor of “the church,” He is not done with them.
Jeremiah 33:23-26 says,
Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, “Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the LORD has chosen, He has also cast them off.’? Thus they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them.
Thus says the LORD: “If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them’?”
If it’s claimed that this was fulfilled at Israel’s return from Babylon Captivity, I say that is impossible.
The whole chapter needs to be studied and paid attention to.
Earlier in the chapter, God had promised,
‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:
‘In those days and at that time
I will cause to grow up to David
A Branch of righteousness;
He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
This certainly did not happen at the Return!
Furthermore, in Zechariah 12:10 God promised to Israel, “…I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication, then they shall look on Me whom they have pierced. Yes, they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one mourns for a firstborn” (emphasis added).
Then in Zechariah 13:1, which continues the statements of ch. 12, God said, “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.”
The whole section of Zechariah 12-14 should be read.
This will be the fulfillment of Romans 11:1-27, which concludes, all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins,” vs. 26, 27.
As long as there are day and night, there will be an Israel!