Summary: God’s Name defines ‘The Everlasting Light.’ There is no other name in heaven or earth or for that matter anywhere which can define this phrase. When He is the Everlasting Light, who else can be?
Opening illustration: This is an article written in 1967 by Arnold Fruchtenbaum a Jew who converted to Christianity, “Walking outside after the war with Jordan was over, I saw a car pass by with the words ‘Rebuild the temple!’ painted on its side. One Israeli soldier told me that they still have one wall of the temple, the Wailing Wall, and all they need to do is to build three more walls and a roof and they would have the temple back. All this talk about the temple must have caused some concern in the rabbinate for soon after they issued a decree that the temple mount is off-limits for Jews except for the Wailing Wall since the area was desecrated and that the area is to remain off-limits until the Messiah comes and the temple is rebuilt.” Things of course have changed a bit there now. But that was an interesting thing that right after that victory there is evidence of the fact that deep down lying deep down in the Jewish consciousness is the desire to rebuild the temple, prepare for the visitation of the Messiah and experience His glorious everlasting light.
Introduction: These verses return to the imagery of light and glory with which the chapter began. But the tone shifts dramatically. While the previous verses were in highly poetic language, the historical background of the post-exilic restoration of Jerusalem was evident. Here, the historical background is no longer apparent. Although the language is still poetic, it no longer describes changed historical conditions but a future reign of God on a cosmic scale.
Some scholars have identified these verses as similar to a particular variety of poetic description called apocalyptic. Apocalyptic literature is a style of writing which portrays God’s activity in the world in terms of two ages, this present evil age and a new ideal age to come. One feature of apocalyptic is its vivid and imaginative descriptions of the coming age of God’s reign. The style of apocalyptic was most popular after the Old Testament era into the period of the early church (200 BC-AD 100). Still, both Testaments contain apocalyptic books (Daniel and Revelation) as well as shorter sections which resemble apocalyptic writings.
How will the Lord be an ‘Everlasting Light’ to His people?
1. God makes Himself available (vs. 19-20a; Ref: Revelation 21:23)
In the OT God did not make Himself available to His people continually but only to a chosen few on occasions. The promise in the NT is fulfilled to validate God’s continual availability and fullness through the Holy Spirit.
God shall be all in all in the joy here promised; so he is always to true believers (Isaiah 60:19): The sun and the moon shall be no more thy light. God's people, when they enjoy his favor, and walk in the light of his countenance, make little account of sun and moon, and the other lights of this world, but could walk comfortably in the light of the Lord though they should withdraw their shining. In heaven there shall be no occasion for sun or moon, for it is the inheritance of the saints in light, such light as will swallow up the light of the sun as easily as the sun does that of a candle. "Idolaters worshipped the sun and moon (which some have thought the most ancient and plausible idolatry); but these shall be no more thy light, shall no more be idolized, but the Lord shall be to thee a constant light, both day and night, in the night of adversity as well as in the day of prosperity."
Those that make God their only light shall have him their all-sufficient light, their sun and shield. Thy God shall be thy glory. Note, God is the glory of those whose God he is and will be so to eternity. It is their glory that they have him for their God, and they glory in it; it is to them instead of beauty. God's people are, upon this account, an honorable people, that they have an interest in God as their sin covenant. The happiness here promised shall know no change, period, or allay (Isaiah 60:20): "Thy sun shall no more go down, but it shall be eternal day, eternal sunshine, with thee; that shall not be thy sun which is sometimes eclipsed, often clouded, and, though it shine ever so bright, ever so warm, will certainly set and leave thee in the dark, in the cold, in a few hours; but he shall be a sun, a fountain of light to thee, who is himself the Father of all lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning." (James 1:17)
We read of the sun's standing still once, and not hasting to go down for the space of a day, and it was a glorious day, never was the like; but what was that to the day that shall never have a night? Or, if it had, it should be a light night; for neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; it shall never wane, shall never change, but be always at the full. God is always/continually available as His light is everlasting. There is not a time when He is unavailable to us.