Originally posted on Tayibs.com
Welcome back to our study of the book of Genesis. In our previous two sessions, we zeroed in on the creation of time, weather and agriculture. These are key elements with important functions in the operation of the cosmos. Today we’ll turn our attention to verses 14 through 23 and look at the next set of spoken words that bring about an outcome. I’ll invite you to listen to Dr. Baruch Korman’s lecture on this portion of Genesis.
Genesis 1:14-23 Exposition
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[f] and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds[g] fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
The next spoken word by the Living God brings about elements that are meant to create a physical manifestation to distinguish the day from the night. On the first day, God created periods of lights to distinguish the day from the night, but now HE is going to make this distinction clear by creating a physical phenomenon ( lights in the sky) with the sole purpose of making this separation between day and night manifest. Not only are these lights in the sky to create a separation between Night and Day but they are also made for the purpose of signs, but what signs? The passage that comes to mind is Exodus 4 where God appears to Moses, and performs some signs in his presence. God then instructs Moses to use these signs in front of the people of Israel to authenticate his prophetic ministry. Basically the signs were supposed to convey that God indeed appeared to Moses. So I believe that one of the purposes of the lights in the sky is not only to make a physical distinction between Day and Night, but also to point our eyes to God. We are supposed to be in awe of the creator God as we gaze in the sky and see these lights. I’ll also invite you to go to the books of Acts, Acts 2:19-21,
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
This is Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. He was quoting the book of Joel, so the signs talked about in this passage are signs in the sky ( sun turning dark, moon turning blood red) that are to tell the believer in God that the day of the Lord is drawing near.
These lights in the sky are also to be for seasons, days and years. We know that God chose the Jewish race to be His representative to the rest of humanity. Through their lifestyle, the rest of humanity is supposed to receive a revelation of God. The seasons, days and years are pointing to the Jewish calendar year ( its holidays and festivals) that have tremendous spiritual implications for us gentiles. It is imperative that we understand the significance of the Jewish Holidays, Genesis 1:14-15 was written for that very purpose.
The sun, the moon and the stars are the ones being referred to in these verses, and one of their purposes is to govern the Day and the Night, to create a separation between Night and Day, light and darkness. Oftentimes, physical manifestations are meant to give us insights into spiritual truths. God is in the enterprise of making distinction between light and darkness. And as his subjects, it is our duty to do the same, we must learn to discern between light and darkness.
God speaks again on Day 4 and now there is a big transition that the reader needs to recognize. All the elements created thus far are inanimate objects, but they are vital to sustain life. Without water, there can’t be any vegetation, and we know how in the process of photosynthesis, plants use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy in the form of sugar. So without these elements i.e. water, sun, vegetation, life ( physical life) is impossible. So God created all things in the right order, and now He is about to speak and bring a new outcome. This time, His spoken word brings about living creatures in bodies of water and in the sky ( birds) according to their own kind.