Day 22. The Lamb Who Is the Lamp (Revelation 21:23-25)

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Lamb Is a Lamp, Mosaic from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC.
Lamb Is a Lamp, Mosaic from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC.

John continues to describe the wonders of the Holy City, the heavenly Jerusalem. But it is like no city we've ever seen.

"23  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light,
and its lamp is the Lamb.
24  By its light will the nations walk,
and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,
25  and its gates will never be shut by day--
and there will be no night there." (Revelation 21:23-25)

The Glory of God

The precedent for light as a metaphor for God dwelling in the midst of Israel is ancient. It is seen in the Shekinah glory of God that filled the tabernacle and, later, the temple, as well as the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites in the desert. In the New Testament we see the contrast of light and darkness and the irrepressible light in the face of Jesus. Here's a sampling.

"In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5)

"The true light, which gives light to everyone,
was coming into the world." (John 1:9)

"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

"... That they may turn from darkness to light
and from the power of Satan to God...." (Acts 26:18)

"The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,
to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4)

"... Giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."
(Colossians 1:12)

"... Who alone has immortality,
who dwells in unapproachable light." (1 Timothy 6:16a)

"... Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)

"God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

The Irrepressible Light of the Lamb (Revelation 21:23)

I think the word "irrepressible" describes the Light of the Lamb -- "impossible to repress, restrain, or control."121 Christ's light can't be repressed because light is part of his very nature. God's light is "unapproachable," terrifying, blindingly brilliant. But Jesus has touched us and made us whole. He has taken our sins upon himself on the cross, so we are holy. We are now "light in the Lord." Paul writes,

"At one time you were darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8)

We are to live according to our true nature -- light. And since we are holy and filled with his light, we can now approach the unapproachable.

Indeed, we are welcomed to approach Him. I think of the hopeful, waiting father who sees his prodigal son coming up the road, returning to the old home place. And the father runs to meet him, embraces him, puts a ring on his finger, and calls for a grand celebration.

You belong in the Light of the Lamb, my friend, and so do I. And as we walk in this light, as he is in this light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of the Lamb cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

There Is No Night There (Revelation 21:25b)

I love the startling phrase: "there will be no night there" (Revelation 21:25b). We associate darkness with sleep, with hiding, with sin, with fear. As children, we are sometimes afraid of the dark. We have nightmares. But with the Lamb in the Holy City there will be no night, no need for the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun. We can hardly imagine it!

Darkness Is as Light with You (Psalm 139:11-12)

While we wait for the brilliant light of that Day, I have a word of hope for you from the Psalmist:

"If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,'
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you." (Psalm 139:11-12)

You may be feeling like you are stumbling forward in the dark right now. But your darkness is light to the Lamb, and he will lead you forward surely. You don't have to be afraid.

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How much of his light do you allow to shine in your life today? Are there pockets of darkness that need to be exposed to his healing light? You do not need to fear the Light who is the Lamb. He was slain for your sins. He has cleansed you -- and is willing to clean you up even now, every time you need it. He loves you. You are the very reason he died on the cross, and his light is now your light.


Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, thank you for your loving light that shines upon us, banishing the shadows of our hidden places. Let your light overwhelm us; let darkness no longer have any place in us. Let your light shine, O Light of the World. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

Day 22 Meditation (Revelation 21:23-25). Why are we sometimes afraid of being fully exposed by God's searching light? In what sense do you think John is telling us that the New Jerusalem's light is the Lamb? In what ways do you need the Lamb to bring his light to some of your dark places?


(References and Abbreviations)

[121] Merriam Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary (2003).

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