The Sun Points to the Son: Genesis 1:14

Few people gaze up at the sun or moon and recognize them for what God intended them to be. Most folk just see the sun and moon as a sources of light for the day and night. But God gave the sun and moon an equally important purpose. Our English translations, though, mask this purpose and create confusion. I’d like to unmask that purpose by analyzing the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:14 and clear up the confusion.


The typical English translation of Genesis 1:14 is as follows: “And God said, "Let the lights in the expanse of the heavens [sun and moon] be for separating the day from the night and let them be for signs (signs of God’s power and glory) and for seasons, and for days and years.”

From the looks of it, the sun and moon had two purposes: to give light during the day and night respectively, and to mark seasons, days and years. ,

“Seasons” normally suggests summer, fall, winter, and spring. But the word in the Hebrew text of Genesis has nothing to with the four seasons.  

The word “season” in Hebrew is וּלְמֹ֣ועֲדִ֔ים; the word means “appointments.” God’s purpose for the sun and moon was to mark appointments. The author of the Pentateuch devotes an entire chapter to this exact same word in Leviticus 23. Unfortunately, the word is commonly translated in Leviticus 23 as “feasts.” But technically, and more correctly in Leviticus, the word means “appointments.”

"Speak to the Israelites and tell them: These are My appointments, the times of the LORD that you will proclaim as sacred assemblies.” (Lev 23: 2, 4, 37, 44).

God’s “appointments” were the sacred assemblies, the annual feast days when the community of Israel was to gather together and worship the God of the covenant. The sun and moon, then, according to Genesis 1:14, were celestial, visual reminders of their weekly appointment with God to gather and worship Him; the two celestial bodies were cosmic worship calendars, visible to God’s people either by day or by night.

We might say that the sun and moon were designed to act as celestial Daytimers, an ever-present calendar, reminding God’s people of their divinely-mandated appointment to meet Him in worship.

No one could make the excuse, “I lost my calendar” or “I forgot” or “I didn’t know about my appointment to worship God weekly.” Each family was reminded day and night of their worship appointments with God. 

The universe, even the sun and moon, were made for worship and for covenant. The sun and moon give us needed light by day and night; but they also serve to daily remind us that this world is a temple and that our highest responsibility is gather with His people to worship God, the One who graciously and lovingly provided salvation through the covenant.

Today, the sun points to the Son, God’s eternal Son, Jesus. Matthew depicts Jesus—at the beginning of a new creation--as a sun, rising to shed light on people in darkness. “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned (Matthew 4:16).

This is why there is no need for a sun in heaven, in the New Jerusalem, no need to be reminded of an appointment to worship God. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God's glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).