In my study of Isaiah 45:7, and specifically my study of light, I have had two scriptures running through my head. The first is James 1:17; “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” The second is 1 Peter 2:9; “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.
The passage from James was foremost in my mind as I was reading about light in Dr. Ben Still’s Mind Maps: Physics and read about atomic spectra: the range of light emitted by atoms. Dr. Still writes, “Since the mid-nineteenth century, chemists have noticed that atoms did not emit light of all colors, but instead emitted light of just certain wavelengths.” Dr. Still does go on to describe how Niels Bohr explains the why of this but I remained stuck on the fact that atoms emit light at all. I look at my body with new eyes and in wonder knowing that, even though I can’t see it, there is a light show going on at the atomic level.
I know that what is “born of flesh is flesh” and “what is born of spirit is spirit”. This body was built from the flesh of my parents (and their parents, and their parents…) and so the lights my atoms give off are a biological mechanism and is likely not what James had in mind when he wrote, “Father of lights.” And yet; I am not separate from my body. My spirit is knitted to it and, because I am One Spirit with the Lord Jesus Christ, His Spirit is also knitted to it. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I await the day when this mortality is swallowed up in His immortality and this body is made like His. Until then, I look at this body with all its imperfections and see it as the dwelling place of God. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:14) and now the living God is perfectly at home living in me. If that doesn’t wipe out any vestige of feelings of worthlessness, I don’t know what will.
I’ve been thinking about what it means for God to be living inside of us, dwelling in a temple of living stones rather than one made with hands. There is no denying that while it is the absolute truth that I now am One with God through the unity of the Holy Spirit, this body is still subject to hunger, pain, and death. There are dimensions to this life in Jesus that are not yet made manifest. I read the New Testament and find so many scriptures urging me to press in, lay hold of, pursue, run towards the goal, etc. In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes; “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:12-16).k
There is so much in this passage it deserves a dedicated study of its own. For the sake of this one, one of the questions I asked myself was, what is this unapproachable light? I can study the aspects of light in my physics books, see attributes of God, and know that I cannot ever study the creation enough to know God. The light that He is is uncreated and therefore far above and beyond the electromagnetic spectrum capable of being studied. This light that God is, called the Shekinah in the Old Testament, could not really be known in those days either. First, most of the tabernacle was off limits to the people of Israel. Only the tribe of Levi could minister to the Lord and then the number of people who could enter the different sections got smaller and smaller until only the High Priest could enter beyond the veil into the Shekinah of God and he could only do so once a year. (I’m simplifying for sake of space. Read Leviticus, especially Chapter 16). Until Jesus.
The Book of Hebrews describes what Jesus fulfilled-what the tabernacle of old pointed to. The Book of Hebrews describes Him as our High Priest who offered Himself as sacrifice once and for all, by one offering perfected forever those who are being sanctified and SAT DOWN at the right hand of God. This is so amazing. Whereas the high priest of old could only enter the presence of God one day a year and then had to do so year after year after year, Jesus, our best and last High Priest, entered into the presence of God and has never left it. He abides in that unapproachable light and, just as the high priest of old represented all of Israel as he ministered in the Holy of Holies, so did Jesus represent every one of us.
I was listening to a teaching this week on the Feasts of the Lord and I saw this so clearly: Jesus entering into the Shekinah-that uncreated light of God-once and for all. I hold this picture in mind as I think on what it means to be “in Christ”. By offering up Himself, Jesus had made a new and living way through the veil “that is, His flesh. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest…” (Hebrews 10:10, 9) He opened the way for everyone. He opened the way for me. It is astonishing to know that even as I sit at my desk I am In Him, that at this moment I am seated with Him in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6) and as He is so am I in this world” (1 John 4:17).
He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He is the light of the world, the light shining in the darkness which the darkness cannot put out. Because we are as He is, so are we the light of the world. Because we are in Him and Him in us, we too dwell in the unapproachable light, the secret place of the Most High, the very life and light and heart of The Father. This is our present reality because His Spirit lives in us. Jesus Himself is the treasure we have in earthen vessels, the eternal life we lay hold of. We await the transforming of our mortal bodies to be like His glorious body but that waiting does not change the truth that now, at this moment, we live and move and have our being in the Lord Jesus Christ, the light of life.
Unless noted otherwise, all scriptures are quoted from The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
Still, Dr. Ben, Mind Maps Physics: How to Navigate the World of Science, 1st Edition, Unipress Books Limited, 2020, Page 98