City of Light
There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.
The city has no need for the sun or moon to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people.
Ats gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),
For there is born to you today, in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.
This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”
There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie,
Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.” When the angels went away from them into the sky,
but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street.
Shepherds + City of Light
Shepherds + City of Light
We’ve compared the City of Light to the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and here, the birth of Christ.
Shepherds Keeping Watch
In Luke 2, shepherds keep watch by night over their flock. This introduces the idea of an opposite: the night is the opposite of the light which illuminates the city. In fact, I believe the night lies directly beneath the city.
In its Light
Look at the next part of the shepherd story. An angel of the lord stands by them and shines with the glory of Christ. The nations walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory of the nations into the city. Standing. Walking. Shining. Glory. Clear connections.
The angel brings good news of great joy for all the people. The gates of the city will never be shut. This suggests something new: the gospel story opens the inner gate of the city.
The shepherd story continues: a savior has been born into David’s city. To me, this is the doorway in reverse. Christ entered this world, in human form, so we may enter his. His City.
Nothing profane will enter into the city, which connects to a baby, wrapped in cloth, lying in a feeding trough.
Perhaps the feeding trough is a place profane. Perhaps it symbolizes something deeper – like a tomb – or death itself. Death has no place in the city of light.
To me, this is the cool part. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter the city. In the shepherd story, suddenly, there appears with the angel a great multitude, praising God and declaring peace among men.
Perhaps the angels, like you and I, are those whose names are written in Jesus’ book of life. The angels go away into Heaven. They enter the city of light, I believe for the first time.
Place of Revelation
Decide for yourself, but to me, it’s becoming increasingly clear these passages work together.
To me, the interesting thing is this. Strings and the book of Revelation tell a story set outside of time as we know it. The city of light connects to the point of Jesus death, and his resurrection, and his birth. A deeper story is being revealed, one that is not bound by time.
Strings, it seem, tell an entire gospel story – like an entire bible – in a radically simplified form. In the Luke 2 passage, one angel goes out. A great multitude returns. Christ enters our world so we can enter his. We see this at work, even as the newborn Christ lie in a feeding trough.
Click on the Commandments link below, or the right arrow, to compare the Law passage from Deuteronomy.
To explore these passages directly, click this button: