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City of Light

Revelation 21:23-22:1

Shepherd Birth

Luke 2:8–15

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.

There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.

The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.

Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),

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.

and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.

For there is born to you today, in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie,

This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”

but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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,

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.

the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”


City of Light + Shepherds

City of Light + Shepherds

A Great Multitude Returns

Shepherds Keeping Watch

City of Light Shepherd Birth SceneLight of GodIn Luke 2, the scene begins with shepherds keeping 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.

Look at the next part. An angel of the lord stands by them. The nations walk in its light. The angel shines with the glory of Christ. The kings of the earth bring the glory of the nations into the city. Standing. Walking. Shining. Glory.

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.

Main Entrance

Main EntranceA 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.

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.

This is the cool part. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter the city. Suddenly, there appears with the angel a great multitude, praising God and declaring peace among men. The angels go away into Heaven. They enter the city of light, I believe for the first time.

Place of Revelation

The passage returns to the source, a river of life, shining like crystal. The shepherds say, “let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has been revealed.” Light symbolizes something revealed.

Decide for yourself, but to me, it’s becoming increasingly clear these passages work together.

I’ve discovered a powerful thing about Strings: they 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.

This is the second of two Gospel examples. 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: