Revelation 21:23, “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.”
In these last few chapters of the book of Revelation, John is envisioning creation as it is meant to be. This is redeemed creation, reconciled creation, love-harmonized creation, wrath-purified creation. This is the “end/beginning” of the story and it is beautiful beyond imagining.
It is truly amazing, then, to consider that–WHEN all is as it ought to be, WHEN God is all in all and His glory pervades reality from root to branch–WHEN that is the case, the illumination of the universe will stream from the slain and risen Lamb. In other words, a witness to the suffering and crucifixion of God the Son will be the bright point, the centerpiece, the radiant wellspring of all the glory in the New Creation.
Now, you may notice that I am writing as if all the light is coming from “the Lamb” whereas John says that “the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Aren’t I forgetting “the glory of God” by focusing on “the Lamb”? No, because these are not–ultimately considered–two different light sources. The Son–the slain and risen Lamb–IS “the radiance of the glory of God” (Hebrews 1:3).
In other words, the “light” or “brightness” of the glory of God is the Lamb. If anyone has ever perceived the glory of God, they have only ever perceived it by perceiving the Son. It is only “in the face of Jesus Christ” that we receive the “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:6). Similar to the way that the moon mediates the light of the sun to a darkened world, so too the Lamb mediates the light of the glory of God to His people. And in the eternal state, this light will pour with undiminished perfection from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit into the regenerated universe.
How awesome it is to consider that a Lamb…a slain and risen sacrifice…is the medium through which John presents the glory of God as filling the universe. The beauty of who God is (because that’s what “glory” means), the beauty of who God is, is most perfectly communicated in the Son who treads out the wine press of God’s wrath, but who is first trodden down in that same trough for His Bride; the Son who pours Himself out in love to the Father and love to His neighbor; the Son who exhausts His people’s damnation and reconciles all creation to God; the Son who bears eternally the wounds of the cross.
And it will be in this way, by the Beauty of God the Father, mediated through God the Slain and Risen Son, by love of God the Spirit that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of YHWH as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
NOTE: Here’s a song that kept coming to mind as I wrote this, especially the final stanza, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwPHTqQtIq0