[Heb., ma·ʼohrʹ, meaning source of light, luminary].
The Genesis account relates that during the fourth creative “day” God caused luminaries to “come to be in the expanse of the heavens.” (Gen. 1:14) This does not indicate the coming into existence of light (Heb., ʼohr) itself, since this is shown to have existed previously. (Gen. 1:3) Nor does it state that the sun, moon and stars were created at this point. The initial verse of the Bible states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) Thus the heavens with their celestial bodies, including the sun, existed an undetermined period of time prior to the processes and events stated as occurring during the six creative periods described in the following verses of the first chapter of Genesis.
It should be noted that, whereas Genesis 1:1 states that God “created” (Heb., ba·raʼʹ) the heavens and the earth in the beginning, verses 16 and 17 state that, during the fourth creative “day,” “God proceeded to make [Heb., a form of ʽa·sahʹ] the two great luminaries, the greater luminary for dominating the day and the lesser luminary for dominating the night, and also the stars. Thus God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth.” The Hebrew word ʼa·sahʹ, often translated “make,” can mean simply to establish (2 Sam. 7:11), appoint (Deut. 15:1), form (Jer. 18:4), or prepare (Gen. 21:8).
Thus the record here only states what the already existing sun, moon and stars now became in relation to planet Earth. It therefore appears that light from these heavenly bodies, hitherto blocked by some cause, possibly cosmic dust, reached the ‘waters above the expanse’ on the first creative “day.” These waters, in turn, prevented light from penetrating into the expanse, until the fourth “day.” The statement that “God put them in the expanse of the heavens” on that day simply expresses the fact that, at this point, God caused them to be discernible by a penetration of their light rays into earth’s atmosphere, reaching earth’s surface. Their purpose was to “make a division between the day and the night” and to serve as “signs and for seasons and for days and years.” In addition to being signs of God’s existence and majesty, by their movements such luminaries enable man to mark accurately the natural seasons, days and years.—Gen. 1:14-18; Ps. 74:16; 148:3.
The same Hebrew word (ma·ʼohrʹ) is used with reference to the light-bearing equipment in the tabernacle, which employed lighted oil as the means for producing artificial illumination. (Ex. 25:6; 27:20; 35:8, 14, 28; Lev. 24:2; Num. 4:9) At Proverbs 15:30 it is used figuratively in the expression “brightness of the eyes.” Egypt is prophetically warned of a withdrawal of all light by Jehovah’s darkening and beclouding all the “luminaries [form of ma·ʼohrʹ] of light [ʼohr] in the heavens.”—Ezek. 32:2, 7, 8.