From the Word
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22, RSV
Following this text, the Jews divide the year into six parts, each comprising two months. But it seems to me that Moses simply speaks of the promise that we need not fear another general flood. During the time of the flood such confusion reigned that there was no season, either of seedtime or harvest, and by reason of the great darkness caused by the clouds and the rain, day could not readily be distinguished from night. The meaning is simply that God here promises Noah the imminent restoration of the earth, so that the fields might again be sowed; that the desolation caused by the flood should be no more; that the seasons would run their course in accordance with regular law, harvest following seedtime, winter following summer, cold following heat in due order.
This text should be carefully remembered in view of the common notions concerning the signs before the last day. Some declare there will be eclipses of ever so many days’ duration. They say foolishly that for seven years not a single child will be born. But this text declares that neither day, nor night, neither summer, nor winter, shall cease; therefore these natural changes will go on, and there will never be an eclipse which will rob human eyes of an entire day.
Nor is it a phrase devoid of meaning when he says, “While the earth remaineth,” for he gives us to understand that the days of this earth shall sometime be numbered, and other days, days of heaven, shall follow. As long as the days of the earth endure, so long shall the earth abide and with it the rotation of seasons. But when these days of the earth shall pass, then all these things shall cease, and then shall follow days of heaven, that is eternal days. Then shall be one Sabbath after the other, when we shall not be engrossed with bodily labor for the purpose of gaining a livelihood; for we shall be as the angels of God. Our life will be to know God, to delight in God’s wisdom and to enjoy the presence of God. This life we attain through faith in Christ, in which may the eternal Father mercifully keep us, through the merit of his Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, by the ruling and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 302–03.