BY JORDAN MAYER
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'”
This year I have been doing a Bible reading plan, one that takes you through Scripture in its entirety within the span of a year. If you have never done this before, I cannot recommend it enough. I appreciate the structure of these plans with a set of assigned readings each day, as well as the opportunity they provide to revisit some of the books I frequent less often (Leviticus anyone?) As we near the end of the year, I am ending in the book of Revelation. I think for many of us, the book of Revelation can be a daunting book. Although, I don't think it is half as daunting to read as it must have been to write! Imagine what it must have been like for John to witness these things and then attempt to describe them with words. Yet, we know that all of the Bible authors had some divine help!
Reading through this book during the Advent season helps me remember something: the best is yet to come. As has been mentioned before, advent literally means "coming". While this season celebrates the first coming, the birth of a Savior, it is also a season of eager expectation for Christ's second coming. The things that began when Jesus first came will find their resolution when He comes again.
Resolution. In music, resolution refers to a release of musical tension. Certain notes or chords create suspense and tension in the music, and the listener naturally expects a conclusion that resolves that tension. This is a fitting analogy for the time in redemptive history that we find ourselves in. God created, man fell, Jesus came...and now we wait. For those in Christ, our sins have been paid in full (Colossians 2:13-14), we are made free (Galatians 5:1), we are declared new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). And yet, like Paul, we are often frustrated in our desire to do right by our tendency to sin (Romans 7:19). Like the rest of creation, we groan inwardly in the midst of a broken world, eagerly awaiting what is to come. (Romans 8:23).
I love the language of this passage in Revelation for how beautifully it mirrors these two advents. "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God".
Remember the words of Isaiah, "'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us)" (Matthew 1:23).
God came down 2,000 years ago to dwell among us, to be with His people. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life, His Spirit comes to dwell inside of us. And one day, when Christ returns, we will be called up to Heaven to dwell in His presence for all eternity. These things that have taken place are wonderful realities; they are the foundation of our faith. And yet, the best is yet to come!
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).