Advent is traditionally the beginning of the church calendar. I’m not interested in church calendars, but I am interested in the themes of Advent, which include expectation, hope, anticipation, etc. In this series, I plan to examine these themes in the time before Jesus’ physical incarnation, while Jesus lived on earth, in modern times, and in eternity. This will probably be quite different from other meditations on Advent. That’s okay. I only hope that God uses my thoughts to encourage you as he has encouraged me.
For this post, I am thinking through the concept of expectation, waiting, and hope following Jesus’ return to earth, which I believe is still in the future.
Adam waited for the one who would crush the serpent’s head. Abraham waited for the one who would bless the whole world. David waited for the one who would rule forever. The prophets waited for the one who would bring justice to the world. The apostles waited for the completion of the kingdom. We wait for the return of the Christ.
Waiting has always been part of life for God’s people, and waiting continues to be part of life for the followers of Jesus. However, there will come a time when our waiting will be complete, when our hope will be realized, when our expectations will be surpassed.
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. (Malachi 4:2 ESV)
We don’t know much about what our lives will be like at that time. Since Adam and Eve enjoyed the Garden while they walked in the presence of God, it is likely that we also will enjoy the new earth while living in the presence of God. Perhaps, as a friend has pointed out recently, we will explore the new Amazon, or climb the new Everest, or surf the waves of the new Pacific. We will finally know how to worship God as he is and how to worship God through his creation.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1 ESV)
But, beyond the new creation, we will be new creatures. We will know how to properly relate to one another as we all properly relate to God. We will not hurt; we will not suffer; we will not hunger; we will not thirst; we will not want. We will not hope, because there will be nothing left for which to hope. Everything will be fulfilled and satisfied.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:2-7 ESV)
More than anything else, we will know God and continue to know more about God throughout eternity. Our questions will be answered. Our doubts will be eased. Our faith will become sight. We will learn what it means to be satisfied with God.
There will be no more faith. There will be no more hope. But, there will always be love.
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. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:12-13 ESV)