The End of the Story
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with mankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people and God Himself will be with them.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning, crying or pain, for the old order has passed away.
And the one who sat on the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.”
Revelation 21: 3–5
It is always tempting to think of the Bible as a novel, a story with a beginning a middle and an end, with a turning point or peripety somewhere in the middle. And this is almost but not quite true. The first words are: “In the beginning God created” and the last words, other than the blessing, are “Come, Lord Jesus.” It has often been pointed out that the story begins in a garden, its peripety or moment of unexpected, fulfilling grace, takes place in a garden, and at the end believers are welcomed to the new city, a walled garden in which there is no more pain, death, or darkness, in which Jesus wipes the tears from faithful eyes.
Another pattern that makes the Bible novel-like is God’s work of restoration, from the first day of creation when the Holy Spirit hovered over dark and formless chaos to bring light, form, and fullness, through the cleansing of a world from which righteousness had fled with the great flood, the gift of stability to nature, the giving of moral form at Sinai, and the prophetic promise of the renewed heart and the fulfillment of that promise at Pentecost, all moments which look forward to Christ’s return in glory and the gathering of the elect from the four corners of the earth. Continue reading “Fifth Sunday after Easter”