Done, complete, over, through, accomplished, FINISHED! Doesn’t it feel good get done with something? A job you’ve worked on, something you began and couldn’t even picture the end of when you started? There are a lot of things we’re not particularly excited about doing to begin with, so the end of them is a time of rejoicing! Other things we enjoy and are sad to see end. Either way, reaching a sense of completion is part and parcel of who we are–how we’re made up.
This reality flows through the Word of God as well. Think about these accounts:
- God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth, and they were FINISHED (Genesis 2:1).
- Moses made the tabernacle in the wilderness and FINISHED the work (Exodus 40:33).
- Moses wrote all the works of the law until they were FINISHED (Deuteronomy 31:24).
- Joshua FINISHED all the words the Lord by Moses commanded him to speak to the people (Joshua 4:10).
- Solomon built the temple, the house of the Lord, and FINISHED it (1 Kings 6:14).
- Nehemiah built the wall around a ruined Jerusalem and FINISHED it (Nehemiah 6:15).
- The Jews released from exile rebuilt the destroyed temple under Ezra’s leadership and FINISHED it (Ezra 6:15).
- Babylonian king Belshazzar drank from the holy vessels of the house of God in a drunken feast, but God told him Belshazzar he had numbered his kingdom and FINISHED it (fulfilled by his death in an unexpected enemy invasion that very night). (Daniel 5:25)
- Jesus said in the prayer for his disciples the night before his crucifixion that he had FINISHED the work he came to do (John 17:4 and 19:30)
- Jesus’ last breath from the cross declared the completion of what the body of his mortal flesh was born to do, crying as he died: “It is FINISHED!”
- Daniel in his prophesy, and John in his Revelation, spoke of all things, and the mystery of God, being FINISHED. (Daniel 12:7, Revelation 10:7)
The BIG Picture
The earth was never made to last forever. God has described its end for thousands of years, but in the coming of his Son, the Godhead robed in flesh, he made a way for all of us who obey him to be translated into the Kingdom of God. Those in his Kingdom, who are living in obedience to his word at the time these things unfold will witness the end of all things victoriously, as those who “have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Do you love his appearing? Are you excited about his return? Really excited to know the earth that is groaning and travailing until it is delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God?
The classic book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, provided an overview of an alternate “world” that successive groups of children were allowed to see being created, inhabited, populated over generations and finally facing its “Last Battle”. The final book in the series by that title portrays the end of the world of Narnia and the eternal rest of those who have been the faithful in its various spans of time. The series allows one an overview of the natural process of a fictional world, with its end being as natural and real as its beginning.
If we look at it this way, the events foretold in Revelation and other prophetic writings in the Bible don’t seem like something foreboding or out-of-place: they are the natural end to what God began “In the beginning…”. It has to end, because it was begun with the end in mind. For those who are following the course of truth and righteousness God laid from the foundation of the world, the joy of the end anticipated is very real. For those who aren’t, the foreboding is the perfectly appropriate response.
If you were to plant a garden, fertilize and water it, then sit back and put your feet up for a few weeks, what would happen? Would the seeds grow? Probably — but would they grow alone? Not likely. Maybe they would produce some vegetables, but you’d not be able to find them among all the weeds when it was time to harvest, right? What’s the remedy for that? Gotta’ work on it little every day, don’t you? Pull a few weeds here, plow the middles if you can, hoe the places you can get to that way. But doing nothing will inevitably bring disaster, because something will be happening whether you want to acknowledge it or not, won’t it?
Dave Ramsey, popular author and financial teacher, is prone to challenging his listeners and readers with sayings like, “Who knew Christmas was in December this year???!!!” Ok, so that’s ridiculous enough to get our attention on points like, “You know it’s coming, why aren’t you preparing for it?” Christmas is not an “emergency”, though some people borrow money, use a credit card or dip into savings to pay for it (OK, we’ve all done it, but then we’ve all done other financially unwise things as well sometime or other, right?). Christmas only became an “emergency” to us when we failed to acknowledge that it was coming, and that the wisest course of action was to sacrifice a little something in advance so that we’d be well ready and prepared when it arrived.
What’s your point?
Do these ideas have any relevance to the concept we’re talking about? Well, yes, they do. We know the end of all things is coming, whether for us first or for the world as a whole (at the same time or different times doesn’t really matter). But we behave as though we can sit back and let things progress without taking any action, and come out alright in the end.
Yet, sometimes we get wake-up calls: sitting with the mother of a two-year-old tragically lost to an accident or seeing the images of children fighting life-threatening illness at St. Jude’s — where the unthinkable that has become reality for some parents — the concept that our expectation of long life is only an expectation, not a guarantee, is once again drilled home.
The world is getting darker, the end is prophesied, and for the most part, the general public treat the idea as though it’s either a long way off, or just too frightening to think about. Yet Jesus plainly told his followers, to “look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.” when they saw certain signs approaching. My point is, if you’re dreading his return, or filled with dread of the end time, that in itself is a wake-up call to “make your calling and election sure”.
So what do I do?
The Apostles obeyed Jesus’ commandments to go into all the world and preach the Gospel by preaching one Gospel message: Repent ,and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38). Peter, John, Phillip, Paul are all described as preaching and practicing this Gospel message exclusively. Paul said in Galatians 1:8 that no one, not even Paul himself, could change the Gospel that already had been preached by him. Many claim that Paul’s writings in Romans and other books of the New Testament teach that believing alone, or confessing, etc. were all that the Gospel message contained. The power that accompanied his true message as preached in the Book of Acts is absent from the teaching of these people. A church that will preach Acts 2:38 as the method of salvation, and obeys the Word of God with regard to holiness, modesty and true Godly living, standing and contending for the faith, can provide you with a firm foundation for your life that will enable you to know that God will take his beloved, his elect bride through whatever things that are coming on the earth, and will bring us out of this world by his power and Spirit in his appointed time. He will make our hearts right, and ready and able to “love his appearing”.
You can hear awesome preaching that will help you prepare for what’s to come at:
Bay Springs, MS
By the grace of God, we’re getting to experience a taste of
Church the way it was meant to be…
and glad to know there’s more where that came from!