By Elaine Knudtson
“Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” sung by Glen Ellyn Chorale
The Messianic Banquet
The eschaton is the “divinely ordained climax of history,” coined by Protestant theologian Charles Harold Dodd in 1935, taken from the Greek eskhaton, meaning “last, furthest, uttermost”. https://www.etymonline.com/word/eschaton It refers to the end of the era, where God and man will once again be reunited. It is the making of all things right, the completion of the work God began at Christmas 2000 years ago. It is heaven on earth, ushered in by the Messianic banquet of the lamb.
Lord, we come to the end of Advent, anticipating the celebration of Christmas with our friends and families. Yet, in the background we know that we have not yet seen the fullness of your promises on earth. We look to the time when wrong will be right, death will be no more, and God will make His home with His people forever. We accept that promise by faith because we cannot imagine what that means or what it would look like. However, you came to us two thousand years ago, humbly, with great love. We know we can trust you to keep your promise to return again in our future.
“I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” Ps. 61:4-5
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. . .” Is. 11:1-3
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” Is. 11:6
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb ‘” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” Rev. 19:7-9
“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever”. Rev. 22:3-5
Jesus ushered in the Kingdom of God through his birth, death and resurrection two thousand years ago in human history. The Law has been interpreted as love for the Lord your God and love for your neighbor as yourself. The ethics of kingdom are contained in the Sermon on the Mount. Membership is through grace, extended to anyone who thirsts. Yet we have not yet seen the fulfillment of all the prophecies in scripture. The world is still broken: sin reigns with hatred, rebellion and injustice. Even the environment is a victim of greed and over consumption. The Kingdom of God was opened to the Gentiles, but we are not living in paradise where God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening. We long to have God with us once again.
As a child, I was intrigued by the image of the lion lying down with the lamb. To be one with nature, to be welcomed back into God’s presence, to have the curse lifted, seemed glorious indeed. The story of Christ’s birth to a simple virgin in Bethlehem captivates our hearts and imaginations. It is elegant in its simplicity and profound in its effect. The ripple effects of that one birth has shaped western civilization for two millennia. We await the second advent, when our risen Lord puts things right for the last time. We long for eternal life, where God and man delight in each other’s presence once again.
Points to Ponder
- What evidence exists that we have not yet received the full measure of what it means to live in the Kingdom of God? What’s missing?
- How has this advent journey broadened your perspective of the Christmas story? What is your personal response to the invitation to “come?”
Dear Lord, we are excited to enter into the festivities of Christmas. Be with us in a special way this year as we consider all that we have encountered on our advent journey. We are overwhelmed by your love and we humbly worship at your feet along with the first shepherds. Glory be to God in the highest.