By Samuel Clough
The glory of God is related to the unfolding revelation of the prophetic Scripture. In other words, as redemptive history unfolds we find that God’s Word becomes more than it seemed when it was first given, though never something other than what was given. The initial covenant of God with man in the garden sets the stage for this entire age which means understanding it is critical to understanding God’s covenantal interaction with man over the course of redemptive history. In God’s interaction with man in the garden we see His original intention for man, an intention that He returns to at the end of the age.
This entire age is the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption to address the crisis that emerged in the garden. If we do not understand this crisis and God’s prophesied resolution to it, then we do not understand the season of redemptive history that we live in.
The Adamic covenant begins in the very beginning of the book of Genesis. It occurs in the first chapters of Scripture in a context about which we have very little information. Scripture is the only resource that we have at our disposal in interpreting the context of the garden and man’s initial state. Since we can only use Scripture to interpret Scripture in the book of Genesis, it is important to understand that Moses assembled Genesis in such a way that the events of man’s early history were being viewed through the lens of the Patriarchs and the promised seed. Moses wrote the book in such a way as to give Israel the context of her unique calling and covenant destiny.
An Overview of the Adamic Covenant
Some use the Adamic covenant as a reference to God’s covenant with Adam both before and after the fall, while others use it to refer only to God’s agreement with Adam in Genesis 3 after the fall. For our purposes, we will reference both covenants as part of the Adamic covenant, but refer to the pre-fall covenant as the Edenic covenant.
- The Edenic Covenant – God’s commandments to man before the fall.
- The Adamic Covenant – God’s covenant with man after the fall.
Though the covenant was made with Adam and Eve specifically, they were representative of the entire human race so the covenant is essentially being made with all mankind.
The Edenic Covenant
26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:26–30 NKJV)
16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16–17 NKJV)
The covenant was made between God and Adam. The covenant consists of several positive commands because man, both male and female, was created in God’s image:
- Man was to subdue the earth.
- Man was given dominion and authority over the earth and the animal kingdom.
- Mankind was to reproduce and inhabit the entire earth.
- Man was to be a vegetarian.
- Man was also to keep the garden sanctuary.
The covenant consisted of one negative command.
- Mankind was not to eat of the tree of good and evil. Although he was made in the very image of God and had delegated authority from God over creation, was to remember that he was subservient to God and incapable of determining good and evil.
- The penalty for breaking this command was death.
We know that God viewed these commands as a covenant because of how He viewed Adam’s fall:
7But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me. (Hosea 6:7 NASB95)
The Adamic Covenant
14So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” 16To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” 17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:14–19 NKJV)
After Adam broke God’s initial covenant and fell, God made a specific covenant with Him related to what conditions would be like for man and how He would restore creation. This part of the covenant, specifically Genesis 3:15, is typically referred to as the protoevangelium or the “first gospel.” This time the covenant involved God, Adam, Eve, and the serpent. God addressed each of them individually in the covenant with man, both male and female, collectively bearing the weight of their sin.
The following aspects of the covenant applied to Adam:
- Adam is ultimately held responsible for his sin and man’s judgment.
- Adam would experience a cursed ground. Work would become difficult and hard. He was made of dust and his sin affected the dust of the earth from which he came and would also return.
- Adam would die.
The following aspects of the covenant applied to Eve.
- The woman would have increased sorrow and pain in the birth of children.
- A power struggle would emerge between man and woman and the man would rule over the woman in a way that was different from the social order in the garden.
The following aspects of the covenant applied to the serpent as a creature:
- The serpent is cursed more than any other animal.
- The serpent would be forced to crawl on his belly on the ground. This curse continues into the millennium (Isaiah 65:25).
The following aspects of the covenant applied to the serpent as satan:
- There would be perpetual hatred between him and the offspring of woman.
- There would be a specific conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
- The woman’s seed would crush the serpent’s head, though he would bruise the heel of the seed. The fact that the serpent could only bruise the heel indicates just how lowly the serpent would be. He could not inflict an injury any more significant than this. Furthermore, the bruised heel would crush his head.
God promises to provide a “seed” that will do the crushing of the serpent. God is intimately present in His judgments. Though he judges the violation of the covenant, He inserts Himself into the scenario and offers redemption. He is not detached from the effects of their sin, but both involved and determined to provide a means of restoration.
The Significance of These Two Covenants
The first part of the covenant is important because it gives us insight in God’s intention for man and His purpose in creating him. While the Edenic context no longer exists, the Scripture ends with a return to a similar context (Revelation 21-22) so understanding God’s initial plan for man gives us great insight in understanding God’s eternal plan for man.
The second part of the Adamic covenant is critical because it is the first covenant made after the fall. It is His initial agreement with us and promise to us in our fallen state. As such, its essential elements define God’s relationship to man in this age and it governs the present state of our existence. This is God’s most concise summary of His redemptive plan. It was designed to deal with the problem that the sin in the garden created and answers important questions about our own existence. It both summarizes what life will be like in this age, and gives God’s answer to the crisis of the fall and His initial prophecy of how He intends to deal with it. It essentially encapsulates God’s entire plan to redeem and restore man in this age.
The Implications of the Adamic Covenant
The first half of the covenant has significant implications for how we understand other passages of Scripture, however we will focus on the implications of the second half of the covenant, because God’s response to the covenant dilemma gives us significant insight into God’s relationship with man and desire for him.
The immediate negative effects of the covenant were a loss of communion and the experience of death entering the human race. The fact that God immediately responded with a solution to the crisis of the covenant shows how deeply important communion with man is to Him and how unnatural death is for mankind. God intends to address the loss of fellowship and the issue of death.
God took on all the responsibility of fulfilling the covenant. In the second part of the covenant, no condition is given to man for the fulfillment of the promise made. It is clear that God Himself will orchestrate and empower the resolution of the covenant promised in Genesis 3:15. No human strength will help Him. This points both to the supernatural nature of His covenant solution and the inability of man to contribute anything to his salvation.
No matter how seductive the enemy’s lies appear there is deep enmity between man and the serpent. In this statement, God exposes all the serpent’s future temptations. No matter how seductive his future lies are, men must remember that the serpent is committed to man’s destruction.
God makes a prediction that both the serpent and the woman will have offspring. The serpent’s offspring will bruise, but the woman’s offspring will crush.This prediction is meant both in the collective sense and the individual sense. In other words, mankind will conquer the serpent, but man conquers through a specific seed. The rest of Old Testament history will record the development of the seed. The community of the promise will be highlighted in the form of Israel, Judah, and finally David’s descendants, but the individual nature of the promise is emphasized through specific individuals who keep the promise alive. At times, the fulfillment rests on just one individual.
In the poetry of God, the serpent will also have offspring. Like the promise made to man, this promise will have both collective and individual applications. For example, Jesus makes reference to the religious leaders being of their father the devil, but redemptive history ends in the individual seed of the serpent stepping on the stage of history. Satan does not naturally reproduce, so the fact that God highlights the “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent” points to supernatural circumstances surrounding the offspring of each. The age will end in the conflict of the two seeds. God’s prediction ends with Eve’s seed crushing the serpent’s seed indicating that the age will end at this point.
A brief overview of this covenant shows us that the nature of God and the nature of our redemption are clearly seen both in the condition of man before the fall and in God’s initial promise to man after the fall. That covenant with Adam gives us a summary of all of redemptive history. This initial covenant is also the governing factor over all subsequent agreements of God with man. It initiates God’s redemptive work in this age and will serve as a foundation for everything that unfolds after it.
By Samuel Clough
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4 (ESV)
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. – Genesis 6:5-6 (ESV)
The Call to Grief
Is not the call into the place of mourning, the call to share God’s own heart? We often feel like we know God in His love and, we sometimes see His anger or other parts of His personality recorded in the Scriptures, but who has known the grief of God? Who among us has asked the share the pain in God’s heart? True we have asked to share in His joys, and this is correct as He invites us into His joys, but there is another level of relationship and that is to be be found in sharing in His grief.
God made man for relationship and valid relationship contains the experiences of both joy and pain. The angels are His servants, and no doubt companions of a sort, but they are not made in His image and likeness. They do not have the same capacity we do to feel the way His heart feels. No doubt they have some level of emotion, but God made our heart after the pattern of His own, so we are be the ones that have the capacity to share His emotions more than any other creature and therefore we should be the ones to carry grief with Him.
The word Jesus used here for mourning can often be used in the sense of mourning or grieving for the dead. It can include the idea of lamentation. While Jesus’ context is not specifically the dead, we must ask who mourns for the death that pervades creation? True we have felt a measure of the pain of the effects of our sin and the glad release of our forgiveness in God, but there should be a mourning as we continue to consider the effects of sin that remain on our body and the weight of sin that remains on the earth.
God’s Grief Over Creation
We were made to be the express image of God and yet we continue to destroy creation with our own sinfulness. Our sin destroys the earth even as we see our own bodies deteriorate because of sin. Do we really consider that man is actively destroying creation with His sin? To make it personal, have you considered that your own sin destroys God’s creation? Furthermore, beyond the issue of death, who mourns for their own sin?
Romans 8 tells us that all of creation is crying out under a burden for its own release. If all of creation is mourning for release to come, how can we not be as well? You see not only does sin destroy you, which is no small thing because you were created for God and in destroying yourself you are destroying the thing that God made for Himself and robbing Him of His creation, but you must realize that nothing is done in isolation.
Every act, whether we perceive it our not, reverberates throughout creation and our sin, no matter how minor in our eyes, does not end with us, but rather effects all of creation. Every secret sin reverberates throughout creation adding to the weight of bondage the creation is already under. We do not have time to fully develop this issue here, but remember that just one sin in the garden so marred creation that it fell to its current state. Our sin destroys God’s creation which is why in Revelation God’s judgment against the wicked is celebrated with the song, “The nations raged, but your wrath came…for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)
Why We Do Not Mourn
Our lack of mourning is rooted in a lack of perspective. We do not mourn because we lack perspective. We are content with an earth and an age that is so marred by sin it barely demonstrates the glory of the original creation. If we understood the original glory of creation and if we understood the honor that Jesus is to have on the earth, and what will happen to the earth when He begins ruling from Jerusalem, our hearts would be filled with mourning in this age, longing for the glory of the age to come. It is our own lack of expectation, understanding, and desire for what is to come that causes our hearts to be content rather than to mourn at what man has done to God’s creation.
If we even barely understood the sacrifice of Jesus, we would be in mourning for His global exaltation. How can we not feel the weight of the Father’s sorrow at the earth’s rejection of His act of redemption? God gave everything He had, eternally marring His own being in the man Jesus and the earth He came to redeem rejected Him unto death. Who cannot mourn? Whose Son has been so abused? Whose Son is so worthy of honor? Who cannot feel the pain of the Father over the issue of the Son and His global exaltation?
Do we consider that Jesus, right now, is highly exalted in the place of rulership over the heavens and the earth and yet, on earth, a cloud of deception persists leaving most men totally ignorant of His rulership? Can we mourn with the Father that most of mankind, His most glorious creation, will ultimately be destroyed because they have persisted in darkness and rejecting the very One that was sacrificed so that they might have life? Can we mourn over how few will receive the advantage of His costly sacrifice?
Who reads the prophets and the book of the Revelation and mourns over the judgments to come? Who has fully considered the events that are going to hit the earth as man’s wickedness are put on full display and Jesus finally breaks in releasing the judgments of God to purge the earth. Anyone who considers these events should come away shaking inside, unable to fully consider what is coming. The shaking coming to the planet is beyond all we can conceive. Can we not mourn with God over what is coming? Can we not share God’s grief over the birth-pains that are to come? The birth-pains coming are the most violent, destructive things coming and God’s heart no doubt is mourning over what the earth must endure in the transition to Jesus’ rule from Zion.
Does anyone grieve with the Father over the trials that are coming to Israel? Does anyone weep over the holocaust to come? To give just one example, Zechariah records two thirds of the nation perishing (Zechariah 13:8-9), but do we weep over it? The Father weeps that His very chosen people are under a cloak of blindness, rejecting the One that can give them live. He is in grief over the events that will fall on His chosen people at the end of the age. We analyze and evaluate the events of the end, but do we mourn with the Father over the things that must come and the real implications of those events?
Many of us are content for the earth to be destroyed, but God is not. The way we would mourn over a son lost in sin, longing to see him restored rather than destroyed, so God longs to see His creation restored rather than destroyed. We must ask for the revelation of God’s love over all creation that we may feel His present grief over the condition of it. His grief is deeper than any parent’s grief over a prodigal son. His handiwork is constantly destroyed as the ones He gave stewardship to continue to defile it.
We need a vision of God’s brokenheartedness over a world that rests under a weight of constant sin rejecting the very One that gives life. We need an understanding of the liberation of creation to come. God is not coming to the planet to destroy it, but to liberate it from sin gloriously. We are offered this moment in time to share in God’s grief. There will be a time when our own bodies, and all creation, will be liberated from sin in the ultimate act of comfort and we will share then in God’s joy over the restoration of creation. In this age, though, it is the time of mourning. We mourn over the damage of sin in own hearts first and then the damage of sin in the entire cosmos. It is a unique invitation to mourn, because it will not always be available.
Those that mourn now will have shared God’s grief with Him. When we step into the age to come those who have shared His grief will have an unusual friendship with God. We cannot mourn unless we share His heart. To enter into the place of mourning, we must have revelation from God to our hearts about what He really feels about creation.
We must know what is in God’s heart as His Son is mocked and disparaged day after day. We have to feel what is in God’s heart as He watches man destroy man with brutality. We need to feel God’s heart as the innocent girl is seduced and the love she was created for destroyed by a man’s sexual drive. We need to consider the longing in God’s heart to restore creation and install His Son in His rightful place as king over the earth. We need revelation to enter into this place of mourning.
Sadly, we are often too content with this age to share God’s grief over it. We wait for some sort of release, which we call heaven, from our present trials but the reality is what we’re really wanting is to just be free of some difficulties. We fail to perceive the real weight of sin that rests on the entire creation, even in it’s joys.
We fail to feel the oppression that is constant so long as sin is not banished completely. We are escapist looking to fly away to heaven when God is set on redeeming the earth. We fail to love what God loves. God loves the earth and intends to gloriously renovate it and restore it. God has bound Himself to earth, both in promises, and in taking on the very dirt of the earth in His own incarnation.
The Precious Opportunity for Eternal Intimacy with God in Present Mourning
Intimate relationships are not just forged in joys, they are forged in sorrows. When you consider those who are closest friends, it is those who shared your grief with you. You may be separated from those friends by distance and life changes, but you always feel a connection to those who shared your griefs with you. Anyway can laugh with you, but it is only a select few who can cry with you.
Innately we often hide our pain from one another because we know that if we lay out the burden of our hearts on an acquaintance it is uncomfortable for them. Likewise, if another unloads their sorrows on us our first response is typically discomfort unless we are closely related to the person. While joys may be shared freely, sharing grief with others is uncomfortable and awkward without intimacy . We know that in life there are only a handful of friends that will share our sorrows. The sharing of sorrows requires intimacy.
God too shares His sorrows with His friends. In the age to come those that shared God’s grief with Him now in this age will have a special place in God’s heart. Many desire to share the joys of His heart and the blessings of His nearness, but few turn aside and ask Him to also share His grief.
While we come, time and time again, asking Him to minister to our hearts, and rightfully so, let us turn aside and ask Him how we can minister to His heart. Let us, like the friends of Job, come sit with God just to share His grief. Let us come just to minister to Him as man was made to do. Real relationship is forged as we walk with God through the sorrows of this age and not just the joys.
In His grief preparing for the cross, Jesus asked the disciples to pray and watch with them, but they could only sleep. They were weary and ignorant of the depths of pain that was in Jesus’ heart. He longed for some companions and yet He was forced to grieve alone. Obviously they could not have born the depth of His own grief over what was coming, but they could have comforted His heart in some measure. God was looking for men to share grief with Him, even if they did not understand it, and they were unable to comfort the Lord’s heart.
Are we able to comfort our God’s heart? The earth is racing towards a final judgment. The earth is under a weight of sin that causes a pain in God’s heart that we cannot understand. Moment by moment men die eternally lost and God grieves. Those He made for Himself choose destruction. We cannot bear the weight of pain in the earth, but do we mourn? Do we even make ourselves available to share His heart in grief or are we, like the disciples, too ignorant tired or distracted to share our God’s grief?
In the age to come, as the reign of Jesus on the earth restores creation, these sorrows will be destroyed. They will be a memory in God’s heart and in our own. However, those that shared those sorrows with God will have created a depth in their relationship with God that will last forever. Today, let us set our hearts to minister to the living God in sharing His sorrow. Let us examine our hearts rightly and mourn before our God for everything in our hearts, and even our bodies, that bears the marks of sin. Let us fix our eyes on God’s dream, the liberation of redeemed man and all of creation through the rule of His Son.
By Samuel Clough
Recently I was spending some time with one of my daughters and at her request, we ended up watching one of her videos. When it stopped, the television defaulted to a Christian channel and they were showing a movie of Noah and the ark. She begged to watch it, so we watched some of it. It was a great example of what I would call “Biblical film making.” The dialogue was a little humorous in that the language was so archaic that it made King James English almost seem conversational. At the same time Noah seemed to always be looking off into the distance making profound statements with an air of wisdom about him. Regardless of Noah’s depiction, their depiction of the ark was actually interesting. They had an interesting view of how the ark was laid out and what life was like inside the ark both for people and animals. However, after the initial ark scene, I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen.
After the ark was loaded, Noah and his family were secured in the ark and soon the rain began to fall. As the rains fell the ark slowly began to be lifted and drift on top of the waters. At the same time the people outside the ark were panicking and frantically climbing to the highest places they could find to escape the water that was slowly overtaking them as a steady and unstoppable force. In the midst of this, there is a scene inside the ark where you can hear the muted sounds of screaming and shrieks from from all those that are lost outside the ark and frantically trying to escape the ever encroaching waters. As you hear these sounds, Noah’s wife has a look on her face of horror. Up until now the family hasn’t fully considered their predicament, and suddenly the full realization of what is going on strikes them. Noah’s wife looks to Noah and their eyes meet. Her expression is begging the question, “am I really hearing what I think I’m hearing?” Here Noah’s family is saved in the midst of cataclysmic destruction and yet the realization is finally hitting them that everything is real. Everything Noah had been preaching had been words up until this point, but now those words were reality and the terror of the reality was more than any of them anticipated.
I was so struck with that scene that I trembled on the inside. My mind raced to the Scriptures and I considered more and more how every time I pick up the Scriptures I am seeing such a clear declaration of the coming Day of the Lord. Whether it is the historical books, the prophets, the gospels, the acts of the early church, or the apocalypse of Revelation, there is a consistent and persistent declaration of the Day of the Lord in the Scriptures. It is almost as if there is a veil causing us to miss the preeminence the Day of the Lord has in the Scriptures and when that veil begins to lift, one is astounded as just how much of the Scriptures is given over to declaring that God is coming to the planet and that coming is something so dramatic that words fail in the description of it.
The prophets saw and declared this coming day. The Jews so anticipated that day that when John Baptist declared that Messiah was coming, they were baptized in repentance to prepare themselves for the day. In fact, the primary stumbling block for the first century Jews was that they were expecting the ultimate day of the Lord and not a coming that, in kindness, made available a redemption prior to that cataclysmic day. In Paul’s writings, we find that he motivated both himself and the saints he wrote to by exhorting them that they would be found in Christ on that day.
The coming of that day and the ensuing events were the cornerstone of the apostolic proclamation and the motivation to declare the gospel to the earth that as many as possible might be saved in the great day of God that was coming. Remember that salvation Biblically is mostly presented as a future thing and what we have failed to perceive is that future salvation is not just salvation from hell, but salvation in the great Day of the Lord. This doesn’t negate the present need of an encounter with God or of being born again, but rather our present experience of redemption and the indwelling presence of the Spirit, among other things, gives us assurance of full salvation on that day.
Every temporal judgment is a warning of an ultimate day of reckoning for the earth and those who have walked upon it. While we often focus on whether current events are judgments or not we miss the fact that any present judgment event is merely an illustration that is meant to point us to that ultimate day and warn us of a judgment that far surpasses anything we have presently experienced. Even the flood, as cataclysmic as it was, was not an event in itself, but rather meant to be an prophetic picture to shock and awaken us to the nature of what’s coming when God comes to the planet.
The issue of God’s coming is not an issue merely of an angry deity, but rather the issue of what happens when the One who is truly perfect and good comes into full contact with all the evil on the earth and in man. The drama of that day is actually part of the love and kindness of God because the present evil that we tolerate is having horrific effects on creation that we don’t even recognize because we are so numb to it. Since we are part of the environment and over it we can’t even see the full effects on our environment of the evil dwelling within us. God is not content to see this destruction continue forever and so His coming brings a massive judgment that is rooted, not in anger, but in perfect love.
I have to believe that, like Noah’s family, this event may be a part of our creeds and theology, but that our hearts have not truly anticipated just how devastating and traumatic this day is going to be. The Scriptures clearly describe an event that man cannot endure and that even the earth can barely endure. Regardless of how literal your hermeneutic is, and the further I go the more convinced I am that the Scriptures are far more literal than we have imagined, as you read the prophetic scriptures concerning this day, anyone who seriously considers these events will come to the conclusion that this day is going to be beyond anything any of us have imagined.
Jesus said that the end would be “as in the days of Noah.” He chose the days of Noah as the example of the end. Just as in the days of Noah, men live totally ignorant of the impending judgment. Men scoff at the idea that God is going to judge all wickedness and restore the earth in purity and goodness just as He has promised. As in the days of Noah, God has made an ark of escape in Jesus that we might endure that terrible day when God comes to earth in holiness and in zeal to cleanse and redeem the earth. And the real terror of that day is that, as in the days of Noah, the horror of what is coming will not be fully evident until the event is fully in motion and there is nothing that can be done.
The real horror of the look on Noah’s wife’s face is that she only understood the magnitude of what was happening after it was too late to take any more action. By the time she fully understood what was going on it was too late to do anything about it. It was too late to prepare any more. It was too late to warn others, and it was too late to rescue any more souls. The door was closed and the deluge had come and there was nothing that could be done to stop it. So too the real terror of the Day of the Lord is going to be that we will only fully grasp it on that day and on that day it will be too late to prepare our hearts to face the fullness of God and too late to declare to others the need to repent that they may be saved in that day. What has been done will have been done. In that moment, the fog will lift and we will clearly see our lives and actions for what they were and the pain of regret, which for some will be an eternal terror, will be immense.
Just like Noah’s family in the movie, believers are living in intellectual assent to the idea that Jesus is coming but with virtually no understanding of just what that day is going to be like and no preparation for it. Our theology may be correct in our hearts, but in our hearts we live as though everything that day will destroy is actually permanent. That day will literally shake the earth. Men will seek the escape of death because of the appearance of a holy God on the planet. We must begin to read the Scriptures simply, taking them at face value, and see that throughout the entire book there is a consistent declaration that God is coming to physically dwell on the earth among His people, and that coming will demand a complete judgment of all that is wicked and a restoration of the earth. We must also begin to see that all other themes in Scripture are in the context of this coming day and God’s purpose for it.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; – Isaiah 61:1-2 (ESV)
We are presently living in the year of God’s favor. It is the time period when salvation is made available. God in His immense love and kindness has repeatedly, though His Word and through messengers each generation, warned us of the events to come and provided, at the cost of His own blood, an ark of escape in that great day. However, this salvation makes little sense without the context of the day of vengeance against all wickedness, no matter how minor or how subtle, that is coming. One thing is sure: Something is coming far beyond what we can imagine. We are presently blessed with a period of time to come under God’s mercy and allow Him to prepare us that we might stand on that day, but this blessing will be a curse in that day if we find, like Noah’s family, that it never was real to us.
If you are not right with God through Jesus Christ, I don’t have words that are strong enough to urge you to turn your heart to the cleansing in Jesus Christ that you might be prepared for that day. If you are already a believer, I would challenge you that you probably do not live in preparation for that day. Like Noah’s family, we have heard the message but we really haven’t anticipated exactly what that day will be. Most of us are expecting the inauguration of some sort of utopia and heavenly retirement age and this bears no resemblance to the way the Scripture describes this day. While the end result is a cleansing and a perfect dwelling with God, we have grossly estimated the trauma of that process and the full purity of our God.
The reality is that this coming day is so dramatic that none of us can fully anticipate what is coming. Even those who give their hearts to prepare will, in some measure, stand like Noah’s family trembling under the weight of it all when it actually unfolds. Saints, that day is clearly described in Scripture if we only open our eyes to read it. Let us prepare our hearts in accordance with what the Scriptures really say while allowing our hearts to take the message to all those who are unprepared for this day. Malachi perhaps has the best summary of our predicament:
But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears? – Malachi 3:2a (ESV)
Posted in Apostolic, Eschatology, Genesis, Judgment, Malachi, Prophecy/Prophetic, The Flood | Tagged apostolic, deception, Eschatology, flood, holiness, kingdom, noah, prophetic, salvation, theology | 3 Responses