Kingdom tomorrow- and why expectation can drive us mad.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men. And he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and he himself, God with them, shall be their God; 4 and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be sorrow, nor crying, nor pain any more: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said, Write: for these words are true and certain. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life I will give freely. 7 He who overcomes will inherit this, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. " (Revelation 21:1 ff).
"And he shewed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of the street of the city; and on either side of the river were trees of life, bearing twelve times their fruit, yielding their fruit every month; and the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more cursed things. And the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the city, and his servants shall serve him, 4 and shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no more night, neither shall they need the light of a lamp, nor the light of the sun: for the Lord God shall shine upon them, and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 And he said unto me, These words are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets hath sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly take place. 7 Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book. 8 And I, John, have heard and seen these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 And he said to me, Do not do this. I am thy fellow servant, and the fellow servant of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the words of this book. Worship God! 10 And he said unto me, Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 Let him that doeth evil continue to do evil, and him that is unclean continue to be unclean: but let him that doeth righteousness continue to do righteousness, and him that is holy continue to be holy. 12 Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the whoremongers, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and all that love and walk in falsehood. 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the sake of the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the Bride say Come; and whosoever heareth, let him say, Come; and whosoever thirst, let him come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18 I testify unto all them that hear the words of this prophecy which are written in this book, If any man shall add unto it, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book. 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says Yes, I am coming soon. - Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with everyone! (Revelation 22:1ff)
Swords into ploughshares. Never again war. No more misery, no more sorrow, no more death.
No more curse, no more revenge, no more fear. No more reason not to trust. No more reason to protect. No more weapons. No more striving. No more rushing and perfectionism, no more worrying about tomorrow.
No more being lied to. No more being fooled, taken in, manipulated and left disillusioned and broken.
No more violence and anger, no more oppression and suffering. Never again to be excluded, never again to be allowed or unable to belong.
Transformed bodies, bright light shining in us and through us. Superiors who have submitted their will to the ONE who is Justice, Love, Salvation, Healing, Provider, Lord, King, Source.
The love of God shining through the governments of the new earth. Satisfaction. Tears wiped away. No exploitation, no child labour, no hunger. No climate change, no Ku Klux Klan. No racism. No wounded souls, no traumas.
It will be over and the new will begin.
It sounds like a fairy tale, and many say that life is only possible when both exist - pain and joy, lies and truth, hopelessness and new hope - that death has life in it, that life brings death.
I don't believe that.
I believe that only there can life really begin.
The truly free life, the truly free dance. Only then, when this nightmare pressure that is on us is completely gone, are we really free. Free to really see the beauty and the glory and the incomprehensible love of an incomprehensible God.
And yes, we will rejoice, freed from the chains that held us. Freed from all that we have sought in false sources.
God's announcement is clear:
Those who abused you will not come. Those who have lied to you and deceived you will not come. Those who have always treated others like objects, seeking only their own satisfaction, will not come. All that is false, all that is oppressive, all that is controlling, all that is destructive will be done away with - and those who have served this side, who have been dedicated to the goals of destruction, power and oppression, will be no more.
When I think of what God is promising here, it is a radiant joy that fills me with unbelieving wonder:
"Really? Can this be true? It sounds too good to be true, Lord!"
There is a movement going on in the States right now that always leaves me a little perplexed.
They act like children who can't wait for a promised gift:
"Yes, you'll get your Nintendo Switch, but not yet. Later."
Everyone, absolutely everyone, who has children knows the drama that ensues when they are promised something BEFORE they get it: You often wish you hadn't told them! They go crazy.
They wait patiently for a while, but then it's over: "Can't we say, Mum, that we can buy it at Easter? We could make it so that I pay half and you pay the other half? That's totally unfair, the others already have it!"
And as soon as the first signs appear, the first birthday presents arrive, the cake is baked, the looks become promising and say: "Look, only 14 days to your birthday! ", some, and not a few of them start to search their cupboards for what they were promised, because they can't wait any longer - they want to "celebrate" their birthday in advance - if only the longed-for thing was finally, finally here!
No, perseverance is not our strength.
The Kingdom Now movement makes me alternate between unspeakable anger and hilarious outbursts of laughter. They remind me of those rebellious teenagers. They talk about total restoration, complete healing, heaven on earth. EVERYONE will be healed. EVERYONE will be set free. And it MUST be so.
Well, they are not so wrong, but their timing is very wrong.
They are impatient and they want by all means to receive a gift from an Almighty Father that He has not yet provided. I admit that anyone who has a relationship with God knows this waiting and it drives me crazy too. He tells you: " Look forward to it!" - and then it takes time. And it takes more time. And what you don't realise is that there is often a long, long way between the announcement of the promise and the fulfilment.
The temptation is great to decide at some point to "just do it yourself".
Some, especially towards the end of the long wait, go back 99 doors when they only need to go through one to be there: "He's not coming back, you see! We have to make sure he comes back now, or: we are the ones who are the problem, and he is not coming at all".
The problem is:
What this impatience to force produces is nothing but ashes and disappointment. It is an attempt to concoct what only the giver himself can give, to create a claim out of all the little promises that cannot be derived from them. And the more you realise that it doesn't work, the more you despair that it must work.
The kingdom of tomorrow is promised, not the kingdom of now. That which you receive before the appointed time cannot be real. For the Father alone has determined when it shall be that the door shall be opened wide, and all who have waited with expectation for that day shall stream in.
Until then, you know, until then we will experience little moments in which His reality will be revealed to us. Until then, we can trust that the day will come when we will see him, and with him, and in him, all suffering will disappear.
When the novel is at its most suspenseful, its most convoluted, its most dramatic, when we lose the plot and don't know how this crap is ever going to be resolved - then the chances are very high that, in each successive chapter, the threads will suddenly unravel and things will fall into place.
May we trust, even when some rebellious teenagers are rummaging through chests of drawers trying to force God's return. Yes, they're causing a lot of suffering, and I don't think God is very happy about it, to say the least.
But He will put an end to it.
And what we can trust is that He always keeps His promises. If we persevere. And persevere. And persevere. Two thousand years? They are like two watches of the night or two days for God. Jesus has just returned to the Kingdom of God, and man, he said that he had to prepare our dwellings. And that he will come back when everything is ready.
Then we will see. All sickness gone. Everything restored. A new, untouched, beautiful earth. Fruits full of sap and trees wild and green. Air as pure and sweet as it ever was. Light without shadow. Be patient.
You know, God once made me a promise, and I tried to force it.
All that came out was ashes.
Better to press reset and say: I know this day will come.
And to rejoice instead of manipulating something that is not yet here, that is not yet ripe. Which will come when HE decides.
Because manipulation, that's abuse of power. And Satan's kingdom is lies.
No, no one finds truth there.
And Satan has stolen nothing from us that he was not allowed to steal. Jesus missed nothing in his death on the cross. And no, we have not overlooked any duty that would bring him more quickly.
Excitement and expectation sometimes make strange flowers bloom.
But you know, if someone else bought us the Nintendo Switch instead of Dad, it wouldn't be the same. And the birthday will come. It becomes more certain every day. He hasn't forgotten his promise.
We're just impatient and can't stand the suspense anymore.
But we don't have to destroy the world and we don't have to hate it. We do not have to wage wars of faith over it, nor do we have to command God to do something He has good reasons for not wanting to do yet.
May we wait for him, the Bridegroom. Until then, let us play with what we have been given - and invite many, many more to the party. In anticipation and with an inner radiance that no one can take away from us.
"Christ also was offered once to bear the sins of many; the second time he appears, not for sins, but for the salvation of those who wait for him. "(Hebrews 9:28)
He comes for the salvation of those who wait for him. Are you waiting for him? I stand at the door, squirming, waiting for the moment when it opens. And then... I will run. And rejoice. And fall into his arms.
Maranatha. A great good is coming.
Sibylle/Daughter of Zion.