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God's heart to bless, from the beginning of time, will manifest at the end of time. Listen to that again. At the final consummation, God's original intention to bless will be fully realized. The blessings he's promised in the past will manifest in their full glory in the future.
We now perceive the first fruits, the awakening of that glory. But when the full glory comes, its expression will be in the covenantal commitments that God,
made back in Genesis 12 to Abram and Sarai,
which were a fulfillment of covenant promises made back in Genesis 9 to Noah and the nations,
which were a fulfillment to God's covenant blessings upon all the works of his hands in Genesis 1, 2, and 3.
The eschatological fullness that awaits us is best described by one Hebrew term: shalom. That is the word that summarizes our study.
Shalom is a vibrant and variegated word that speaks of completeness. It speaks of coming into wholeness, righteousness, harmony, peace, and joy. Shalom speaks of the right relationship between God and his creatures, and his entire created order. But it also speaks to the right relationship within the created order itself.
He says in Isaiah 54, "I'm going to make a covenant of shalom between me and you, Israel." What will characterize that day? Look at Isaiah 11, as just one illustration. Through the Messiah of Israel and Israel itself, when this great transformation comes, verses 6-9 tell us that the natural order is going to be changed.
"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea."
Dear friends, who did Yahweh commission to preserve the knowledge of himself and his revelation? Who has he joined to that people and appointed to take the good news of God's kingship, ruling and reigning—in Messiah Jesus—to all the nations?
Let's look at two more vitally important texts. In Ezekiel 37, we see the big picture. How do we come to this fulfillment of ultimate blessing? How does God draw history to a conclusion? Please read this great chapter, especially verses nine and following. For time's sake, let's start with verse 25.
The context of this prophecy is the final revelation, the great consummation. "They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever."
"I will make a covenant of peace [shalom] with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them." Of whom is he talking? His people, Israel. They will live in the land where their forefathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever. David, my servant (that's a code word for Messiah), will be their prince forever.
Now listen to this,
"And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."
Do you feel the weight of all this? Does it engender hope in you? God's consummation of all things does not annul his relationship with Israel. Heaven forbid! Instead, it confirms and demonstrates his covenant faithfulness before all the nations. That is a God we can trust!
He says the following in Ezekiel 39:27, "when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands." He's talking about the offspring of Abraham here, the Jewish people, and how he will show himself holy through them, "and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations."
"Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face any more from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD."
Here is the sequence, the consummation of God's blessing begins with Israel and then spreads to the nations. Another excellent text emphasizing this point is Micah 4:1-4. You can read that on your own. The truth is that God's enduring relationship with Israel is not to the detriment but to the blessing of the church.
And it powerfully underscores the heart of what I am sharing with you in this teaching. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the Holy One of Israel who Jesus taught us to call our Father—is a God of blessing. He is the God of Shalom. His-story is one of Creation, Covenant, Blessing, and Consummation.
In the beginning, the movement of God goes from creation (Genesis 1-3) to covenant (Genesis 12). At the end of time, the sequence is reversed. The movement of God goes from covenant with Israel to the new creation.
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13: 20-21).
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