By David Faust
It’s a common saying. You experience a minor mishap and shrug your shoulders. You dent your car’s bumper. Your cell phone bites the dust. You waste money on an impulse purchase that turns out to be nonreturnable. “Oh well,” you say to yourself, “it’s not the end of the world.”
You may have used the same expression to deal with more serious disappointments: a lost job, a broken relationship, a worrisome medical diagnosis. “It’s bad news,” you reason, “but it’s not the end of the world.”
What if it Were?
Here’s a question: What if it were? What would be the condition of your soul if today marked the end of the world?
Some see history as a pointless, repetitive cycle; but in the Hebrew worldview, individuals and nations are headed toward a goal as God’s purpose unfolds. The Old Testament described a coming “day of the Lord”—a time of reckoning, a season of judgment and blessing. The prophets mingled promises with warnings, cataclysmic predictions with comforting assurances. In light of the New Testament, Christians look toward the future with faith, for the last book of the Bible describes “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).
Something Better than Today
Isaiah 65 points toward the new covenant God would make with his people, and Isaiah framed his prophetic picture of the end of the world with hope for those who trust in the Lord:
• When this worn-out world ends, something better will replace it. “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).
• In this new era there will be great joy. “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create . . . . I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more” (vv. 18, 19).
• Time limitations will be altered. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years” (v. 20).
• Work will be fruitful and satisfying. “My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands” (v. 22).
• Calamities will give way to blessings. “They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord” (v. 23).
• Communication with God will be clear and unhindered. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (v. 24).
• The consequences of nature’s curse will be undone. “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox . . . . They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain” (v. 25).
There remain many mysteries about the future, but no matter what danger, confusion, and terror plagues the earth, God’s good purpose will not be detoured. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
|May 30||M.||Exodus 23:14-19||A Day of Celebration|
|May 31||T.||Exodus 16:25-30||A Day of Rest|
|June 1||W.||Deuteronomy 26:14b-19||A Day of Agreement|
|June 2||T.||Isaiah 65:13-19||A Day Without Tears|
|June 3||F.||2 Timothy 4:1-8||A Day to Finish|
|June 4||S.||Matthew 24:42-47||A Day for Faithfulness|
|June 5||S.||Zephaniah 1:4-6, 14-16; 2:3||A Day of Reckoning|