The Final Advent of Christ
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
As there is a First Advent and a daily advent, so too there is a final Advent. Just as the focus of the First Advent is Christ coming in flesh, so too the focus of the Second Advent is Christ coming in flesh. This time, however, He will not come as a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manager; this time He will come as a bridegroom carrying His bride over the threshold of Jordan into the New Jerusalem. As Canaan provided temporal rest for the physical descendants of Abraham, the coming Christ will provide eternal rest for His spiritual descendants.
In the Final Advent, the land promises that God made to Abraham will be fully and finally consummated, in that Paradise lost will become Paradise restored. As such, Canaan is typological of a renewed cosmos. Indeed, Abraham, like Isaac and Jacob, viewed living in the Promised Land in much the same way that a stranger would view living in a foreign country. Why? Because as the writer of Hebrews makes plain that, “he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). As such, Abraham looked beyond binding borders and boundaries to a day in which the meek would “inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5; cf. Psalm 37:11, 22).
I don’t know about you, but the more I think about the new heaven and the new earth, the more excited I get! It is simply incredible to think that one day soon we will not only experience the resurrection of our carcasses, but we will experience the renewal of the cosmos and the Final Advent of our Creator. We will literally have heaven on earth. Not only will we experience God’s fellowship as Adam and Eve did, but we will see the Second Adam face-to-face. God in flesh will live in our midst. And we will never come to the end of exploring the infinite, inexhaustible I AM or the grandeur and glory of His incomparable universe.
Those who die in Christ will experience the new heaven and the new earth as both a physical place in creation and as the personal presence of the Creator:
“The dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and
be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There
will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the
old order of things has passed away.’
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making
everything new!” (Revelation 21:3–5)
This Christmas, as you celebrate the First Advent of our Lord, may His presence in Word and Sacrament sustain you spiritually and may you fix your focus with eager anticipation on the Final Advent of the Babe of Bethlehem—now a Bridegroom returning with His Bride.
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.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
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.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1–9)
What are differences and similarities between the First Advent of Christ and the final one?
As Mary and Joseph experienced Jesus face-to-face in the First Advent, so too you will experience the physical presence of Christ in the Second Advent. Focus on seeing Jesus face-to-face. What do you think that will be like?
It Came upon the Midnight Clear
It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven’s
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come with
peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats o’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains, they bend on hovering wing,
And ever, o’er its Babel sounds, the blessed angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong;
And men, at war with men, hear not the love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.
For lo! The days are hastening on, by prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years shall come the Age of Gold,
When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.