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Are you good at waiting? What has been the most frustrating wait you have ever endured?
** Continued from “Seventh-day” Adventist yesterday **
What’s in a name? A lot - when it comes to the name Seventh-day Adventist.
The second part - “Adventist” - reaches forward.
Starting again with Israel, the hope for salvation was embedded in their culture and faith from the moment of God’s first prophecy - His promise to Satan, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). From day one, God had a plan to undo the devil - to conquer evil. And the Hebrew people knew this promise would come through the “seed” of our first parents. A Messiah would be born.
Messiah movements and moments sprouted often in the Old Testament time of expectation. Was David the Messiah? Was Cyrus? The prophets called both men God’s “Anointed” - an equally good translation is “Messiah”. In anticipation the prophets reflected on God’s men - David, Moses, Abraham and Noah - the forbearers of the Hebrew faith. When the Messiah came - the Israelites believed - He would be great like these men. Like David, he would rule as a powerful King. Like Moses, he would stand against the evil oppressors and deliver people from bondage. Like Abraham, he would follow God with conviction. Like Noah he would build a safe place to protect the people from death and destruction.
But when the Messiah came, He came like Adam - a new Adam - the first of his kind. Jesus was both God and man. He came in His fullness. 100 Percent God. 100 Percent man. And in this God-man state, He showed the best of God and the best of humanity. But He looked nothing like powerful David, passionate Moses, faithful Abraham or persistent Noah. Jesus looked like any other average man. Until he opened His mouth in parables, His hands in healing and - ultimately - His heart in death. This first Advent - appearing of God - was expected and yet a surprise.
The second Advent - the return of this God-man as the King of the heavenly Kingdom He talked so much about - is eminent. Just as scripture spoke of the Messiah coming to save Israel, so it promises His return to save Earth - to make all things new. To recreate creation. To end death. To destroy the devil.
Just as they looked to the first Advent, the prophets look forward to the second Advent by reflecting back. Kingdoms have risen and fallen, Daniel said, from Media-Persia to Greece into four kingdoms that will fragment and fray at the edges until an eternal Kingdom comes - represented by a Rock falling from the sky obliterating all other kingdoms and spreading - like yeast in dough - to envelop the whole Earth.
The book of Revelation, in parable and metaphor, reveals the fall of Satan, the return of Jesus and the ultimate fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come.” Jesus speaks. Churches remember. A dragon falls. Angels bring messages. Beastly powers rule. Bowls overflow with wrath. Trumpets blare. The New Jerusalem. Recreated Earth. Eternal Emmanuel - God with us.
But, for now, we Adventists wait. In patient angst with hopeful hearts, we dare not sit by quietly - we call all humanity to Jesus, “Hear the three angels’ messages!” You can hear the death-rattle in the throat of Satan, even now. Wars. Rumours of wars. Hate. Murder. Money. All the thrashing of a desperate dragon who knows his time is short. The signs are all around us.
This is what it means to be an “Adventist” - eyes peeled for the return of Jesus and a megaphone to our lips, calling the world to ready itself for the Kingdom of Rock coming to replace this fragmented world of sand.
But to be a complete Seventh-day Adventist, you need both parts of the name - both extremes - to work together, creating beauty through tension.
** Continued in “Seventh-day Adventist” tomorrow **
Maranatha, Page 289