One day it’ll happen, as they say, “Christmas is coming”, just you wait. And that is what this season of Advent is, awaiting the promised coming, in latin, the ‘advent’ of the Lord. Here in Australia, looking toward the heat again, the sun and fire of Summer, we remember again the promised purifying fire of the Day of the Lord. Now we do see the sun now and feel it’s heat, like a small fulfillment of a 40° Summer heat; but a time is coming when the sun full with all its glory will shine down on the earth. But Summer comes every year, Christmas too, what is it we are looking to? Are God’s promises fulfilled?
The days are coming, when God will fulfil the good promise He has made. When He will raise the good word He has spoken. And the word of the Lord will stand forever (1 Peter 1:25). In Scripture, God’s Word, often we see prophecy fulfilled multiple times, in greater and greater ways. Like the sun seen through Spring coming again hotter and hotter with the final promise of Summer. Take God’s promise to Abraham, ‘you will be the father of many nations’. Abraham received the son of this promise, Isaac meaning ‘he laughs’, yet also had other children who became nations in their own rites; the Midianites, Ishmaelites, Edomites, Amalekites, and of course the Israelites, down to the Jews, Palestinians and Arabs of today. Many nations. Yet Abraham is also the father of all who have faith in God Almighty (Galatians 3:7), as Christianity has spread this includes not just the Jews and Arabs, but all the Germanic nations, the Eastern Europeans, the Tigray and Amhara of Ethiopia, Koreans and many other nations. This promise, this Word of God stands forever, given all those years ago, it just keeps on giving!
And when we hear this prophecy from Jeremiah, the days are coming, know that it is the same. The days are coming says the Lord, Jeremiah writes this 15 times throughout his book, the days are coming. And the rest of the prophets promise those days and also the Day of the Lord; when He will come and save His people, when He will come and save the world (John 3:16). We hear God’s Word raised today, “I will fulfil the good promise I made”. Now this is translating the meaning of the Hebrew for us to understand. Yet the word for word translation is: “I will raise the good word”. Both translations mean the same thing, and yet ‘I will raise the good word’ hopefully reminds us of so much more. God’s good Word is raised every time we hear it read, raised into the air, our ears, our thinking. It was raised again after the exile in Jerusalem. After Greeks sacked the temple Judas Maccabees overthrew foreign rule and God’s good Word was raised again over and against idolatry, this is Hanukkah. Yet most specially God raised His good Word, raised Him up in Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth alongside the Virgin Mary and Joseph; the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14). After that first Christmas, is the prophecy of this promise now finished? Does God’s good Word now, lie down and rest? No! The Word of the Lord stands forever! Jesus, the Good Word, was raised up on the cross by His own choice and according to His own will, He is the one who lays down His life and He is the one who takes it up again (John 10:18). Raised on the third day, the Good Word speaks to His people. 40 days later, The Word made flesh is raised up with clouds to The Father Almighty, and He promised to reveal Himself in all His fiery glory on the Last Day.
This is the promise of God, His rising over all things in Glory and revealing Himself to all. And yes, the days are coming. And yet God’s Good Word is still not sleeping, He is still active today. Raised again in our speech, God’s Word proclaimed from the Scriptures; and our confession of what He has done, is doing and will do, in the Creed, we proclaim up into all creation. His Word raised in promise at Baptism, at the Absolution, and the Word Incarnate Himself raised in Holy Communion, with the bread and wine. Today we participate in those days, today we see this wonderful promise fulfilled again, today and now we are with Him in Paradise. And yet there is still more. When you die, the faithful go to be with Christ; yet still awaiting the Resurrection. And the whole of Creation awaits that time too. Perhaps there is a reprieve from war, or from disease, or famine, even a reprieve from corruption in the church from antichrists; yet the reprieve is nothing compared to the final fulfillment of God’s Promise. When the Word of God Stands forever in Glory. Yes, He is here with us now, according to His Promise, yet then we will see Him face to face, to reign with Him not hidden in humility as we do now, yet in Glory the Wonderful Glory that He Himself has promised us all.
So raise God’s Good Word, the Promise of the Gospel, today in your lives, in your homes. Hear and receive the blessings of His promise to you today as you await the final fulfilment. Encourage each other in meeting and prayer all the more as you see The Day approaching. And live where Christ has called you, with one foot in Paradise.
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now unto His Glorious Advent. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.