Reading over yesterday, I wanted to provide a little balance. I just couldn’t end on what seemed to be a sour note. After all that judgment, the very next chapter—not by coincidence, I believe— focuses on what can be summarized as “the joy of the redeemed.”
Now, to be fair, there’s some debate over exactly when this will be, or was, fulfilled. Some people think that it was fulfilled during Christ’s first coming. There’s some reason to think so, since Jesus definitely healed blind eyes, lame legs, deaf ears, and mute tongues while he was here on earth, and he pointed this out to people who doubted as to whether or not he was the true Messiah. In other words, it seems that a person who studied and believed the prophets would expect that the Messiah would be doing miracles like this, and it’s likely that this very passage was what he was referring to.
I think that today’s passage was partially fulfilled during Jesus’ earthly ministry, but it awaits completion in the future. So some others think this refers to when Jesus comes back and sets up a physical kingdom on earth. That’s possible, and I wouldn’t discount it.
Still others think that this is figuratively describing the “eternal state,” when everything is destroyed by fire and then made new. Well, one thing we can know for sure: If it isn’t fulfilled before then, it will certainly be fulfilled by then.
Now here's a clarifying question: What difference does it make? Really? Does it really make a difference in your daily walk with Christ as to exactly when and how this will play out? Will it keep you from sin and draw you closer to your Savior depending on how you answer the above questions? I'd humbly submit as an answer—No.
So what can we draw from this, assuming that it’s not all fulfilled 2000 years ago? There are some things I think all of us should take away from this:
1) When Christ comes back, all will be made right again. None of this is what he intended for creation. You're aware of that, right? There’s only been two people in all of history who saw this world the way God created it to be. When they sinned, it wrecked everything. I wear glasses and have to take medicine to keep my diabetes in check. God didn’t create eyes and pancreases to malfunction like that. But when he returns, all will be made right once more. Actually, far better than it was at the beginning.
2) We'll dwell in perfect safety and harmony. When raising children, we have to eventually teach them about the “lions” and other “ravenous beasts” out there. We might not believe in monsters like werewolves and vampires, but there are monsters out there for real, both in human form and otherwise. They change their faces and methods and names, but they’re always out there. Every age has their own. But it will not be always. The monsters will be locked away in quarantine forever, and the fear will be gone. Forever.
3) We need to make sure we’re on the right side. Please note that the prophet is careful to warn us that only the “redeemed” will have a place in this. How much did the prophet understand of what he wrote? We can’t be sure until we ask him face-to-face. But we do know as N.T. believers that the only way any of us can take part in this is to be “bought back” (that’s literally what “redeemed” means). “Bought back how? With what?” Hopefully you know by now. If not, read this.
If you are one of those who’s been “bought back,” now might be a great time to thank him for it. Ya think?
Lord Jesus, thank you. I'm yours twice over: Once because you made me, and twice because you bought me. Please help me to act like it.