Before our beginning there was a beautiful angel appointed by God, his name was Lucifer. His heart became dark and diseased. He desired God’s worship for himself, so God cast him out of heaven along with the angels that had followed him. Lucifer was filled with murderous rage and resolved to assassinate and steal God’s glory.
His glory would be casting shame on the glory God would reflect in his good creation.
Some time later, at the beginning of our world, there was a man and a woman who lived in a beautiful garden. All things were unified in absolute harmony as the Creator had intended. The Creator came and walked with the man and woman every day. Face to face they talked and shared.
Lucifer then came to the woman. He told her, “You will not surely die if you eat the fruit. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He deceived the woman into believing that there was wisdom wiser than God. The woman ate and then handed the fruit to her husband and he ate.
Shame was born that day. The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. Desperately they took leaves and tried to sew them together so they could be covered.
God came, even though he knew what happened, he came. All those times they had shared face to face, this would be the last.
God called to the man and asked, “Where are you?” They had no answer to give but of shifting their blame.
This is the day death had its beginning. God took an animal and killed it and used it to create coverings for the man and woman. Sin had entered the world and death with it. And there would be no reversing it through the hands of man.
The man and woman were banished from the garden, it could no longer be their home. What was it like for them to go from walking with their God every day to no longer having his presence?
Before there was no shame now there was. Before there was no selfishness, now there was. Now there was jealousy…fear…disease…violence…confusion…greed…conceit…
Sin touched every fiber of creation breaking and killing and staining.
This is the world we know. This is the world that has kicked and bruised us. We have known the devastation and despair. We have felt our skin crawl with the fear of evil. We have felt our hearts crumple with unsayable tragedy, loss, failure, and pain. We have all seen suffering and looked it in its’ eyes for ourselves.
And the one the Bible calls a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies, Lucifer, is still here. And we live in this broken world, where sin has set every vile and awful thing in motion, surrounded by men and women whose hearts have been hardened and darkened. And we each carry the same capacity of evil in our bones, the same capacity to disregard others for own benefit, the capacity to love ourselves more.
But God is love. And a hope blazes, because He has always been love. And we must fight the treasonous compass of our flesh that can forget and believe there is wisdom wiser than God.
Because instead of letting us stay hidden with our pathetic leafy coverings he came for us just like that day in the garden. Instead of an animal it was his Son who came and paid for our sin, banishing wrath, and covering us with his righteousness. Death is our rightful birthright, but Christ took it, and gave us his birthright, life. Then he rose from the dead defeating the power of sin and death. And death will not hold us just like it could not hold him.
And to every age, to all of creation, to you and to me the words of Jesus are echoing, “Wait, I am coming back for you.”
On that day we will hear the sound of many rushing waters singing his praise as he comes crashing to earth. The Faithful and True One will come in righteousness to judge and make war. His eyes will be flames of fire and he will be wearing a robe dipped in blood, and from his mouth will come a sword.
This will be the returning King, who comes to have the finale word of victory over every power, authority, and ruler against God. Every single knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he, indeed, has won.
When it is finished a loud voice from the throne will boom, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.” …again. He will wipe away every tear from every eye, and death and pain will meet their end.
There will be a new city of God where there will be no need for the sun or moon because God will be its light and our Lamb will be its lamp. By their light we will walk and know our way. And at last, face to face we will be with our God.
And night will be no more.
“Behold I am coming soon…I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Rev 22:12