The Christian worldview tells us that all of history is heading to its final fulfilment because of the decisive victory accomplished by Jesus Christ at the cross. However, it can be difficult to describe what that fulfilment (or consummation) looks like, as the Bible uses much metaphorical language to describe it. But that does not mean we cannot say anything about it.
For this short introduction, where the Christian story is headed to is structured into four categories: its Concept, Content, Characteristics, and Core.
- Concept – The Kingdom of God. The Christian story envisions a future where the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God and of His Messiah. Whereas the kingdom of God was inaugurated at Jesus’ first coming 2000 years ago, it will be consummated in its full glory at His second coming. At this time, all that was broken and torn apart because of sin will be gloriously restored to wholeness.
- Content – The New Jerusalem. Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22 are like bookends to the whole Bible. It is worth comparing the pictures presented in both. For example, what was once two people in a garden becomes a flourishing city. Whereas there was one tree of life in Genesis, the river in Revelation is lined with the trees of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is nowhere to be found. The name of the city is the New Jerusalem, the place where God dwells with His people.
- Characteristics – Life, peace and righteousness. Imagine a world where there is no more death and sorrow, where physical and emotional wounds are healed. Imagine a world where wars have ceased and people and creation live in peace and harmony. Imagine a world with no more injustice, oppression and poverty, but instead filled with righteousness and joy. That is the Christian hope for the future when Jesus’ second coming radically transforms this broken world. Our minds may fail to grapple with it, but does it not represent our hearts’ deepest longings?
- Core – The presence of God. “The dwelling place of God is among mankind!” (Rev 21:3) At the core of the kingdom of God and the new Jerusalem is the presence of God. What began as a presence in the garden was quickly marred by sin, yet God chose to mediate His presence to His people through His covenants. Jesus Christ was the embodied presence of God among us during His life on earth. The Holy Spirit dwells in Christian hearts. But there will come a day when we will stand in the glory of the unabated, unmediated presence of God, and there the greatest hope that ties all Scripture together will be fulfilled as Creator and creation are fully reconciled and restored.