When God raised Jesus up from death, the Resurrection started. It was as if God paged “Dead Person #1,” and Jesus came out. But the Resurrection is an End-of-the-world event, which means that when Jesus rose from the dead, the End of the present age (end of the world as we have experienced it) began. Unexpected and unannounced, the age to come burst suddenly on the scene, interrupting plans, confounding expectations, breaking into a present age still in full operation, racing full throttle open.
No sooner had the shock of that surprise settled slightly in, than a second surprise equally startling sent everyone reeling again. The Resurrection, which had just started with Jesus, temporarily stopped. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father’s right hand in heaven to occupy the seat of second highest honor–temporarily.
I say that Jesus’ present position is temporary, because both the Old and New Testaments tell us that. The Old Testament says that Jesus is at God’s right hand—until (Psalm 110:1). The New Testament tells us that heaven has received Jesus—until (Acts 3:21). This “until” represents a pause in the end of the world. When the until has fully run its course, the pause will also be over.
When the purpose of the pause has finished, Jesus will reappear. God will page “Dead Person Number 2” and the Resurrection will continue. Final Judgment will take place, followed by eternal reward and punishment. But until then, like a baby’s birth interrupted in mid-delivery, there is a pause in the End of the world. The present age goes on, though clearly in a state of decline. The Age to come is sometimes visible, but obviously not fully here. We live with one foot, as it were, in both ages.
Awesome! Not many see the link between the end of the world and Christ’s resurrection. People are obsessed with the so-called ‘end times’, coming up with all sorts of dates and numerologies…when the end of this world has already began. The moment he stepped out of the tomb, Christ, the “first fruits” of the new creation, declared the beggining of an age when all things would be made new. Now that’s really good news.