Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever. [2 Samuel 7:16 (NLT)]
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end! [Luke 1:31-33 (NLT)]
Sunday, we will light our Advent wreath’s fourth candle—the purple one known as the angel or love candle. We’ll read Nathan’s prophecy in 2 Samuel that David’s kingdom would continue forever. Although we know that David’s earthly dynasty ended some 400 years after Nathan’s words, God’s promise was fulfilled in Jesus—David’s direct descendant who now reigns forever. Jesus is tied to the Old Testament prophecies in two selections from Luke 1 in the angel’s words to Mary that her son, a descendant of David, would reign over Israel and His kingdom would never end and Mary’s beautiful song of praise known as the Magnificat in which she expresses her understanding that God is fulfilling His promises with the birth of her son.
Christmas celebrates the fulfillment of the promises God made to the people of Israel. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection initiated the new age promised by the prophets in the Hebrew Bible. The message of Advent, however, is that the story is not finished. Jesus must come again before the fullness of all that God promised will be realized.
We’re caught in what some theologians call the time of “already-and-not-yet.” The Kingdom of God that arrived with Jesus is a present reality that we can experience right now but it also is the future reality for which we hope! Although the decisive battle against Satan, sin, sickness, and death has been fought and won, the enemy hasn’t surrendered and the war is not yet over. We must continue to fight Satan, resist sin, and endure sickness and death until the time Jesus returns! The King has come and His Kingdom is here but, even though His Spirit is within us and His joy and peace are ours, the story isn’t complete. Got Questions Ministries explains it this way: “The present spiritual reality does not yet match up with the future, physical reality. One day, the two will be in sync.” As we light this fourth candle of Advent, we will eagerly look forward to celebrating the birth of God’s Son, all the while remembering that the best is yet to come! “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”
We may say that in the possession of the Spirit we who are in Christ have a foretaste of the blessings of the age to come, and a pledge and guarantee of the resurrection of the body. Yet we have only the firstfruits. We look forward to the final consummation of the kingdom of God, when we shall enjoy these blessings to the full. [Anthony Hoekema]