61. Nailed It

Pine Tree Quilt

I can’t say that I “nailed it” with this block. The colors are greener than this photo shows, in case you were puzzled by my fabric choices. Keep in mind that I’m pulling from my stash only. With the goal of using it up, I’m starting with the smallest scraps when planning the blocks, and I have to say it is gratifying to watch the pile shrink, while leaving me with larger pieces.

The book of Isaiah definitely nailed it. Isaiah faithfully delivered so many prophesies that absolutely happened. Now that we can look back through the lens of history, we can see how his words were fulfilled each and every time. He told how the Israelites would come back to their deserted land and it would once again flourish and grow fruit for the world. Hello 1948 and Jaffa oranges. In this passage, he told of the reforestation of Israel. Nailed it. Isaiah 55 plainly tells of the life and death of a savior, God’s promised fulfillment of His covenant to His chosen people. Hello, Jesus Christ, Son of God.

Jesus nailed it. He took it with Him upon the cross: the sin and subsequent death that was our destiny. It’s all there to see in Isaiah.

There’s a lot of excitement lately around the book of Isaiah in Christian circles. I have attended Bible studies where they’re studying, well, not the Bible, but books like “the Oracle” and “The Harbinger”. While it’s exciting to match the prophesies in Isaiah with current events, I wish to throw in a word of caution. There’s a lot of noise about revival, which is good, but I fear we may miss it. Just as the Jews were waiting and watching for an earthly king, we may miss our Messiah.

On the cross, Jesus uttered these final words as He gave up His Spirit, “Tetelestai”. Translation: “It is finished”. As in – Completed. Done. All the prophesies, all the promises, done. Are you interested? I can’t say it any better than this passage from Columbia University’s web blog:

“What makes this exclamation truly unique is the Greek tense that Jesus used. (Verb tenses are the most important and most communicative part of the Greek language.3 This also is sometimes necessarily lost in translation.) Jesus speaks in the perfect tense, which is very rare in the New Testament and has no English equivalent.4 The perfect tense is a combination of two Greek tenses: the Present tense, and the Aorist tense. The Aorist tense is punctiliar: meaning something that happens at a specific point in time; a moment. The Present tense is linear: meaning something that continues on into the future and has ongoing results/implications. 

The combination of these two tenses in the perfect tense as used in John 19:30 is of overwhelming significance to the Christian. When Jesus says “It is finished” (or completed) what he is actually saying is “It is finished and will continue to be finished”. 

The first element of the perfect tense: the Aorist, punctiliar, point in time statement “It is finished” is powerful. Mathew Henry captures all that is finished at that exact moment: “It is finished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished. It is finished; the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away. It is finished; an end is made of transgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness. His sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and those of his body. It is finished; the work of man’s redemption and salvation is now completed.” This is overwhelming in and of itself. 

But there’s more! The Aorist tense is only half of the perfect tense! The second element of Jesus’ statement is the equally important: the Present, ongoing, linear “and will continue to be finished” component of the perfect tense. This indicates the ongoing nature of our salvation. This is so important because it indicates a condition, a state of being, a resting place. 

In conclusion, in Jesus’ statement “It is finished” we have a declaration of salvation that is both momentary and eternal, Aorist and Present, linear and punctiliar. We are saved at a specific point in time, “it is finished”, our debt is paid, we are ransomed from the kingdom of darkness, and then we confidently rest in the reality that “it will continue to be finished” because we are in a position of grace and stand justified for all time before God. One Greek word, tetelestai, spoken in the perfect tense, by Jesus on the cross, and it was finished at that moment, and for all time.

So, my response? Stop looking outside of myself for a revival, (although I must admit that politics have been highly entertaining as of late, what with impeachment hearings and all. And how about that Golan Heights reverting back to Israel?)

Tetelestai means that we live as citizens of two kingdoms. We simultaneously dwell here on earth, as well as in the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus has sent us His Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Who has already revived our hearts, minds, and spirits. Revival has already come. So, to nail it down, how do we proceed to live in two kingdoms?

Martin Luther said, “Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would continue to plant my apple trees.”

Well done, Israelites, for planting your pines, myrtles, cedar, and olive trees. Shalom.

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