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Audacious Hope/The Great Defiance

“And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:7–10, ESV)

“ And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”” (Daniel 12:1–4, ESV)

Isaiah, the prophet, and Daniel, the apocalyptic visionary, dared to imagine the unimaginable. They offered a vision of hope—a future in which death, the great tyrant of humanity, would be replaced by resurrection life.

Like a veil hanging over humanity, death will be removed. A day of salvation and a time of great trouble will give way to everlasting life, where God's covenant people will shine like stars.

This audacious hope, the great defiance, is part of our ancient advent hope. It finds fulfillment in Jesus, the God-Man, who dealt a death blow to death itself, guaranteeing a future where the dead shall be raised.

This is our story, our song—a joyful remembrance and patient longing foretold by the prophets, enacted by the Messiah, and to be embraced in the new creation.

It is a patient hope, an active hope, a hope-filled realism. It dares us to dream and live in a way that bears witness to the kingdom's glorious inauguration and acts as an eschatological signpost that points to the ultimate consummation and reconciliation of all things.

-Swales, 2023


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