If you ask people today what they think the Bible is about, you’ll probably be told that it’s a collection of morality tales that encourages people to behave. Even many of those raised in Christian homes tend to think of Scripture primarily as a helpful guide that tries to steer us in the right direction. But in the latter part of John’s opening chapter, we’re told that the ultimate message found throughout the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets actually relates to the coming of Jesus Christ. In short, the Bible’s big picture is not about our ascent to God, but of God’s descent to us in the person of his Son.
“When we pay close attention to the details of Genesis 28, Jacob isn’t climbing. He’s fast asleep. He’s not building anything. He’s not working on behalf of the oppressed. He’s not fasting. He’s not involved in any kind of ritual. He’s completely inactive.”Shane Rosenthal
“He didn’t build a ladder nor is he climbing up it.”Sam Allberry
“Jesus is Jacob’s ladder. He’s the bridge between heaven and earth. We don’t climb our way up into God’s presence, but he descends to us from heaven while we’re asleep.”Shane Rosenthal
TERM TO LEARN
“Already / Not Yet”
The coming of Jesus Christ at his incarnation marked the beginning of a glorious new redemptive age with a corresponding set of blessings (the already). Yet this new age is not fully consummated and will be fulfilled in the future (the not yet). Christians today can experience a measure of the blessings and promises of heaven while still living in a fallen world that is groaning for the consummation.
The already / not yet concept is expressed in the New Testament’s distinct and pronounced tension between what God has already done in fulfilling the promises of the Old Testament and what God will do yet in the future. It can be said that the already / not yet structure gives the New Testament a strong forward-looking focus.
(Adapted from A Case for Amillennialism by Kim Riddlebarger)