The devotional reading for today comes from A Year with the Church Fathers and centers on Jesus’ words recorded in Luke 21.
2 Thessalonians 3:1–13
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
As we approach the end of the Church Year, we shift our focus to the end of time and the second coming of our Lord and Savior. With eagerness, we look forward to the day when Christ returns in glory, the day when we lift our eyes to see for ourselves the new heaven and the new earth.
The Bible appears to be of two minds in regard to what happens to the creation at the end of the world. On the one hand, it describes the destruction of heaven and earth (Luke 21:33; 2 Peter 3:7–8), and on other it describes the end of things as a renovation of heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1). So which is correct? As it often happens in the divine revelation, both are. The infection in creation caused by the fall will be fully purged from it and destroyed, and a brand-new heaven and earth will be our possession at the consummation of the age. At the end, we are at the beginning again. That which God created in pristine holiness and perfection and which our first parents perverted and left groaning until the consummation will return again in that perfection as the new heaven and the new earth. What was will be again, only better: the home of glory.
This new heaven and new earth is given to us because God almighty has created them and because Christ, the truth incarnate, has promised them to us.
“This passage announces the power and strength of the Lord with the words, ‘He established them forever and ever; He gave a decree, and it shall not pass away’ (Psalm 148:6). This is to remove all doubt that Lord is almighty, for what He has established continues in being without change, since this conclusion is applied to the things of heaven. But we read of the world to come: ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth’ (Revelation 21:1), so how can you say of the present heaven ‘He established them forever’? There is, however, no doubt that all things have been established by God. Though man himself dies, he is ‘established’ in God’s eyes when he rises again. Similarly, heaven and earth remain in God’s sight when they are made new. Once they have laid aside their roughness or corruptible character, nature itself is made better and abides, since it has been commanded to exist in eternity. As Paul says about the transformation of our bodies, ‘The perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality’ (1 Corinthians 15:54). A ‘decree’ (Psalm 148:6) means a law or condition, so that we may realize that all things are in His power. It cannot pass away, because the Almighty established it, and truth has promised it in return” (Cassiodorus, Exposition of the Psalms, 148.6).
Devotional reading is from A Year with the Church Fathers, pages 367–68
© 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Prayer for the Day
To You, O God, who has hitherto been our Father and our Patron, do we lift up our eyes, knowing that from You alone can come our help and our salvation. Grant us a living trust in Your mercy and truth that hearts do not fear when we
must pass through the fire of trials or must wade through the waters of affliction, but always maintain a cheerful trust in Your help, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer is from Reading the Psalms with Luther, page 303 © 2007 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.