Beauty from Ashes

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”—Mark 13:24–27 (NASB)

In the beginning, God created . . . well, everything. Yet, nothing we see now is as it once was. In fact, the earth’s present condition is a result of God’s judgment after the fall and the flood. Imagine, all the beauty we behold signifies something less than what it was intended to be. 

In the end, God will recreate . . . everything. We are privy to how this will begin as we eavesdrop on the private conversation Jesus had with His four companions in what is termed the Olivet Discourse. Soon, nothing we see now will be as it is—a cosmic chaos will take place to usher in unimaginable beauty. 

In His discourse, Jesus spoke of the future of Israel—what everyone in that generation can expect, look for, and avoid. While some signs could be explained by secular, societal, and scientific means, the final indicator will not be easily explained nor negated as a fluke. Because what could possibly explain the celestial upheaval that will take place other than the sovereign hand of God?  

I’m guessing this was a frightening revelation for the disciples. Still, as Jewish men they were not entirely unaware. They had been told “everything in advance” (Mark 13:23). Not only in that moment, but through the prophets, including Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, and Zephaniah. Each described a time when the sun, moon, and stars would be darkened, and each prophesied of God’s judgment on all Christ-rejecting people. Jesus echoed and validated their words.

Yet, beyond the darkness, beyond the cosmic calamity, is the familiar beauty that always appears in the wake of God’s judgment: redemption, restoration, and renewal. Jesus will return on the clouds with power and great glory. The advent of His second coming will be nothing like His first. He will not come as a servant of man, but the victorious King of kings and Lord of lords. He will trade a crown of thorns for a royal diadem. Heaven will open, and Jesus will lead the saints of heaven, gathering up the elect and annihilating His adversaries. It will be His ultimate triumphal entry.

The striking paradox of God’s initial creation of celestial light pales in comparison with His future creation of divine light. The same star that revealed the arrival of our Savior King will dim at His second coming. Gloriously, “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23 NASB).

Pause: How is God’s faithfulness and beauty executed in His judgment?

Practice: Consider that the worst of God’s judgment was placed upon Jesus—for you and for me. Take some time to thank Him.

Pray: Lord God, I am amazed at the outcomes of Your judgment and mercies. Jesus, when You come again to judge a sinless world, I know You will execute it justly. May those who reject You now come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and join You in Your last triumphal entry. Amen.

About the Author

Lisa Supp

Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.