The First and The Last

*Bible Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122:1-9; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

Nung High School ako nagdecide na ako na isa lang ang magiging girlfriend ko. Yup, for the rest of my life. Gusto ko yung magiging girlfriend ko siya na yung “First and Last” – yung tipong dadalhin ko sa altar. Para sa ibang tao corny o boring siguro yun. Naaalala ko may isang doktor nung minsang nagpacheck-up ako nung college na pinayuhan ako na mag-collect ng girls saka daw ako mag-select. (Magaling na doktor… three slow claps para sa kanya! Haha!)

Others may find it corny or boring pero priceless yung feeling kapag ipinapakilala ko ngayon yung wife ko sa ibang tao bilang my first and last girlfriend. Mas priceless din makita yung reaction ng wife ko everytime I introduce her as that. Kapag kaming dalawa lang ang nagde-date, we love reminiscing how in many ways kami ang first ng isa’t-isa. And as a sign of faithfulness we usually renew our vow na kami lang ang magiging last ng bawat isa. And I remember all these in the Scripture Readings for the First Sunday of Advent.

Simula na naman ng kalendaryo ng mga Kristyano and we begin the Church Calendar with four weeks (or one month) of Advent – isang spiritual na paghahanda para sa pagdiriwang ng Pasko o Christmas – and pagdiriwang ng kapanganakan ni Jesus bilang pagkakatawang-tao Niya (John 1:14, 17). But Christmas is just His First Coming. We see the Scripture passages for today, especially from Romans and from Matthew*, pointing to the Second Coming. And this Second Coming will be the last and the fulfillment of all things.

We have to know first that in understanding the Bible we have to use the theory of typology. Sa Bible may mga tinatawag na “types”. Ang mga types na ito ay karaniwang nasa Old Testament and they point to an antitype or a fulfillment who is Jesus Himself. Simply put, a type points to Jesus. Halimbawa, si Moses ay itinuturing na isang “type” of Jesus. Yahweh chose Moses to save the Israelites from Egypt at para dalhin sila sa Promised Land (see Book of Exodus). This whole event, lalo na yung character ni Moses, points to Jesus who saves His flock (Gentile believers included) from the slavery of sin (Egypt) para makapasok sila sa Kingdom of God (Promised Land). Si Joshua din ay isang type of Jesus (see Book of Deuteronomy and Joshua) dahil ni-lead nya ang mga Israelites into a victorious conquering of the Promised Land para makapanahan sila dito. Tinuturo din nito kung paanong nili-lead tayo ni Jesus into a victorious battle to enter the Promised Land. At kagaya ng pagpapabagsak ni Joshua sa Wall of Jerico, wala tayong ibang contribution sa victory na ito kundi sumunod kay Jesus at sumigaw sa pangalan Niya. Si King Solomon din ay isang type ni Jesus dahil naging katuparan siya ng promise ni Lord kay David, pero ito ay first fulfillment lang. Ang kabuuan ng pangako na ito ay naisakatuparan sa pagkakatawang tao ni Jesus, which is the second and last fulfillment. Christmas is a celebration of that fulfillment of God’s promise to David, and consequently to the Israelites.

You see, in the Bible when God makes a promise, He usually gives two fulfillment: the First and the Second (which is the Last). It may be a rough analogy but in the same way that my wife and I sees faithfulness in being each other’s “first and last”, God shows His faithfulness to His Words and Promise by fulfilling them twice. You heard that? Twice!

Ang hirap na ngang tumupad sa pangako, minsan hindi dahil wala kang isang salita kundi sadyang may mga bagay lang na wala sa kontrol mo at ang hirap magawa yung mga bagay na plinano mo at isakatuparan yung mga bagay na sinabi mo. Pero this is how God shows His control and sovereignty over His Creation, including time and history: He fulfills His Words not just once, but twice!

Not just with First, but also with another one – the Last!

Isang malaking bagay na para sa isang tao na tuparin ang sinabi niya, may palabra de honor o words of honor ka na nun pag nagawa mo yun. But God shows He is God by doing it twice. And the second is more than enough which is probably why it is the Last. At katulad ng Typology Theory in Biblical interpretation, this First and the Last still points to Jesus as He Himself declared in Revelations 22:12-13.

Ang gandang pasimula ng Advent na alalahanin na natin that Christmas – Jesus’ First Coming – will have its fulfillment in the Second Coming. Kung ang Pasko sa atin ay shopping lang at pagtanggap ng regalo, kung isa lang itong pagdiriwang na may kainan, bagong damit, bagong gamit, at mga dekorasyon then we are missing the point. It may sound corny and boring again but Christmas is really about the peace promised in Psalm 122:6 and Isaiah 2:4* – this kind of peace will ultimately come to reality in the Second Coming. That’s something to look forward to at hindi dapat katakutan.

Christmas, and the Second Coming, is God’s show of faithfulness to His promises to us.

At kagaya ng love story namin ng wife ko it may sound corny and boring in the worldly standard. Pero sigurado ako na priceless yung magiging experience if Jesus’ face and presence is what we will look forward to whenever we celebrate Christmas and prepare for His Second Revelation.

 

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