Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure”; Isaiah 46:10
Beginning – If you’re paying close attention, you will notice a very odd arrangement in the Bible. While we think of things in terms of cause, God seems to think of things in terms of purpose. We think “morning and evening”. God thinks “evening and morning” (Genesis 1:5, for example). We think beginning and end. God thinks end and beginning. Subtle reversals occur throughout Scripture. The first are last. The poor are rich. The desperate are joyful. It seems as though God is backwards.
Isaiah captures this reversed order in a declaration about God’s intentions. God does not declare the beginning from the end. He declares the end from the beginning. Reshiyth, the Hebrew word for beginning, is also a word that means first, foremost, best and chief. With a preposition added, it is the first word of the Bible (“in the beginning”). It is the start of something. Of course, the start is important. But God seems to be focused on something else. God sets His sights on the end.
Where we start is far less consequential than where we end. How the world began is not nearly as critical as how the world will end. The purpose of something is more important than the cause. In every sense, God is eschatological.
Great! Another big word. But this word is monumentally important. It expresses the divine outlook on existence. “Eschatological” means that the standard for measurement does not lie in the past (where things began) nor in the present (where things are) but in the future. God is vitally interested in how things will be. And He calls every one of His followers to live according to a standard that is based in how things will be, not in how things were or how things are. If you don’t see your life in terms of the end, you are truly lost! You might have all of the good measures of the past and present; a great beginning, a full and satisfying now. You could be a paragon of success and power, of lineage and breeding, but it will mean nothing unless you are in line with God’s view of the end. The only values that count are the ones that survive to the end and God is very clear about what those values are. Eschatological values matter. Everything else is straw.
Have you ever really thought about the end? Have you really asked yourself what will last into eternity? Have you looked at your goals, your dreams, your plans and schemes and asked, “Is this really going to last?” Do you find your satisfaction in the past or the present? Or are you restless with a holy unrest, waiting, longing for the end when He will say, “Well done”?