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A Certain Future

Twelve thousand people in twelve cities were interviewed for IKEA’s 2016 Life at Home Report. Each person was asked this simple question: “What makes a home a home?” Despite the respondents’ different cultures, ages, and ethnicities, four common elements of home were identified: comfort, safety, belonging, and love.

As we read the final chapter of Zechariah, we begin to understand how Jerusalem once again becomes home to God’s people. But Zechariah doesn’t simply refer to the geographical Jerusalem and the end of Babylonian exile. Rather, he is describing the end of time, when the final eschatological battle has been fought and won by God. Once God’s enemies have been defeated, the population of the heavenly city will swell, and the people will live in safety. God Himself will provide the light of this city from which rivers of living water shall flow in every direction. Jerusalem will be God’s throne, and He will indeed reign as king over all the earth (vv. 20–21; see Rev. 21:22–27).

Throughout the biblical narrative, we witness the devastating effects of sin. Beginning in Genesis 3, our ancestors were exiled from the Garden of Eden and estranged from God and from one another; death and disease became their routine experiences. In the story of Israel, sin leads to exile as well as to fractured relationships with God and with one another. They, too, encounter death and disease.

But the Creator King, who made the earth to be humanity’s home as well as His temple, will not abide these losses. In this final chapter of Zechariah, death begins to unwind. Every common object becomes holy. The sin-sick world looks once again like the Garden of Eden, and God’s people are welcomed back home because of His relenting love.

Apply the Word

One day we will see how God the Master Weaver has taken the threads and loose ends in the broken stories of our lives—the disappointment, death, disease, or divorce—and woven them into a beautiful tapestry that brings Him praise. We have confidence that He will complete this good work (Phil. 1:6).

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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