Last Sunday, I received the most significant earthly question of my life. My beloved boyfriend, whom I’ve known for 8 years, became my fiancé. He told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and we pledged, in a preliminary sense, to do just that together. This week has been filled with joy, anticipation, and satisfaction. Our commitment has continually brought spontaneous smiles and hugs. With reassurance of the life to come, our gratitude shines even brighter than it did before the proposal.
Today, I finished the book of Zechariah in my personal quiet time. Chapter 14 moves from the book’s prophecies of alternating provision and punishment for Israel into the final account of Christ’s millennial kingdom. Verse 9 reads, “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” The chapter foretells abundant prosperity, and the intimate, continual presence of the Lord Jesus.
As I finished reading this prophetic book, which has surprised me with its amount of Messianic content, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between this little Old Testament writing and the sparkling, beautiful ring on my left hand.
An engagement ring is a tangible promise of the not-fully-yet. Both parties are present, and yet the fulfillment of this covenant isn’t complete until the altar of the wedding day. There is commitment, yet not completion. There is love, yet not fullness of oneness in life.
Zechariah 14, as one of the final chapters in God’s Old Testament, portrays much the same picture. Reads verse 4, “In that day His feet will stand on the mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east…” To usher in His new Millennium, the Lord, the bridegroom, will return to gather His people to Himself– to live with them. He will protect them, and be fully with them, and His covenant with them will be realized, finally, in its completion: Verse 11 says, “People will live in [the new Jerusalem], and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.” What is their security? What is the reason they drink of life perfect? The King Jesus Christ.
Today’s culture has lost the God-foundation for our marriages. It’s why premarital or engagement sex is not a problem to the world. It’s why divorce is an option in cases it should not be. Society sees marriage vows as momentary covenants– revokable, conditional, and artificial in retrospect of the conditions having been broken.
But the world’s first marriage was ordained and defined by the Living God– by Christ, through whom “all things were made,” (John 1:3), and in whom “all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). One flesh: indivisible, intertwined. Sin took its twist on marriage; yet we still have beautiful, redeemed, God-ordained marriages that mirror the kind of love Christ had in descending the first time to reconcile us with God.
The entire foundation for lasting marriage, just like the basis for morality itself, has to be sourced from the ideal of both love and morality. Humanity cannot adequately define or defend its own definition of love– we screw it up on a minutely basis. Our views of love– and of eternity– are not complete without the Creator-Bridegroom. We need Him. We are helpless to prevail or succeed without Him.
And Zechariah 14 invites us to take part in the Millennial Kingdom, as well as everything God has planned beyond those thousand years– to take part in an eternal life united with our King. He beckons us, as if saying, This is the future I’ve created for Myself– I want to spend it all, in its incomprehensible eternity, with you. Will you join me?
Christ’s selfless sacrifice paves the way for our forgiveness of sin; the Holy Spirit is our not-fully-yet engagement ring– for as the Scripture says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession– to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). To arrive at a wedding, a woman has to say yes to a man. To arrive at citizenship in God’s Kingdom, one has to say yes to Christ, through whom all are forgiven.
Engagement is an exciting time– a precursor to the surpassing joy of the wedding feast. This past week, I’ve been elated and awed and overjoyed by God’s plans and blessings. Likewise, we are in a church age wherein the Creator-Bridegroom is on one knee, so to speak, offering us a glorious, surpassing forever story with Him. He offers us a brief taste of the wedding cake in Zechariah 14– as if to say, This is the future I want with you.
Will we once for all, and daily, surrender our lives to His perfect plan?