An Old Testament belief that surfaces in the New Testament is that one generation may complete the work of the previous generation, what one generation intends, the next generation may fulfill. Solomon had both the privilege and responsibility to complete the work his father King David wanted accomplished. Solomon built the temple and brought David’s desire to fruition. One generation can bring about on earth heavenly goals of a previous generation for the glory of God, as Solomon, commissioned by God, built the temple in Israel, and as God’s people today, commissioned by Christ Himself, immerse others into His reign.
Believers in Jesus are called to complete what He has for us to accomplish, and God provides everything we need to do so. Through outward events and personal circumstances, God has provided the way forward to guaranteed victory. We are not alone. Our strength comes from the fact that Christ Himself has sent us, anointed us with His power to complete the greatest commission of all time, and is always with us. God has given us an amazing role in His plan, which the witnesses from past ages watch from the clouds that surround us.
Jesus has sent us with authority as believers to complete the work He has for us to do, and in doing so we are completing God’s will to unite all things in heaven and earth under the reign of Christ. That is the way we can help bring in the reign of Messiah that will even outshine the golden age of Solomon, when people enjoyed their own vine and own fig tree.
In a sense, generals are also given authority to complete a certain work, to win wars. Tsan Tzu, the author of The Art of War, identifies certain ways to achieve victory on the battlefield. One guaranteed means is the desperate earth phenomenon because it allows no retreat. An example of this is D-Day at the battle of Normandy in WWII, when soldiers landing on the beach in France, the vast ocean at their backs, had absolutely no option for turning back. The circumstances were do or die for the ally soldiers. According to The Art of War, soldiers in this situation will achieve victory. The ally victory over the German forces at Normandy, France, illustrates this powerful truth.
Unlike soldiers landing on a beach in a foreign country, who feel no choice but to fight forward to survive, average people in modern society may find themselves lulled into a false sense of complacency, not perceiving do or die circumstances propelling them to achieve victory in life. God’s people must be brought to life by the shortening of days, meaning a realization of impending darkness, in order to wake up from their slumber. If not for the shortening of days, said Jesus, no one would survive. That sense of shortening of days is for the sake of the elect. It is an experience that will forever wake Christians up from the status quo, a life Jesus has never sanctioned, a pseudo life each must wake up to overcome. He clearly taught that every one of us is called to be salt and light.
Increased distress in life, a sense of impending judgment, proliferation of evil, and a sense that there is nowhere to turn but to God drives us to overcome. As with Tsan Tzu’s desperate earth teaching and D-Day’s Normandy beach, believers have no other choice but to press forward and through. As we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, and as Jesus has already overcome any obstacles we have to face, victory is assured.
The truth is that for Christians, victory is the only option. Christ has already achieved it, and we by faith have died with Him and have been raised with Him. Together, we are sitting with Christ in the heavenly realms, where overcoming is the new fact of life. Our backs may be up against the wall on earth, but Christ is our answer, our deliverer, and He will lead us in victory.
Arguably the greatest art commission of all time was Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel in Rome under Pope Julius II, but the greatest personal commission of all time, Jesus left with us. All authority in heaven and on earth is His, and He sends us to be making people from all nations into disciples, “immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, and teaching them to obey everything” that Jesus has commanded us, but we must become obedient to what He speaks to us in order to bear fruit that remains for His Kingdom. This is the only way forward.
The truth is that we are backed into a corner and to be made to realize it is a good thing. Not being able to look back for help constrains us forward. By overcoming and obeying, we can complete the works God has for us to do to fulfill our part to complete the commission Jesus has given us. We cannot go backward. Pressing forward to victory is the only option for fulfilling the greatest commission of all time, immersing all we meet into the reality of Christ.
The truth is that God has ordained that all the saints who have come before will not be brought to the goal without us. They are our cloud of witnesses. We must achieve victory. We must not let them down.