By Rev Dr Edward Goh
On this first Sunday of the Advent, we light the candle of hope, in remembrance of the Old Testament prophets, especially Isaiah who foretold the birth of our Saviour. What should this hope inspire in us? May I suggest faithfulness? This call to faithfulness in the light of the Messiah’s coming was the message of Malachi as he saw from afar the Lord coming to His temple in Mal. 3. It was also the message of the Apostle John as he penned the book of Revelation, the closing message of the biblical canon.
Through the Apostle John, these words given to the seven churches are for us too, “Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Rev. 1:4-5).
The seven churches in Rev. 2-3 are the seven lampstands in Rev. 1:13, 20. Christ came as the Lord who stood among His lampstands symbolising His churches. Like in Mal. 3:3, He came to awaken and purify His church. He promises those who love Him and remain faithful till He returns that they will eat from the tree of life, not be hurt by the second death, receive a white stone with a new name and the morning star, be clothed in white garments, and become a pillar in God’s temple (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 28; 3:5, 12). Finally, they will dine with Christ and sit with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:20-21).
What magnificent promises! It is as Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:9, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” As we look back at His first coming and eagerly await His final return, let us seek to stay faithful to Him by keeping His commandment to love and serve one another. Let us also be faithful to proclaim Him in words and deeds to those around us. In this advent season and beyond, may He fill our lamps with the oil of His Spirit to burn for Him. In so doing, may we show ourselves to be His disciples. To a world in darkness, may we be His faithful beacons to bring others His light, the hope of Christmas.