People usually think of beginnings as occurring before endings. That seems to be logical because something has to begin before it ends. However, in transitions one thing may need to end before something else can begin.
Which comes first?
The Old Testament begins with the words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).” The last chapter of the New Testament includes the Lord saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:12).” Thus the Bible is not silent about beginnings and endings. Between this ultimate beginning and ultimate ending it talks about many much smaller beginnings and endings, and often the end of one period must come before the next one begins.
For example, Jesus spoke about the end of the world occurring at the “end of the age” in both the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:39) and in the parable of the net (Matthew 13:49) rather early in his ministry. Near the end of his ministry his disciples asked him when the “end of the age” would come and what the signs would be. Jesus gave a detailed answer to their question (Matthew 24-25) telling them many things that would happen, and then “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear…They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30). He assured them that he would be with them “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20). This age has to end before the next age will begin.
Jesus himself went through some transitions similar to the major transitions missionaries experience. He was present at creation and with God throughout the events that occurred during the Old Testament. Then his transitions began.
- Transition from heaven to earth to save the lost as described at the beginnings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
- Transition from earth to heaven as described at the end of the gospels and the beginning of Acts
- Transition from heaven to earth someday as described in Revelation and several other prophesies
Through the rest of this book we will note similarities between those that Jesus made and the one he will make when he returns at the Second Coming.