Do you have any idea what the last two words of the last book of the Old Testament are? It’s a far cry from, “And they lived happily ever after.” The Old Testament ends with these two sad words: “utter destruction.”
Destruction is littered all over the first thirty-nine books of the Bible. There are destroyed cities, walls, and gates. There are a devastating number of destroyed lives, marriages, and families. One of the tragic themes of the Old Testament—especially throughout the prophets—is that the root cause of so much of the “utter destruction” is Israel’s unfaithfulness to their covenant with God. By the time we reach Malachi 4—the last chapter of the last book of the Old Testament—a destroyed covenant has led to a destroyed temple and a destroyed kingdom. “Utter destruction.” Sad, but fitting.
And yet, just before those last two Old Testament words are written, God inspires his prophet to deliver a beautiful promise: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Mal 4:2). “Utter destruction” is a dangerous possibility, but it doesn’t have to be the definitive last word.
On the flip side, do you have any idea what the last words of the New Testament are? “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” That’s a gloriously far cry from “utter destruction.”
What’s the difference? More accurately, who’s the difference? The Lord Jesus is the difference, even today.
This morning’s sun has risen on “utter destruction” in every direction. Everywhere we look, sin has ravaged lives, marriages, and families. Maybe that hits very personally close to home for you today. If so, there is such good news.
“Utter destruction” doesn’t have to be the last word of your story. The Son of Righteousness has risen, conquered death, and opened the door to healing from sin for those who fear his name. “The grace of the Lord Jesus” can be where your story takes the turn toward life eternal.
So … how do you want your story to end?
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20)