This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at http://www.dtbm.org/
Rejoice That You Have Christ
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you rejoice that you have Christ!
SUNDAY: Life Without Jesus
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ ”
—Matthew 25:41, emphasis added
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without Jesus? Perhaps you yourself are seeking, but haven’t found. You are considering, but haven’t decided. You are looking, but haven’t placed your heart’s desire on Jesus Christ and willfully chosen to follow Him. If that is your situation, pay close attention to the sixteenth chapter of Revelation, which shows what life without Jesus Christ would be like. It is the most graphic, vivid, powerful description in the Scriptures of what hell will be like. Life apart from Jesus Christ is nothing less than a living hell.
In the twenty-one dramatic verses of Revelation 16, John sees and records what happens when mankind joins the fallen angels in living without God. He wants us to see that the seven bowls of His wrath are the coming results for a world that rejects what Jesus alone can give them.
First Bowl: Human bodies will ooze malignant sores as all the evil within starts to come out—a sign of humanity’s inward corruption apart from Christ’s power.
Second Bowl: Earth’s oceans will become death washing up on every shore. The waters of the sea filled with life will become a stench of dead blood—a sign of man’s hopelessness apart from God.
Third Bowl: All water will have the stench of corruption rising from every river, stream, well, and faucet on the planet. All waters on earth will be poisoned—a sign of absolute desperation because water is as imperative as Jesus is.
Fourth Bowl: People’s bodies will burn from a solar fire pouring down from the skies. The sun that keeps life sustained on earth will flare up to blaze and burn the planet—a sign of false worship that started with sun worship which is now powerless before the Creator.
Fifth Bowl: There will be an instantaneous impenetrable darkness. From the brightness of a fiercely blazing sun to absolute blackness in the realm of the beast—a sign of the spiritual darkness that Satan brings.
Sixth Bowl: The water of the great dividing Euphrates River will dry up. A demon trio will round up Antichrist’s army to head for Armageddon. All the earth dwellers will seethe with rage toward God and hatred of their Creator—a sign that mankind will always fight against God unless the Holy Spirit brings them to a place of submission before the Father in heaven.
Seventh Bowl: As the earth dwellers gather, God unleashes the greatest earthquake of all time. More devastation occurs in that one earthquake than in all the others combined. All cities will be leveled; islands will sink, and hailstones weighing over sixty pounds will rain down upon planet Earth to obliterate all monuments and the men that built them. This is a sign of humanity’s complete helplessness apart from God.
In the final days, mankind’s unending fight with God will at last bring them the freedom they have always wanted—life without God. What does life become without God? That is what we will see as we go through the sixteenth chapter of Revelation. By this point in the Tribulation, the end has come. In a very brief span of time, the long-awaited moment has arrived. In seven swift strokes the desire of a world wanting no part of Jesus is granted. These seven bowls of plagues are for the lost; Revelation 16 is no less than a foretaste of hell. Think of how the earth dwellers will feel as they begin their inescapable plunge toward hell!
For the redeemed, however, the glory of Jesus shines from each plague. Jesus offers the ultimate security in contrast to the utter insecurity of the earth dwellers. Revelation 16 is an art gallery with seven divinely inspired portraits of Christ. Against the darkened screen of His wrath poured out upon sin are seven glowing pictures of Jesus:
1. Jesus has sanctifying power (vv. 1-2). He is the One who cleanses and keeps (Jude 23-24). Have you let Him sanctify and clean you from the inside out? I am not talking about just turning over a new leaf, making promises you can’t keep, but letting Him thoroughly change you from the inside out. That is Christianity.
2. Jesus has life-giving power (v. 3). He is the One who gives abundant life (John 10:10).
3. Jesus has satisfying power (vv. 4-7). He is the One who promises that we will never thirst (John 7:37-39). Are you thirsting because of sin?
4. Jesus has liberating power (vv. 8-9). He is the One who sets us free (John 8:31-36).
5. Jesus has enlightening power (vv. 10-11). He is the One who gives us daily light and true spiritual sight (John 8:12; Acts 26:18).
6. Jesus has conquering power (vv. 12-16). He is the One who will always lead you into triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14).
7. Jesus has securing power (vv. 17-21). He is the One who gives you your ultimate eternal security (Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 7).
Are you worshiping Jesus for His sanctifying and life-giving power? Have you been set free from sin? Do you let Jesus give you daily light in His Word? Are you following Him? Have you received His security through faith? I hope that you can answer each of these probing questions with a resounding “Yes!”
My Prayer for You This Week: Dear Father, as we think about the last moments of human history, we are amazed to see repeated blasphemy and hardened hearts. It is blatant during the Tribulation, but more subdued in our present world. But those who have heard the good news of Jesus, and yet have rejected and hardened their hearts, are actually blaspheming You in the same way as these at the end of the Tribulation will do. We thank You that You so loved that You gave, and You gave so much that You emptied the very treasure of heaven—the Lord Jesus Christ sent to earth for sinful mankind. May we not simply read the gory details of this chapter, but see the marvelous power and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. May the glory of what You are, and what You wish to accomplish in the lives of those who will respond to You, be very present in our hearts. Lord, we pray that we will see Your power and draw upon You by allowing Your Spirit to minister the power of Jesus in our lives. That is our heart’s desire. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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