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 www.dtbm.org
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you feel the compassion of Jesus!
THURSDAY: Jesus Offers Hope in the Land of Doom
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth … saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
—Revelation 14:6-7, emphasis added
I do not think we are going to turn the world around. We are not going to save the planet, and the ecology is not going to get better. But I still have great hope, knowing that those I lead to Christ will not be sealed by the Antichrist because they will already be sealed by the Spirit of God. They will have a future and a hope! That is why we can have hope in a world of doom; we do not simply hide out, sitting on a mountaintop to wait for the end of the world. No, we rescue as many people as we can by telling them about Jesus.
These servants standing with Jesus in verses 6-7 are witnesses of the endless, unchangeable gospel. Mankind’s only hope is to bow to their Creator and reach out to their Redeemer—or face Him as judge. All who have been saved in any age (law, church, or kingdom) were only saved by the sovereign grace of God, on the basis of the work that was accomplished by our Lord’s atoning death. The eternal gospel is a proclamation to all who dwell upon the earth: every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. It is the good news that the judgment of God, so long awaited, is about to be consummated; and that the groaning earth will be brought back from the reign of the rebel prince, and put under the sway of the Son of God.
“The rod which Satan has held over the earth has been heavy because it has been held by Satan. The rod which the Lord Jesus is about to hold over the earth is an iron rod, but it is held in the hand of the One who has said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Once more we repeat that men are saved only by the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. We believe that Adam and Eve were saved through believing God’s Word concerning the Seed of the woman who would bruise the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15) and that in token of that salvation the Lord God made coats of skins (after having some sacrificial victim) and clothed them (Genesis 3:21). So much for the past. We believe that every blessing that will ever come to this earth or to any individual or group of individuals on it will come on the ground of Christ’s death on the cross. But the open preaching of salvation to all who will come on the simple basis of trusting God’s Word about the work that was accomplished on Calvary, is a phenomenon which begins with Pentecost”.4
I personally believe that the gospel has always been the same: substitutionary atonement. From the Garden of Eden, as soon as Adam and Eve fell into sin, God killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve with the skins. He could have taken cotton fiber and spun it, but it took a blood sacrifice to atone. This is the first example of being clothed with the righteousness of a blood sacrifice. Right from the beginning it has always been substitutionary atonement. Abel’s offering on the altar was a lamb. God said that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head, and that the coming One would sacrifice himself as Isaiah says in chapter 53. The gospel has always been the same: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth …” (Revelation 14:7).
There are three elements of the eternal gospel, which are always present.
Conviction—“Fear God”: If we preach a gospel without conviction, it is not the gospel of God. That is why it bothers me so much today that people can hear the gospel and desire to get saved, but not be convicted of their sinfulness that separates them from God. I thought about that a lot as a little child, and in the fall of 1962, I came to my mother and told her that I did not want to be separated from God. I did not want to go to hell. Like a little child, you should fear God: His wrath, His judgment, and separation from Him eternally!
Conversion—“give glory to Him”: The person who truly fears God will turn from his or her old ways and give Him glory; that is conversion. If you have never been saved from sin, you have never been saved from hell. When the Israelites came out of Egypt they wanted a savior, not a Lord. So God destroyed them. There are groups of people in churches across this nation and around the world that want a savior, but not a Lord, and God will destroy them as well. If there is no genuine and lasting repentance, there is no conversion. If there is no conviction of sin, there is no conversion that gives Him glory—that is what the Scriptures teach.
Consecration—“worship Him”: This is the fruit of redemption. When we genuinely fear God, we are convicted of our sin, turn to the Savior, and give Him glory. That is the necessary total change of our lives—no longer giving ourselves glory, but Him. Although we will imperfectly do this, and fail at times, this is the longing of the heart of one who fears God. Then, when we consecrate our lives to worshiping Him, out of that worship will flow fruitful service.
God, in His infinite grace, will thus send forth a mighty angel—flying back and forth across the skies during the Tribulation—loudly proclaiming the gospel from one place to another, covering every nation and tribe, speaking in every language, so that no one at the coming judgment would be able to say he or she hadn’t heard. What a compassionate Savior!
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