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/
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you feel the compassion of Jesus!
FRIDAY: Jesus Offers Compassion in the Midst of Judgment
And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Then a third angel [said] … with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he … shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God …. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone …. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night ….”
—Revelation 14:8-11, emphasis added
The passage above starts the second half of this chapter, in which we are confronted with what happens to those who exist without Jesus—eternal judgment and condemnation. But before I discuss the elements of doom that unbelievers will face, I want to further develop the first half of this fourteenth chapter, in which we see a revelation of Christ’s wonderful compassion.
In Revelation 14:1-7, we see Him standing with His servants trying to save those who will come to Him and listen to Him. The most often-noted emotion of Christ’s ministry was His compassion. Jesus was shown to be “moved with compassion” no less than thirteen times. (We all need a good dose of His compassion!) A great student of the life and ministry of Christ, the apostle Paul, said his ministry was motivated by Christ’s love. What did the compassion of Jesus look like? Let’s briefly examine the top ten groups of people who move Him to compassion:
1. Christ’s compassion is for the confused: … He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd (Matthew 9:36; see also Mark 6:34).
2. Christ’s compassion is for the sick and suffering: … He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14).
3. Christ’s compassion is for the weak: … “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way” (Matthew 15:32).
4. Christ’s compassion is for the desperate: “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt” (Matthew 18:27).
5. Christ’s compassion is for the persistent: So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him (Matthew 20:34).
6. Christ’s compassion is for the helpless: Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Mark 1:41; see also Mark 9:22).
7. Christ’s compassion is for the hopeless: … Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you” (Mark 5:19).
8. Christ’s compassion is for the bereaved: When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13).
9. Christ’s compassion is for the misfortunate: “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion” (Luke 10:33).
10. Christ’s compassion is for the repentant: “… But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Jesus was moved with compassion for the confused, the sick and suffering, the weak, the desperate, the persistent, the helpless, the hopeless, the bereaved, the misfortunate, and the repentant!
The Doom of Life without Jesus: When God speaks of himself as being eternal (which He does eight times in Revelation), He uses the very same word for eternal that is used for the eternal duration of hell (three times in Revelation). So, according to God, it appears that hell lasts as long as He does—forever!
Apart from Jesus there is only hopeless and indescribable torment and judgment. The Word of God describes hell as a place of unending anguish. Jesus talked about hell more than heaven. Revelation 14:11 says that “they have no rest day or night.” Remember that Jesus talked about the bottomless pit and a lake of fire in which there is endless falling and no rest. There is no place to stand on to catch your breath—just endless torment.
It is not fashionable to talk about this today. A lot of the mainline denominations disavow hell; they say it is not Christian. It is more Christian than they understand, because Jesus is the One who describes it more than anyone else. The Word of God repeatedly describes hell as unending anguish: “And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” … His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 3:12; see also Matthew 13:50; Mark 9:43-49; Jude 7).
But a note of hope sounds in verses 12-13 of Revelation 14 as the Holy Spirit speaks for the first time in Revelation; [the second and final time is in 22:17, with the last gospel invitation in God’s Word.] Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on’ ” (Revelation 14:12-13).
“The patience of the saints” is a wonderful description of who Christians really are. “The faith of Jesus” means that if you have faith in Jesus Christ and keep His commands through the new birth (the regeneration of God who gives us the heart to obey Him), you are a saint. At the beginning of verse 13, John is commanded for the tenth time to write down the Word of God (see also 1:11, 19; chapters 2-3; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5). We see here the last call to the earth as the angel is saying to preach the gospel. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” is the second of the seven beatitudes in Revelation in which God bestows His blessings. Here is a summary of the Revelation beatitudes:
1. Blessed are readers, hearers, and keepers (1:3)—this emphasizes the importance of the Word of God.
2. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord (14:13)—this emphasizes the blessings of eternal life.
3. Blessed are those watching and keeping their garments white (16:15)—this emphasizes the Lord’s return.
4. Blessed are those invited to the Lamb’s supper (19:9)—this emphasizes the joy of Christ’s presence.
5. Blessed are the participants of the first Resurrection (20:6)—this emphasizes deliverance from death.
6. Blessed are those heeding this book (22:7)—this emphasizes obedience to the Word of God.
7. Blessed are those with a clean robe and access to the tree of life (22:14)—this emphasizes eternal sustenance.
It is sad that so many today are departing from the doctrine of eternal punishment. For if they refuse to accept the gift of His grace, they must remain in their lost condition—eternally deserving, provoking, and receiving the holy wrath of God. I pray that you are among the saints who rest securely in Jesus as their eternal refuge rather than aligning yourself with those who scoff at the horrors to come!
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