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Messages of Hope - The Book of Revelation
Weeky 6, 2018
The Book of Revelation has some of the greatest promises and messages of hope that the world has ever received. However, just as Israel went through a wilderness that was the opposite of what they were promised, so it is with virtually every promise of God, and also for the promises He has given for restoring the earth. Though we are still in the wilderness, every day we draw closer to the fulfillment of the greatest promise ever given—that He will restore the earth to the paradise He originally created it to be.
This greatest of all the messages of hope will soon be proclaimed throughout the earth as “the gospel of the kingdom.” Gospel means “good news,” not bad news. Revelation is a prophecy of this coming kingdom when every tear will be wiped away from every eye, when there will be no more dying or pain. No one will ever hurt anyone else again.
One reason we are doing this study is to get a sense of a timeline. This is so we can know where we are and the coming next steps and events. It is the nature of prophecy to give such timelines in a general way instead of as specific dates. Yet growing in our faith so that we get closer to abide in Him is more important than knowing what will happen. However, we can, and should, do both.
We should always keep in mind the great promises and the hope that He has given us. However, we must also understand His judgments and wrath. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, we must behold both the kindness and the severity of God to know Him as He is and understand His intervention in the times. The word of the Lord is clear that the wrath of God will come upon evil at the end of this age. In the last text we read from Revelation, we could discern a pattern in the intensity of the wrath poured out by the angels that corresponded with the degree of evil manifesting on the earth.
As we have covered, sin and evil is defined by God, not man. The Lord is clear in His definitions of these in Scripture, but through such things as political correctness, humanistic definitions have started to eclipse God’s definitions. This is the nature of apostasy, and a great apostasy has gripped most of the nations that recently sought to follow God and His ways. Most of Western Civilization has fallen to the ultimate depravity Isaiah spoke of where “good is called evil, and evil is called good, the dishonorable are honored, and the honorable are dishonored” (see Isaiah 5:20). When we get to that place, destruction is soon to follow. So what can we do?
The first thing we must do is repent. Even if we do not do these things, we are here to be the salt and light that preserves. This fall into the darkness of our times has happened on our watch. The heathen are just doing what heathen do, but if there is no light to shine into the darkness it is because God’s people have not been the prophetic voice in the world that they are called to be. We must look to ourselves first, as I Peter 4:17 states: “it is time for judgment to begin with the house of God.” How can God judge the world when His own people are guilty of that which is bringing judgment on the world, or have not warned those doomed to suffer His wrath? We can be sure that God will clean up His own house first.
Studies indicate that the church as a whole is not doing any better than the world in succumbing to evil. However, what we may tend to think of as the church may not be the church at all, but rather the counterfeit church that the Book of Revelation illuminates. There is always a remnant that is true to the Lord.
We must always keep in mind that we have all sinned and fallen short of the grace of God. Therefore, we have no room to be condescending to those still trapped in evil. Many of the greatest leaders in church history, such as the Apostle Paul, were once the greatest of sinners. Those who are forgiven much tend to love more. God’s heart is not to condemn even the worst sinners, but to save them. If we are walking in the light instead of the darkness it is because we were shown mercy. Our attitude towards those in darkness should never be to consider ourselves better than them, but to consider that we have been shown mercy and seek the same for them.
Even so, there is a time when judgment and wrath, including destruction, will come upon the earth for the evil that is done. For this reason we must be resolute in resisting sin as well as articulating it and make it clear. However, we cannot do this by the law, but rather by the grace and mercy of the cross. As we see in Revelation, the fear of judgment does not cause men to repent. As Paul also wrote to the Romans, it is the kindness of God that calls men to repentance (see Romans 2:4). We do this with the good news of the kingdom.
So why do the judgments come? We will be given understanding of this as we continue our study of Revelation.
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