I was cleaning out my notes and I found this. It’s too brilliant to be mine but I have lost the reference.
The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.
Revelation 14:10 tells us that there will come a time when “those who dwell on the earth” will completely align themselves with the Beast (a symbol of a Christian looking politcal-religious institutional power on earth) and thus become beast-like; they manifest it’s character or in other words, receive it’s mark.
What can God do with with someone who stands violently, satanically, opposed to the kingdom of light, love, and life? I mean the Bible makes it clear that for the sake of all creation, this sin war must come to an end. There has to be an end to starving children, rape, greed that poisons everything it touches, and the parasitic-like consumption that fuels humanity. Eden will be restored and the heartbeat of the universe will be tuned once again to other-centered love. If they were still alive, “those that dwell on the earth” will hate it and continue to war against it. This cannot be. What’s God to do?
He pours out his wrath on them. What does that mean?
I’ve already mentioned that all of us read those words through a lens of who we think God to be. Consider how in the beginning when God said to Adam and Eve, if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall die. Did he mean: If you break my rules I will have to punish you with execution? Many think so however, many also see him saying something else: Eating from that tree will break our relationship so horribly that death and destruction will rule the world. In the first scenario, God offers salvation, in a sense, to save us from his just punishment. In the second, God desires to save us, not from himself but from the horror of sin and death. The scenario that you lean towards will be a filter through which you understand God’s poured out wrath.
To me, an interesting picture is revealed when we look closely at Romans 1 and see that the wrath of God is placed within the context of God giving people up because they want to be given up on. Despite everything he has done to win them back to light, love, and life, they have chosen to opt out. God gives them up – to their heart’s desire; to the full, unfiltered consequences of sin.
In the end, could it be that God’s wrath is the most loving thing he can offer those who are determined to die?
In the last letter of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, God sends a last message of warning to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. This message is given by three angels to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a serious message – the consequences are life and death – but it’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.
In Revelation 14:10, we can read that there are those who shall “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation.” In my last post, I noted that all of us understand what “wrath of God” means through our worldview and our worldview is tainted by an enemy that wants us to distrust, even hate, God. What’s the solution?
In that post, shared something one of my favourite authors had to say on the subject and here’s the rest of her observation:
“Jesus came to teach men of the Father, to correctly represent him before the fallen children of earth. Angels could not fully portray the character of God, but Christ, who was a living impersonation of God, could not fail to accomplish the work. The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes.” (White, God Made Manifest in Christ)
We are invited to swap out our lenses for a different pair of worldview glasses: To see everything through the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
What does that mean on a practical level? It means coming to rest or trust that everything God does, including whatever his wrath is, comes from the bottomless well of his love, grace, and compassion. At the end of the day, we have to come to the point where we can say, “I don’t always understand who you are but God but I will trust you because I know that you always do the most loving thing that can be done.”
Can you do that?
I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. This message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message based in God’s great love because he desires to woo all people to his heart; the source of love and life.
This is one message but it’s given in three parts by three angels. Symbolically speaking, angels or messengers can be human beings who are obeying God’s calling to take this message around the world. However, there is still a supernatural element. Even if people sat on their hands and said nothing, God would ensure this message gets out.
In the second part of the message, God wants people to know that Babylon’s wine is a deadly poison. Why? To see this, you have to understand that God’s covenant is about an intimate, marriage-like, relationship with people. The basis of the covenant is not our behaviour or works but God’s love and grace.
Wine is often used to illustrate God’s covenant. A powerful example can be seen in the second chapter of John’s Good News letter. The event is Jesus turning water into wine. There is all sorts of powerful images in his actions: it takes place at a wedding; the water is in ceremonial washing pots, symbolic of salvation by works; the water of works can only be changed into the best wine ever – covenantal wine – by a divine act of grace. You can tell that this is about way more than a beverage because of John’s statement that this event is a “sign” aka a revelation of God. These images are powerful but there’s another piece of the puzzle you can’t miss.
Before Jesus turns the water into wine he says his hour or time has not yet come. Then John says this event revealed Jesus’ glory. These are references to the cross! Now we see the wine is pointing us to the greatest revelation and confirmation of God’s covenant – the death of Jesus. In Matthew 26:27-28, the record states, “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.””
The wine of Babylon is so deadly because it’s a counterfeit of God’s covenantal wine and relationship. It’s based on works (fornication) and an abusive, life destroying relationship – Babylon is fallen, is fallen.
I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. Although this message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who are not in a relationship with God and don’t give God glory, the last part of the first angel’s message speaks to all of us: “Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
Everyone needs to hear the call to worship him who made because human hearts are idol factories. With no effort at all we often look to people and things for what only God can give. We regularly turn good things into ultimate things.
Our idols are not easy to spot because they are entrenched in our lives; it’s to the point we like to pretend they’re not there. Sure we can pick on what we idolize culturally – sports teams, musicians, and TV stars. Sometimes we will rail against the big three idols of the world – Power, Money, and Sex. But the deeper we go, the less we like to talk about our idols and the harder they become to see. Family, traditions, nationalism like Jonah, our careers, certainty, and prosperity can all be idols to us. We can even make idols in our faith experiences such as the idol of successful ministry, the idol of correct doctrine, and the idol of moral performance.
How can we discover where are idols are so they can be rooted out? Try out these questions:
Is there anything in my life where I am saying: “If only I could _____________ then I’ll be happy” or “If only I had more ______ then I would be good to go; able to handle anything”?
Is there something I am pursuing at all costs; is there something I have been sacrificing the really important things to?
What do I daydream about? I don’t mean you dream about being on a beach somewhere warm when it gets cold. I’m talking about habitually daydreaming about having something that will certainly complete your joy.
How am I spending my money? Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. “Your money will also flow effortlessly towards your greatest love.”
When I pray for something and I don’t get it, how do I react? Do I experience anger or deep despair?
Anything coming to mind? If so, take it to God right now and ask if it’s an idol to you. If it is, it needs to be uprooted and smashed; it’s sucking the life out of you. However, that’s not enough. You must plant something else in it’s place: The love of God. Meditate on it, daily receive it, give it out to others; let it saturate your being.
(I would like to give a nod to Timothy Keller whose perspectives on idols have been life changing for me.)
Here’s a break from the series I’m doing on The Three. Today, I came across two insightful statements that came collided together in my brain. This was the first one:
“When the gospel is received in its purity and power, it is a cure for the maladies that originated in sin. The Sun of Righteousness arises, “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. Not all this world bestows can heal a broken heart, or impart peace of mind, or remove care, or banish disease. Fame, genius, talent–all are powerless to gladden the sorrowful heart or to restore the wasted life. The life of God in the soul is man’s only hope.
The love which Christ diffuses through the whole being is a vitalizing power. Every vital part–the brain, the heart, the nerves–it touches with healing. By it the highest energies of the being are roused to activity. It frees the soul from the guilt and sorrow, the anxiety and care, that crush the life forces. With it come serenity and composure. It implants in the soul, joy that nothing earthly can destroy,–joy in the Holy Spirit,–health-giving, life-giving joy.” — Ellen White, Ministry of Healing
And here is the second:
“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.” — C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Can we say that the great barrier to real life is our resistance to accept God’s acceptance? If we cannot believe that we are God’s beloved how can we love and accept ourselves?
I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. Although this message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who are not in a relationship with God and don’t give God glory, it raises questions for all people.
The last part of the first angel’s message is: “Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
A central theme in the Revelation of Jesus Christ is worship. In Revelation 13, we see a counterfeit trinity – the dragon and the two beasts – and it seeks to be worshipped. To get what it wants this satanic triple threat resorts to deception and manipulation, even to the point of murder. Look at Revelation 13:11-12, 15: Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed… He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
God’s solution to this attack against humanity is to call people to worship him who made. Not to worship things. Not to worship people. Certainly not to worship the dragon who never made anything except trouble.
Now if we didn’t take in any context, it might seem like God is demanding worship. Those who believe the devil’s lies about God say he just a needy dictator who goes around saying, “Worship me, worship me.” Let’s be clear: God doesn’t need to be worshipped by us or anybody else. No, we need to worship him for our own good. The call to worship God is an act of love because everything else we worship is about to collapse; it’s about to a powerful vortex of destruction and God doesn’t want anyone to get sucked into it.
There’s actually a process in the passage that reveals God’s love. It begins with the everlasting Good News – God’s acceptance of us – God always takes the initiative because we are disabled, broken and lost. What happens when we accept God’s acceptance of us; when we trust in him and his desire to save us and bring us home? We begin a close, intimate, repentant relationship with our Lord and Saviour. We begin to know God and be known by God; often referred to as ‘fearing God.’ With faith in the Good News, really the truth about who God is, living in an ever-deepening relationship, we will begin to give God glory: loving God, others and even ourselves just like God loves us. When our lives are moving to the rhythm of God’s grace, we can’t help but have a life of gratitude – worshipping him who made.
The amazing thing is, if we don’t resist God’s love, this will happen automatically, moment by moment, day by day.
I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. Although this message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who are not in a relationship with God and don’t give God glory, it raises questions for all people. One of those questions is how does God’s judgment apply to those who know God and are known by God?
In my last post, I pointed out that if you know God and are known by God, he doesn’t judge you; you are accepted and he is a safe place to place to put all your belief or trust. What I have noticed is that when I share this Good News, many people have a big but: But what about when the Bibles says we are judged for our works and we have to appear before the judgment seat?
The Bible speaks of two judgments: the Great White Throne and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Great White Throne is a judgment for those whose names are NOT written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15). In a nutshell, everyone’s names start out written in the book of life. As we resist God’s love and grace and reject his invitation to be in a covenant with him, slowly but surely our names are blotted out. Technically, the Great White Throne Judgment does not determine salvation; it is the end result of refusing to trust in God’s love and grace; in his acceptance of us. Those who know God and are known by God have no worry about the Great White Throne judgment.
However, those who know God and are known by God do come before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This phrase comes from the Greek word that sounds like “Bay-ma.” What’s that?
Think of the Olympics. After a race, the athletes receive their reward according to how they placed in the contest – some are participants, some receive medals. The panel of judges that gives out the awards is the “Bay-ma.”
The judgment seat of Christ is NOT a judgment concerning our sins; it’s not about being saved or lost. Our sins are forgiven and we are saved because of Christ’s cross. When we are with Christ, no record of our sin remains (Hebrews 8:12; Micah 7:19). He took our sin upon Himself and defeated it with His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24
The Judgment Seat of Christ is to determine our heavenly rewards. In other words, it’s where we receive our reward for the things we have done as a RESULT of our saving relationship with Christ. This old song captures the picture quiet well.
(Many thanks to my friend Michael C. who helped me have greater clarity on this complex topic.)
I want to apologize in advance for the long post. I tried to condense as much as possible.
I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. Although this message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who are not in a relationship with God and don’t give God glory, it raises questions for all people. One of those questions is how does God’s judgment apply to those who know God and are known by God. Last time, I wanted to make it clear that we have been set free, rescued, delivered, saved, by God’s grace and there is not one thing we can add to that. And yet, many who look to God as friend and Saviour, are afraid of judgment or at least concerned they won’t measure up.
If we’re going to talk about God’s judgment and we’ll start with a familiar and bedrock foundational text: John 3:16-18 (NLT).
The statement I want you to see today is, verse 18: “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” How much judgment is no judgment? Zero.
Have you ever felt judged? Maybe from your boss at work, a teacher at school, another church member, or even a parent? What’s it feel like? Words that come to my mind are anxiety, crushing weight, feeling small or insignificant, wounded. If you know what it’s like to feel judged then read that promise again. Does it bring peace to your restless heart? If you need additional assurance, also read John 5:24.
Both John 3:18 and 5:24 talk about believing. What does that mean?
When we believe, trust or have faith in Jesus Christ, it’s much more than simply knowing about God or having an understanding of God’s characteristics. You can get a really good grasp that God is Creator, Rescuer and Restorer and still perish. You can know that Jesus is wholly God as well as wholly man – God among us – and still die forever. Believing in Jesus and the one who sent him means that we believe or trust in God characteristics AND his character; what he is AND who he is.
Let’s say, there is something in your life you want to see healed – could be mental, spiritual, or physical. You say, “I believe you are Creator God and I ask in Jesus name for you to heal me.” Wait for it… wait for it…. Nothing seems to happen.
You start to figure you must be doing something wrong:
You need to get your life in order, You’re not being spiritual enough,
You just aren’t being obedient enough.
Then in creeps in this thought that maybe God doesn’t hear your prayers or he does but he doesn’t care enough to answer them. Maybe he just doesn’t care about you. Disappointment, bitterness and cynicism start to find a place in your heart… Sure,you still believe there’s a God but now you starting to believe the worst about him. Without even realizing it, you make the first judgment – the one made by Adam and Eve: God is not really who he says he is and he can’t be trusted.
Believing in Jesus means that when you are caught between a rock and a hard place you hang on to your trust in his character, in his ability to fulfill his promises; to be the God you have read about. Believing in Christ Jesus means to keep abiding in him even when he says, “I heard your many requests but my grace is sufficient for you.”
Would you like to have that kind of belief today?
If you just had a few moments to call out a warning to people you love, what would you say and how would you say it? What would you be willing to risk? If you knew that the warning would be scoffed at and ignored, would you still give it? I ask you to consider these questions and more in a series called, “The Three.”
In the last letter of the Bible, there’s a lot of symbolism; a story being told with vivid imagery. In that letter we find an urgent message in Revelation 14:6-11.
The message of the three angels is for those who dwell on the earth. These are the people with blood on their hands; these are the people who love themselves and the world more than they love others and the kingdom of God.
We tend to write off people who do what those who dwell on the earth do. Not our God – he loves with everything he’s got to the very end.
So what does this mean for me and you?
For me, it makes my heart swell with praise. For I was once a person who dwelt on the earth. I’m forever grateful that he called out to me; never giving up on me.
Do you hear him calling for you?