Worship, wrath and a harvest

By this time in Revelation, things have gotten pretty bad on earth. The anti-christ has shown his true colors. He has demanded that everyone receive his mark and worship him. Imagine the chaos when any freedom that may have existed up to that point is wiped out. People will finally realize what the hero that brought them all together had in mind all along.

As John watches the world go “to hell in a handbasket”, he sees Jesus appear with the 144,000 Jewish witnesses that had died for their testimony of Christ during the tribulation. They are singing a new song before the throne of God. One that has never been heard before and that no one else knows the words to. (Revelation 14:3) The sound of this melody was so amazing that John struggles to describe it.

He compares it to the powerful, rushing sound of cascading waters. Like a waterfall, with a calming trickle in the background. He compares it to the sound of rumbling thunder. An awesome sound with powerful crescendos and the gentle backdrop of falling rain. Finally, he compares it to the beautiful melody of harpists on their harps. A heavenly choir, unlike anything he had ever heard.

As the heavenly choir sings they are joined by angelic proclamations announcing to the world that the time has finally come. The first angel announces the eternal gospel, proclaiming the hour of God’s judgment. It is now time for everyone to worship the Maker of heaven and earth and everything in them. (Revelation 14:7)

For it is written, “As I live”, says the Lord, “every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.” – Romans 14:11

The second angel announces that “Babylon the Great has fallen”. The evil dominion of the devil has finally collapsed. The world that shunned their Savior, preferring to store up for themselves earthly success and riches, has finally lost it all.

Finally, the third angel warns that anyone who went along with the beast and received his mark on their forehead will now experience the wrath of God. He reminds the people of God to persevere. It won’t be easy to go against the crowd and say no to the beast and his mark. People who desire money, power, and pleasure more than they desire eternity with the Lord will have to take the mark in order to satisfy their desires. But the believers who persevere even to the death are promised a blessing. (Revelation 14:13)

The scene comes to a close with a great harvest. The time to reap what has been sown has come. I wonder if John is recalling the parable Jesus told them as he witnesses this happening. When Jesus had explained the parable to His disciples, He spoke of a day just like the one John was now seeing unfold before his eyes.

Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.  The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.

“Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” – Matthew 13:37-43 NLT

There will be a day when God’s wrath will finally be unleashed upon the godless world. It’s not popular to talk about that today. But when we don’t share the whole truth, we are allowing people to believe that the holy God won’t punish sin and rebellion. That the One that created this earth and everything in it should not expect the glory He deserves. That His justice is canceled out by His love. But that is not the gospel message.

The gospel message is that God is holy and just and He cannot allow sin and rebellion to go unpunished. He has set the standard of holiness and no one but Jesus will ever meet it. (Romans 3:23) And what is the price of falling short? — Death. (Romans 6:23) But God loves us too much to leave us without a salvation plan.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 NIV

God sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins so that we would not have to. Like any gift, the gift of salvation must be accepted. God will not force it on us. He has made it available to anyone that believes. And when we accept it, our eternal destiny changes from darkness to light.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

John 3.16

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