How can I not do this!? This was a question brought up in our Revelation study by one woman after reading carefully what will occur in the future, maybe closer than we know.
In our study this week we were shown some of the things this world will--will--go through in the last days. While we may not understand all the imagery of Revelation 8 and 9, it again points us to Who, not what, is in control and Who we can trust. Read for yourself!
We have to believe that even though we live on earth in an earthly body with earthly desires, there are two unseen spiritual atmospheres. Some of us can feel the presence of them. There is a joy about one but a heaviness and sorrow about the other.
With that, listen to a few of the things that will happen in those last days. Remember that if it is in the Bible it will happen. God does not lie but He also wants us to be fully aware, warned and prepared for those days. These are judgments that will take place. This may seem like a lot of scripture but nothing says it better.
...hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)
...something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Revelation 8:8-9)
...a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. ...A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. (Revelation 8:10-11)
...a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. (Revelation 8:12)
That's just the environment. Imagine a third of all crops, water, fish and animals destroyed and less sun to grow what remained. That would be a problem. This will be done that man will look to God and believe. He will be controlling all this. But there is more.
Next the judgments upon man. A bottomless pit was opened and locusts swarmed out. They were not to harm (the remaining) vegetation but were given authority to torment anyone who was not of God. In this prophecy, however, there are still many who, like Pharaoh in Exodus, hardened their hearts and refused to repent and still would not bow to God. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. (Revelation 9:5-6) Five months of wishing death.
Next 1/3 of man was allowed to be killed by a huge, powerful army. And yet, even after that some would not bow to the Lord. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:18,20-21)
This bowing to God is not just the idea that we believe there is a God and taking the idea He will return lightly or believing it won't happen in our lifetime. Bowing means submitting to Him, asking forgiveness of our sins and following and obeying Him. It is something we must do. James 2:19 says: You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! If the demons know and they tremble over God, shouldn't we? With reverent fear.
The Lord is merciful. These things must come to pass as signs. We haven't seen anything like this yet but it will happen. He tries to get our attention personally even today with financial hardship, illness, murder, theft, terrorism. Weren't we shocked at 9/11? Aren't we concerned about the rise in terrorism, human trafficking, unnecessary violence? Still some don't get it. He will step it up as the days go on. Jesus would prefer that none perish, yet He knows that will not be the case. These are the stark warnings for us that we might come to Him and believe, trust, have faith in and obey Him. Even if He waits 25 years, knowing Him is His desire. Underlying all this destruction is His love. It might not seem like it, but it's there. He keeps warning and warning. He loves us so much.
How can I not do as the opening scripture tells us? Do I expect everyone to listen/read? No. Do I want people to harden their hearts all the more? Of course not. How can I not share what the truth of God's Word says?
How many times do we, even believers, have to hear what God commands us and reject it? We are all guilty of putting other things before Him, as came out in our Revelation study yesterday. God's warnings are for our good. He is delaying His return, for awhile, that more would submit and receive Him. But...He could come any time. Or anyone could be struck by a car or sudden illness. We must know Him before disaster arrives. Then we can look to Him to get us through. No one or thing can compare.
How can I not continue to share His love and warnings? How can I not say it like it is? How can I not? His words might be hard to believe, unless you know Him. We cannot be content in this world with all its trappings. Do the things of this world really satisfy or do you always desire more? People throw their money into lotteries hoping to win the big one. How about throwing your heart at the throne of God for the greatest reward of all...eternal life. The greatest gift we can receive is Jesus Christ. All that money will not satisfy in the long run. It will not prevent our death or the death of others. It will not bring our salvation either.
In class we all agreed that what we share with others isn't always going to be received joyfully or thankfully. Most will reject the words of God. That is the greatest burden we all carry. But Jesus says to give our burdens to Him. We do what is required and let Him sort it out.
C.S. Lewis said: If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. I know that many will say they are satisfied in this world. Jesus tells us not to seek the treasures of the world that perish but seek the things of God. It goes against the human mind. We are told that we are to have faith in those things we cannot see. Wow. Jesus' followers had the opportunity to see Him and believed (and even then there were those who wanted no part of Him). Through His disciples and others after them, the testimony of Jesus Christ has continued...among those who have not seen Him. Only He will remain in the end after the earth is gone.
Matthew 10:32-33 - Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.