May 22, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8.5)
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
Regardless of the time of that Terrible Day as to when in the calendar of human history it comes to pass or how long the warning signal of silence following the breaking of the seventh seal as the sun breaks over the horizon to bring in “that day” of our lives, that day will come. We can rest assure of it. And by that “rest” I am speaking of the Sabbath call to “keep the day of the Lord holy and sacred.” Throughout the Old Testament are listed many variations and applications of “the Sabbath day.” Whether it is the seventh day of the created week (which is Saturday), the first day of the recreated week (which is Resurrection Sunday), the agricultural sabbatical year (when fields are to lie fallow and be renewed naturally) or Jubilee (when all debts are cancelled and all homes are returned for the people to dwell freely in them, the Sabbath is a critical element to our understanding of the balance of life which God created and instituted for our physical, mental, psychological, ecological, sociological and spiritual welfare. As this revelation of Jesus Christ who is the Lamb of God is given to John, we would do well to consider the prophets’ warning to all nations and not just believe it was to Israel (in part or in whole). What was that warning? Let us be sure to understand the benchmark by which God judges His response to the wise and the wicked, the righteous and the recalcitrant as well as the saint and the sinner. That benchmark is as it was when we started this reflection on The Book of Revelation: recognition that there is but One True God and obedience to His call in our lives which promotes, preserves and provides our welfare in this world on earth as it will in Heaven which is beyond the confines of this world, this earth and this universe.
So, as we move forward in reflecting further upon this Revelation and its inevitable conclusion, we must do far more than entertain the idea of “faithfulness as to the Lord.” We must accept it and put it into effect in our lives “by word and deed” so that all may see it and have the opportunity to accept it or reject it for themselves as to how they shall live in this world and in the next. Let us continue to be clear on this point: there is no true cessation of life but a true transition from one choice of life over another. There are only two choices but many expressions as to the mode and means of understanding and living out those choices. The choices are: eternal life lived in the realm of God, the Father of Jesus the Christ and our Savior in Heaven and Earth; or eternal death lived in the realm forever separated from the love, mercy and grace of God through Jesus the Christ in a place where God is not in the midst of them but totally surrounds them without fail. It is with that mindset of the inescapable reality (and thus the “one” of our choosing) that we then move forward into the time beyond the revelatory Sabbath which occurs at the beginning of chapter 8. It is in that “half hour” of silence that the whole of creation lies in wait contemplating “what comes next” and to whom it shall happen. And understand, “on whom it shall happen” is not determined as to them but to each person (regardless of their race, creed, religion, politics, finances, sexual orientation or geography). The scripture has always been clear on this point: “God’s justice rains on the just and the unjust.” It does not play the “respector of person” game which the world believes it excels in. It is at this point in Revelation history we see that the only ones spared among those who have lived on earth on “that Day” are the ones not spared from the sword and cruel justice of the world speaking against those who promote the faith in Jesus as the Christ who is, was and will always be “the Way, the Truth and the Life” by which entrance through the Gate of Heaven is granted and permanent residence in the New Heaven, the New Earth and the New Jerusalem is called into being. Everyone else is subject to the testing of this “terrible and fierce execution of judgment.” For those whose faith remains in the Lord, such trial and tribulation is now non-negotiable. They will no longer be able to say “that is the work of another but not me.” They will have to take their stand and make it known before God and all creation as to “I believe that Jesus is the Christ and accept Him truly as My only Lord and Savior.” Where they faltered before the call of martyrdom previously, they must now trust in the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, body, mind and strength. So, it shall also be for those who are caught in that “terrible Day” that they must profess Christ or confess before the whole of creation “I do not and will not believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God as there is no living god but those of my making, and I will not accept the word which says ‘this is the way, the truth and the life” by which I may have life and have it in true abundane. How we answer that question and by which profession of faith we align determines then how we receive the rest of this Revelation giving to John for the welfare of the Church beginning in the Seven Churches of Asia Minor and therefore throughout the whole of the kingdom of humanity on Earth. The call of the lives of the faithful is the continuing execution of the Great Commission and making disciples in every nation until the close of the Age. That Age, the Age of the Church, will close when the Lamb who is the Righteous Bridegroom will come to claim His Bride, the Church, as His own forever and ever.
So, mighty ones of God in Jesus as the Christ, what then shall you believe as we move forward to see what God has determined to do from the beginning. The execution of that justice comes when the Golden Censer is hurled upon the earth.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.