Revelation 3:10 |The Earth can’t be Saved

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Climate change, famine, asteroids, president Trump, and the Zombie Apocalypse are obsessions in this secular age of ways the world could end. For Christians the second coming of Jesus, the tribulation, the end of days, and the eventual destruction of the world are topics that we try to avoid. It seems to be in our DNA the idea that everything will end badly. And our instinct on this topic is right. We can’t save the Earth anymore than we can prevent our own death.

While the end of the world topics may be over dramatic and made for popular entertainment the current and future breakdown society is all true to a degree. This world is not going to last forever. America will not last forever. We know deep down that none of this even our own lives will last and for me I am thankful to God that the evil in this world has an expiration date also.

10 You followed my command to endure patiently. So I will keep you from the time of trouble that will come to the world—a time that will test everyone living on earth. 11 “I am coming soon. Hold on to the faith you have, so that no one can take away your crown. Revelation 3:10-11 ESV

Thank God because injustice and death in this world will end. God has a plan to restore what was lost from the start of creation. In the beginning God saw all that He made and it was “good”. Now after rebellion and a curse God sees his creation as something that must be created new. Lost was the perfection of God’s design. Cursed is this universe and the people living in it. So, thank you God for setting into motion a plan to undo the evil we brought forth. Revelation is an unnerving look at how we get from here, a moment of grace and mercy, to the start of a new creation. Below is a high-level outline of those steps.

Rapture of the church (the saints)

51 But listen, I tell you this secret: We will not all die, but we will all be changed. 52 It will only take the time of a second. We will be changed as quickly as an eye blinks. This will happen when the last trumpet blows. The trumpet will blow and those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we will all be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV

Christians both dead and alive will be changed in the blink of an eye and will meet with Jesus. This moment in time is called the Rapture. This supernatural event, at an unknown and unpredictable moment, will take everyone by surprise. The church will no longer inhabit this planet.

Judgement Seat of God for believers (a moment to see what has been done that glorifies God)

Around the time of the Rapture will be the event of the Judgment seat of God. This judgment is for those raptured Christians but it is not a condemnatory judgment but an account of life to see how the person has glorified God. Christians are saved by grace it is at this point we will understand in detail that how we lived and what we did matters.

Seven Year Tribulation

The Tribulation period is an accelerated moment of time where God gives those remaining a chance to repent. Few will do so and life for everyone remaining will be short and painful.

Second Coming of Christ

11 Then I saw heaven open. There before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse was called Faithful and True, because he is right in his judging and in making war. Revelation 19:11 ESV

Jesus days before his death, burial, and resurrection triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus at that time came to bring peace and grace. Kings promising peace would enter on a donkey. Kings bringing war would enter on a horse. Salvation is available to all who would trust him. Embrace the good tidings of Christmas and accept the gift that Jesus brings. We are living in that moment of peace and grace. Do not miss this opportunity. Because when Jesus comes the second time he comes on the horse of war and his judgment is righteous.

Kingdom Age 1,000 year rule Millennium

I saw an angel coming down out of heaven. The angel had the key to the bottomless pit. The angel also held a large chain in his hand. 2 The angel grabbed the dragon, that old snake, also known as the devil or Satan. The angel tied the dragon with the chain for 1000 years. 3 Then the angel threw the dragon into the bottomless pit and closed it. The angel locked it over the dragon. The angel did this so that the dragon could not trick the people of the earth until the 1000 years were ended. After 1000 years the dragon must be made free for a short time. Revelation 20:1-3 ESV

Now that the king has arrived Jesus will rule for a millennium on earth fulfilling the remaining prophecy of the Old Testament Jews. At the end of this rule is a final war between Satan and God.

Great White Throne Judgment

11 Then I saw a large white throne. I saw the one who was sitting on the throne. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared. 12 And I saw those who had died, great and small, standing before the throne. Some books were opened. And another book was opened—the book of life. The people were judged by what they had done, which is written in the books. Revelation 20:11-12 ESV

This judgment throne is the one for those who have not been saved by Jesus. These people will be taking on the wages of their sin on their own. They have rejected God and now stand apart from him. God’s judgment is righteous and perfect.

New Creation

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared. Now there was no sea…The one who was sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” Revelation 21:1;5 ESV

Conclusion

What does this mean to me right here right now. If you are saved by Christ it means live life knowing that at any moment the end of days could be upon us. Are our affairs in order? Are we focused on the right things… eternal things? For those that are not saved and have rejected Christ this is a reminder that Jesus comes to us now in peace and mercy. Salvation is at hand for anyone who believes. That moment of grace and mercy will not last forever.

Peter urged the church to think of the end this way.

10 But the day when the Lord comes again will surprise everyone like the coming of a thief. The sky will disappear with a loud noise. Everything in the sky will be destroyed with fire. And the earth and everything in it will be burned up. 11 Everything will be destroyed in this way. So what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and devoted to God. 12 You should be looking forward to the day of God, wanting more than anything else for it to come soon. When it comes, the sky will be destroyed with fire, and everything in the sky will melt with heat. 13 But God made a promise to us. And we are waiting for what he promised—a new sky and a new earth. That will be the place where goodness lives. 2 Peter 3:10-13 ESV

Jesus Brings a Sword

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Churches should be compassionate and that compassion follows from the example of Jesus who is the head of the church. Jesus came to save the lost and show compassion to those in need. Likewise the Church must be suffering servants of the community. Showing grace through acts of kindness and service to those in need. Most understand this and are rightfully quick to criticize churches that fail in this duty.

On the flip side is Government. Many want Government to replace the church. They want Government to be compassionate and serving the community. The problem however is that Government has a unique authority to bring wrath and Governments have always had the authority to kill and to imprison. Try not paying your taxes and you will by force of the sword be made to pay. Just look to the example of actor Wesley Snipes if there is any doubt. Putting men in charge of compassion through the arm of government will never end well.

The only authority that has the moral right to kill is Government. The death penalty through a court system and also in war are two examples where Governments can take life legally and morally. No Church, citizen, or individual has that right. Jesus while familiar to many as a compassionate Church leader is much less familiar as Jesus the just King wielding the authority of death. Jesus is a King and ruler of a government entity of which we are all subjects. Jesus has the right to wage war and execute a death penalty as His perfect justice sees fit. Jesus welding a sword is a shocking realization to many but this idea is introduced in the Old Testament and then continued by John in his apocalypse vision of the returning Jesus. John writes…

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19:11-16 ESV

John’s vision of Jesus may be shocking to the modern reader but not to those at the time John wrote this apocalypse. The Jewish elite were afraid Jesus had come overthrow Rome, and thereby overthrow their power. That is the reason they had him killed. The Disciples hoped that Jesus had come to overthrow Rome and set up each of the Disciples as rulers in this new kingdom. But Jesus told them that his time to rule had not arrived. Upon realizing that Jesus would not make the Disciples powerful rulers in this current life Judas walked away and betrayed Jesus for silver. Jesus had come not as king but as priest to testify to the truth of God and to reconcile men to God. Jesus came to save the lost to provide a window, a window we live in right now, of mercy and grace to submit to the Creator. However that window will close at some unknown date in the near future. At that time Jesus will return and the name will be written on him “King of Kings”. This vision that John has prophesied was also revealed to others. King David writes in song…

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand” Psalms 110:1a ESV

David is the king of all Israel. How odd it would be for him to say the “The Lord says to my Lord” when David is the king and lord of an earthly kingdom. David answered to none other than God so who would this other Lord be that David called Lord? David answers the question just a few verses later.

The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Psalms 110:4 ESV

Melchizedek is a mysterious figure that is revealed in Genesis. Abraham the kingly patriarch of the promised nation of Israel interacted with Melchizedek. Abraham a man like David who answered to no one but God pays tribute to another Lord at the successful conclusion of a battle.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:18-20 ESV

Abraham is the chosen of God to be the father of a priestly nation call Israel. Abraham encounters a man named Melchizedek who is described as “priest of God Most High”. King David tells us that this Lord of Lords sitting at the right hand of God will also be a priest modeled after this mysterious high priest of God. This Lord of Lords will also be High Priest. David is singing about a King who is also a Priest.

Jesus with his sword of Government is coming. We already have witnessed and are living in the opportunity to embrace the Priestly Refuge of this King but when he comes to establish the Kingdom where will we stand?

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalms 2:10-12 ESV

Are you president of the United States? Are you a czar of Russia? CEO of a corporate entity? Master of your home? It does not matter “Kiss the Son” and “rejoice with trembling” all will bow before this Lord and this king. David sings that this Lord is “a priest forever”. His compassion is never ending for those who are saved. He has the authority to both save and kill. Take hold of this promise today while you can and draw near to the perfect Lord of Lords and Intercessory Priest of God.

22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:22-25 ESV