“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days,” Gen 49:1
We have considered the patient tolerance of God toward man’s wickedness in order that He may gather in His elect. But such patience will not last for ever!
I. JUST AS DAVID RESPONDED TO THE MOCKING CHALLENGE OF GOLIATH AFTER ‘FORTY DAYS’ OF SHOUTING OUT DEFIANCE, MORNING AND EVENING, EVEN SO WILL THE LORD IN LIKE MANNER ANSWER MAN’S MOCKING AND JEERING TAUNTS ONE DAY!
1. Does it not speak of God’s mercy that He shows men that their rebellion cannot succeed! I am sure it does. God has clearly told mankind where sin will bring it. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Genesis 2:16-17. Adam did not believe God and so “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” Romans 5:12. That is how the futile rebellion began. The Lord has since that time repeatedly warned of sin’s consequences. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die,” Ezekiel 18:20. That is a central gospel declaration.
2. Further than that, the Lord has shown mercy in providing salvation for a people. “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28. There you have the number of the elect! ‘Many’. Hear His words on another occasion. “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Matthew 8:11-12. The purpose of God is to save many, many undeserving, hell-deserving sinners and bring them to glory.
3. The means of salvation He provides displays His mercy to the full. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him,” Romans 5:7-9. Christ died to save sinners. Upon Him was the sentence of a broken law carried out on behalf of those He would save! That is how the sinner escapes hell.
How is this salvation appropriated? The answer is simple – FAITH. As I obtain deliverance from a disease by believing and obeying a doctor, so when I believe and obey the gospel I obtain salvation. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they (Paul and Silas) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:30-31.
II. BUT THERE IS A DAY WHEN SUCH MERCIFUL RESTRAINT WILL END AND WRATH WILL FALL
Rev 6:12-17. Note the words: “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Verse 17.
1. That day is certain. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead,” Acts 17:30-31. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only,” Matthew 24:36.
2. It will come upon a world totally unprepared. “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,” Matthew 24:38-39.
This is the price of unbelief! Unpreparedness for the oft-warned of judgment of God upon sin!
3. I have often pondered in distress of soul what it must be like for those thus overtaken by God’s wrath. Daily we hear of those who are hurled out into eternity in an instance, often as a result of their own folly. Think of those 158 (at least) in Beirut who died in that explosion!
III. THE DAY OF WRATH FOR SINFUL MAN IS ONE OF JOY AND PEACE FOR THE REDEEMED
As it was for Israel at the Exodus, so it will be when Christ returns. Destruction upon the enemies of God but deliverance and joy for those under the blood.
Revelation 19 ends with the slaughter of the armies and supporters of Antichrist but the next chapter commences with the beginnings of a blessed time for the saints of God and of the earth generally, verses 1-6. It is that period spoken of so often by the prophets. Here is a sample. Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:1-16; Jeremiah 31:31-40. These are but a small number of the wonderful verses which speak of that day referred to in Revelation 20:1-6.
1. There is a total curbing of the devil during Christ’s reign. Vs 1-3.
2. There is a delivering of the nations of the earth from his deceivings. Verse 3.
3. There is the beginning of the exaltation of the redeemed to reign over the earth with Christ. Verses 4-6. I mentioned Rev 5:10 this morning. “We shall reign on the earth.”
Consider these verses please.
“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming,” Psalm 37:10-13.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” Matthew 5:5. This ‘inheritance’ is of the earth and can only take place after Christ returns!
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” 1 Corinthians 6:2. Again, such power can only be exercised after Christ returns!
Little wonder John said after seeing such a wonderful vision of the future of God’s people, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” Rev 22:20.
May we have similar prayerful longing and desire!