Where systems and governments have failed us, God’s offer remains.
While this nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, we must admit, that those words remained merely a proposition. This nation held Africans in bondage, pillaged Native lands and kept women disenfranchised. For millions of people of color, America was indeed the beast of Revelation 13 that looks like a lamb and speaks like a dragon. And undoubtedly, millions under the oppressive yoke of racism wondered if there were a God who would listen to their prayers.
But just as this nation was birthing, wrapped in the placenta of racism, God was giving birth to another movement as depicted in Revelation 14:6, 7:
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
First, God sends a message.
“I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven with a message to give to those on the earth.” Oh! Good News church of the living God! There is a message from heaven. God hears the cries of His people in bondage. God is not far removed. God is not unconcerned. God is not deaf, speechless and blind. God sees. God knows. The Bible says that He is a High Priest touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). He feels the lash of every whip and the sting of every tongue. And so, God intervenes. He breaks into time. He disrupts the status quo.
He is moved by our dilemma. The message comes from heaven, but it comes to the earth. It is a heavenly message, but it is relevant to people down here who cry out for justice.
Second, God Sends A Universal Message
Not only does God send a message but God sends a universal message which goes to every nation, kindred, language and people. Because His message is a heavenly message it is not bound by the constraints of human constructs. No chain can restrain it, no border can contain it. It is larger than governments, more powerful than presidents. God’s universal message cannot be owned by anyone or sold like a slave on the auction block. God freely gives it to all.
These days we live in what some social scientists call the “echo chamber.” An echo chamber is an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.
So, conservatives only watch conservative news, and liberals only watch liberal news. We only will hear people who agree with us. That is the echo chamber. But God’s message from heaven will not be confined to an echo chamber. It will not be interpreted through reporters and think tanks and analysts. God’s message does not need a law from Congress or a ruling from the Supreme Court. God sends His own universal message to every nation, kindred tongue and people.
So, while America may have had a two-tiered system of social inclusion, one for land-holding, white males (the included) and another for Africans, Natives, the poor and women (the excluded), God has no such tiered system. There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. All is level at the foot of the cross. Whosoever will, may come. For both master and slave needed to be saved—saved from their personal sin and saved from the sin system that held both in bondage.
This message comes at a time when racism was normalized and legalized. The message of this angel challenges the legalized and codified bigotry of America. It confronts the narrowness of nationalism. And it affirms the sovereignty of God. Thus, while liberty is only a proposition in American jurisprudence, liberty is a divine proposition and a certain promise in the Kingdom of God.
Dedrick Blue, DMin, pastors a North Bronx Adventist church, is a consultant, and part-time professor for Oakwood University.
This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue