Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, October 5, 2015
“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.” (Revelation 14:6–7).
As we said yesterday, at a time when the prophet Daniel was bewildered and seeking God diligently, He chose to reveal the ministry and sacrifice of the Messiah. Of all the events that would occur between the time of Daniel and the end of time, it’s remarkable that God chose to give a snapshot of the gospel. This blessing is continued in Revelation 14. No matter one’s religious persuasion, or dissuasion for that matter, there is no doubt that we are living in bewildering times. All one needs do is read the daily news headlines to recognize the fact.
Is there any hope in judgment, cleansing, and the everlasting gospel?
We have already highlighted the fact that God’s judgment can reveal righteousness worthy of eternal reward for those who are perfected in love. None need to experience the condemnation, which comes from habitual rejection of God’s love, mercy, and correction. Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, not people. Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, millions of people seem to want to join them. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of today’s thought, will you commit not to go that route? Will you commit today to make it a habit to listen to God’s voice and accept His blessing of repentance and Jesus’ righteous covering? I certainly hope so.
In the ancient Hebrew system of ceremonies and sacrifices, the holiest day of all was the Day of Atonement. This occurred one time every year. The blessing of this day was that all throughout the year, the people of God were confessing their sins, which were symbolically transferred from them to the innocent sacrifice, to the priest, to the temple, and then a miraculous expungement occurred on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), wherein the symbol of their confessed/forsaken sins that had by that point been atoned for, would be symbolically laid on the head of another animal that was carried out of the camp. All of this was considered a time of judgment, because the people had a choice: They could enjoy the solemn blessing of confessing and forsaking their sins all throughout the year and awaiting the time that the total cleansing took place, or they could take it lightly and be found guilty through unrepentance. The penalty for unconfessed sin is death. The blessing is that God would not hold repentant people’s sins against them once they confessed them while they awaited expungement or yearly cleansing of their sin record. I just crammed months of Bible teaching into a short paragraph.
Many issues are worthy of note here, a few of which I will highlight:
1.Only people who participated in the process of confessing and forsaking their sins were included into this blessing of judgment that would lead to cleansing
2.At any point in time, being the free moral agents we are, we could choose to turn our backs on God. He never forces people to love Him. That would be contrary to the love principle
3.By the time the symbol of sins were carried out of the camp, they had already been atoned for
4.This aspect of judgment is actually part of a three-phase continuum
Let’s start with point number one: As I said, the people of God were confessing their sins all year long and being forgiven through a series of intricate rites that represented the sacrifice and ministry of Jesus Christ. As a new Christian many years ago, I wondered what happened to those who were not confessing their sins, etc? What about people who had no idea about God’s way of delivering people from sin? Those who had no access to the truth of God, but responded to His revelations through nature, conscience, and all else He did reveal to them in various ways, were safe, as long as they honestly lived up to the light they had access to. This is a continual process. No matter from what way of life we come, as long as we continue to grow toward God inasmuch as He reveals Himself to us individually, we are brought into conformity to His will. And whether we understand the fulness of the revelation of Messiah/Jesus’ perfect ministry or not, we are all saved through Him (Romans 1-3).
However, there were those who simply rejected whatever God revealed of Himself. This is a problem, because it impedes one’s progress toward greater revelation, culminating in the revelation of Jesus. Here’s a verse that makes sense of this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). The question now is, how in the world can those who are already condemned through rejection of light become blessed with everlasting life in our days and times? Judgment! The way those who find themselves condemned “already” through rejection of Christ’s revelation can be delivered from such a state is judgment.
We already said that those who were recipients of the yearly cleansing were only those who participated in the daily blessing of confessing and forsaking their sins in the symbol of the Old Testament. Therefore, the key to freeing unbelievers was somehow welcoming them into the process so they could have access to the yearly cleansing! Please be patient with this line of reasoning. There is a sweet light at the end of this tunnel. One major purpose for the everlasting gospel shown in our theme text, is to bring people in from the cold of condemnation. This phase of judgment is a pathway to avoid being on the wrong side of the other two phases, which will come in the future.
We have said a lot today; perhaps more than many of you realize, but God is leading us. It will take several days to further unpack our first point and the remaining three, but if you are prayerful and patient, the Lord will show you incredible beauty in these verses.
Until next time, please know that the Lord has not left anyone out of His plans for salvation. Through many intricate and blessed movements in gospel history, He has revealed His love for every single person who has ever lived.
Familiarize yourself with Matthew 22:1-14 for tomorrow’s devotional thought.
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, thank you for giving us an incredible Word again today. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.