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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

What, in the world, is happening?

Mass murder, and mayhem, in Las Vegas; mass uprising, and demonstration, in Barcelona; the mass of an asteroid the size of a tower-block forecast to miss planet Earth by just thousands of miles (close, in astronomical terms!); the growing threat of North Korea being the catalyst for World War III. This is the world in which we live - and it would be easy to despair in the light of these, and other, events happening around the world.

In my personal devotions, I am currently reading in the book of the Revelation of Jesus, given to the apostle John. It is not the easiest Biblical book to understand. It is of the apocalyptic genre, and is filled with symbolism. I certainly find it to be confusing, at times; but I am also being led to rethink some long-held ideas. However, the overriding lesson of the book is that, however events may seem to suggest otherwise, Almighty God is in control, and that He is working all things out according to His own eternal plans and purposes.

I have just reached chapter 20 of the book (not that John wrote it down in chapters and verses! These were added by others in order to facilitate finding any particular part of the book - and of the Bible). In the previous chapter, we have what we might refer to as the beginning of the end. John records:

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying,
            “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
              Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory,
             for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
             and His Bride has made herself ready; 

            it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure” - 
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints." (Rev.19:6-8).

Almighty God has been reigning in heaven throughout eternity. In His sovereignty, He has permitted evil men - and evil angels; the servants of the satan - to do their worst, and we are seeing some of that, on a daily basis, in our own time. However, there is a day coming - and it may be a lot sooner than some seem to think - when He will move in divine power, and His will shall be fulfilled on earth,  even as it already is in heaven. 

The Lamb, in this great chorus of praise is, of course the Lord Jesus, the Christ; and the Bride is the Church - not simply those who have their names on a congregational/fellowship roll, but those who have been truly born again through God the Holy Spirit, through repentance and faith. (see Jn.3:16; Eph. 2:8).

One day (soon, I believe) Jesus will return for His Bride, and take His faithful people to that dimension that we refer to as 'heaven'. So Paul writes:

"But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the shofar of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (I Thess.4:13-17). 

At the Judgement Seat of the Christ (see II Cor.5:10), the works of His people will be judged, and all spots and blemishes removed. It will be after this that Jesus will return to earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords, and will conquer His enemies and establish His kingdom.

The Revelation was first given to people who were going through similar experiences to what we go through today. As today, many were persecuted, to the point of death, simply for being faithful to Him. In Rev.19:11, we are introduced to "... a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, ..." Suffering saints then, and now, need to be reminded that our God is faithful, and never deserts us, because His promises are true. 

So how does this relate to current events? I would suggest that we are seeing more and more evidence that we are in the end-times. The devil knows - better than we do! - that his time is limited. He is doing all that he can to wreak havoc. There is no hope without Jesus. However, in Him, there is true hope, and life, and the assurance of an eternity spent in His nearer presence, where sin cannot exist, and where we shall praise Him, the Lamb upon the throne, our Saviour, our Lord, and our Friend.

How do you see the future? Perhaps it doesn't concern you! I believe that it should. I also believe that you need to ensure that your future is with the Lord. He gave Himself for you, on a cross - dying there that you (and I) might have the life that He offers - "... life in all its fulness." (Jn.10:10). Will you respond to His call? Will you accept the gift of salvation that He offers? It is a simple fact that tomorrow is promised to no-one - as the victims in Las Vegas have, sadly, discovered. What you do have is this moment. What will you do with it? 

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