Today’s Reading: Revelation 8 – 9
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17
Merry Christmas! This morning we celebrate the birth of our Savior. God loved us enough to give His Son and He loves us enough to promise His return. As we consider how God’s mysterious plan was fulfilled through Christ’s birth, let us also consider how His mysterious plan will again be fulfilled on this earth.
In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. – Revelation 9:6
The next four chapters of Revelation describe seven judgments that will take place on the earth and in the sky. Each time one of the seven angels stands before God and blows their trumpet, another horrible event takes place. Hail and fire fall down to the earth, burning trees and grass. A mountain of fire falls into the sea, killing one-third of all things living in the sea and destroying one-third of the ships. A great star falls on one-third of the rivers and the water turns bitter. One-third of the sun, moon and stars go dark and terror spreads across the earth.
Locusts the size of horses prepare for battle, stinging all who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. The sixth trumpet blew and 200 million mounted troops were released to kill one-third of the people on the earth, breathing plagues of fire and smoke and burning sulfur.
But the people who did not die in these plagues STILL REFUSED TO REPENT of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood – idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts. – Revelation 9:20-21
Just like we often see today, people experiencing difficulties and extremely hard times have a choice. They can run from God or run to Him. They can hide from Him or trust in Him. They can admit their sin or choose death. God has made it clear in His scriptures that sin is wrong and judgment is coming, yet so many people refuse to repent and accept God’s grace. Those who reject God’s grace will receive God’s judgment. It is inevitable. In the meantime, God is waiting patiently for His people to repent. He continues to extend His grace and offer forgiveness for those who will accept it.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
Another mighty angel came down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud with a rainbow over his head – the symbol of God’s promise. He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. He said, “There will be no more delay. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as He announced it to his servants the prophets.” – Rev. 10:6b-7
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting from heaven:
“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
The 24 elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was,
for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign.
The nations were filled with wrath and now the time of your wrath has come.
It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets,
as well as your holy people, all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest.
It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.”
Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of the Covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm. – Revelation 11:15-19
There will be judgment and there will be reward. There is no need to fear the terror that is ahead when we are walking in the light of our salvation. Remember Jesus’ words:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” – John 3:16-21
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for sending your light into the world through the birth of your son. Today as we celebrate Christmas and enjoy time with those we love, we pray for those who are still living in darkness. Lord, help us to be LIGHT in their life so that they, too, will enjoy your gift of eternal life. Amen.