"so, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." Hebrews 9:28 (NIV)
Recently, I began re-reading the book of Revelations. I am re-reading it because, as most of you know already, often times, when scripture is read and applied to the events of your life as they are occurring, it can reveal something different than when you read the same verses in the past. But, if I'm honest, though I have read this and all of the books of the Bible before, I was simply checking off my "to do" list. I wasn't really trying to "digest" what I was reading. So, about 9 months ago, I started re-reading the entire Bible. But not just reading it. After however many verses, chapters, books, I would read at a sitting, I would then comment about what I took away from the reading on my Facebook page—see, Facebook isn't all bad—not for anyone else to read and absorb my wisdom, it was just my way of reminding myself to be diligent in my study. So, please, don't think that I think that I have any kind of special insight into scripture, because I have only what insight the Holy Spirit gives me.
That is kinda special though, huh?
That said … I've been re-reading Revelations.
Revelations is a book that, and if you've read it you'll agree, is fairly unique in the Bible. Where the majority of the books are simply letters written by one of the more than forty authors, Revelations isn't. When the Apostle John—the disciple who Jesus loved: John 1, John 2, John 3, Revelation—was imprisoned on the island of Patmos, he had a vision of the "End of Days".
As you might imagine … it was kinda freaky!
For this reason, there seems to be a lot of conjecture concerning the meaning of John's testimony, though as I'm reading it, it seems very clear to me. Some people … okay … most of the people I've asked say that Revelations actually scares them!
"The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves." Hebrews 10:1 (NIV)
I admit that in chapter 7, John describes the four horsemen … of the Apocalypse … one of which is mounted by (gulp!) … Death … and he goes on to talk about Hades, and earthquakes, and the sun turning black, and the mountains and islands being removed …
Okay, that stuff does sound a little scary. But should it?
Well, if you're lost, one of those poor people who hasn't come to the realization that Jesus' sacrifice is the only reason that anyone on Earth has even a chance of salvation:
"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.'" John 14:16 (NIV)
Then, yeah, you should probably be scared.
But as for us … I'm assuming here (but hoping that I'm wrong) that only believers are reading this, why should we be afraid? Jesus' sacrifice has paved the way for our salvation! We have absolutely nothing to fear! As a matter of fact, I'm looking forward to seeing the show! I'm ready, any time, to see Jesus, "the lamb who was slain" descending from the clouds to pass judgement on the … lost.
The lost … yeah, that part will s*#k. I, personally, will take no pleasure in seeing Satan and all his minions being cast into the lake of fire. I'm not looking forward to witnessing their demise, with only eternal damnation in their future. And I don't think that Jesus is either. That's why He gave us, believers, a task:
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And, surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
This is what's referred to as "The Great Commission". This is something that we, as Christians, don't really have a choice about … since it was our Holy Savior, Jesus Christ who told (not suggested) us to do it! It is every believer's responsibility to teach those who do not know, about Him. After all, we want as many people to come with us to Heaven as possible … don't we?
Penn Gillette, an atheist and comedian, is fond of telling people about his experience with fans presenting Bibles to him at his shows. He notes that, "If you really believe that you have to accept Jesus as your Savior in order to be 'saved', then how much do you have to hate a person to not tell them about it?"
See, we can learn something valuable even from atheists.
"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give each person according to what they have done." Revelations 22:12 (NIV)
I recently attended a prayer breakfast with (not enough of) my Christian brothers, and the speaker brought this message: Are you ready?
This could possibly be the most important question that any believer can and should be asking themselves. You are the only person, besides God Himself, who knows if you are … ready that is. But are any of us really ready? Have we really done all that we can, not just what we are willing to do, in this life to spread Jesus' message throughout the world?
If your answer is: No, or possibly, or I'm not sure … then brothers and sisters, you're probably being honest, and you've got some work to do.
So, when is Jesus coming back? How much does that question really matter to you?
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of Ironmen Ministries and First Baptist Church, Centerville, GA. Look for his novels on Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.GerardFortier.com