Harvey Hits Houston…
Hurricane Harvey hit Houston as August 2017 drew to a close. After it hit it was not kind enough to move along, but stalled and poured bucket after bucket of rain on that geographic area. The Washington Post published an article by Angela Fritz, their deputy weather editor, estimating that 19 trillion gallons of water fell on Texas1. Want an understatement? That is a lot of water.
The rest of the U.S. and even areas around the world are focused on a place that the 2010 census revealed as the fourth largest American city. Cleanup efforts will be immense and a very long process.
Coming back to the prophecies of Revelation, and no I’m not jumping on any of those ill-advised “God is judging Houston” bandwagons, recall what the closing verses of chapter 13 told us of. The prophecy of John as recorded in that chapter concluded with the global tyranny of Beast 2. Just as Houston will not be cleaned up in an flash, neither will tyrannies be installed in a flash. With that in mind look at the following 2 verses of Revelation 14.
6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7–ESV)
It is not to late to dodge the Dragon’s fate
All over the earth there will be people who don’t follow the Lamb or the Dragon, and they have decisions to make. The default decision is eternal judgment. That is the essence of “no choice is a choice.” Even so, that default fate is not sealed. Their allegiance has not been eternally solidified behind the Dragon’s ilk or God’s grace. Now for them very little time is left in these final days John prophesies about. For the spiritually undecided they need to run up their flag one way or another.
Into this worldwide scene God sends an angel. From this pair of verses we see the angel going out among humanity. While Beast 2 phases in these burdens upon humanity God sends out a countering influence through his eternal messengers, the angels. So the fate of the dragon is hell and the same fate will fall upon all people who join or fall into his storm. God, though, makes attempts, calls, beckonings to the lost souls of the world. Some yet could be save and to them his messenger went.
An eternal gospel
There is one narrative of God for man, and it is summed up with one word: gospel.
In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth and into this perfection he placed people. People were the most unique of creatures he made as seen by what they were given. Not only were they given the whole universe to enjoy, but also a gift to give back: their independence. How they handled that independence would determine the rise and fall of humanity. Their fate was theirs to take….or give.
Even the spiritual novice has inklings of what God tells us man did with that independence. We took it for ourselves not giving it back, but hoarding it. The day that happened the world broke, creation shifted. A great and long groan began2.
God knew in advance what mankind would do and preparing himself way back them to be their restoration3. The price would be an eternal cost, but pay it he would; willingly so. The sum up of this narrative is in the man Jesus Christ who came, showed us how to live, died and rose again. From that event men and women the world over can be freed from the tyranny of their sins again receiving their independence to offer back to God on his throne and the Lamb.
The Missionary Angel
As God wants people to be saved from their sins he ensured that his gospel, his good news, was distributed the world over. He is not idle up in heaven over souls on the way to hell. Long knowing the trouble in store for the unrepentant he has long pursued them. This will not stop even unto the last moments. The first of the three Revelation 14 angels is out and about braving the ravings and stumblings of a world in its crumblings.
Remember what Peter said in his second letter on this score. He said that we should not consider God to be slow in drawing the world to an end. In the third chapter of that second letter some were scoffing over what they perceived as a delay in God’s return. Peter said that it was not slowness, but love. The mockers were wrong in their mocking because God loved them. That was part of why he had not returned.
It can be seen in Revelation 14 that even as world history is ending God continues his long loving plan. We should not be surprised at this. Our response should be to join that effort. Be the missionary that you can be in the place God has planted you.