Friday, March 25, 2011


“The book of Revelation is a work of fiction describing how a truly vicious God would bring about the end of the world. No half-smart religious person actually believes the book of Revelation. Such were the recent “worldly-wise” musings of Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC News.

Denial of God’s pending judgment is nothing new. The Apostle Peter warned us head of time regarding such declarations. 2 Peter 3:3-7, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

Lawrence is gravely mistaken regarding the nature of the God that we serve. The writer of the book of Revelation, the Apostle John, was the same man who declared “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Likewise, it was he who wrote “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). John was so convinced of the truths of which he spoke that he was willing to suffer great persecution for them (Rev. 1:9).

It is becoming ever more popular for men, even evangelicals, to deny the truth of God’s pending judgment. Hell and judgment have never been popular truths. But they must be understood in the broader context of what the Bible teaches about God. God is the creator of all things (2 Pet. 3:5). He is holy and just (Isa. 6:3; Heb. 12:29). Man is sinful by nature and practice (Col. 1:21; Eph. 2:1-3). God’s justice demands that sin be punished (Rom. 2:2; Jude 15). The wages--deserved punishment--of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). God--in His love, grace, and mercy—has provided for our salvation through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Tit. 3:4-5). He “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). Those who trust in Christ for salvation are saved (Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 2:8-9; John 3:36). Those who refuse to obey the gospel “will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:9). At a future time, God will bring a judgment upon this world--“the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men”--that will be characterized by the great calamities spoken of in the book of Revelation.

The book of Revelation promises a blessing to those who read and hear and heed “the words of the prophecy” (Rev. 1:3). Many years ago my uncle Frank, current Pastor of Edgewood Bible Church, was reading the book of Revelation. His brother Bob had been sharing with him of his need to trust in Christ for salvation. Reading of God’s pending judgment frightened Frank to such an extent that he was compelled to reconsider the Savior of whom Bob spoke. Frank trusted in Jesus and his life was transformed. Since that day he has been privileged to lead countless others to do the same.

Lawrence’s perspective reminds me of what happened to Harry Truman. Before Mt. St. Helens erupted a warning went out to all those in the vicinity of their urgent need to leave the mountain. Harry Truman refused to evacuate. The mountain erupted in a tremendous explosion equal in power to that of 500 atomic bombs. Scientists think that Harry probably had time only to turn his head when the mountain erupted. Moments later Spirit Lake was buried by landslides and mudflows. It is supposed that his body lies deep in the mountain--about 150 feet under the present lake.

Denying God’s pending judgment won’t stop it from happening. God has warned us ahead of time. He “is not slow about His promise…but is patient...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:9-10). Smart people not only believe in the book of Revelation, they believe in Christ, “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).

Pastor Jerry

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