“The nations were angry with you, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants. You will reward your prophets and your holy people, all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. And you will destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” - Revelation 11:18
Viewed from space, planet Earth looks small and fragile. An infinitesimal fragment in the vastness, it is apparently an idyllic planet, the scene of peace and tranquility. But we know that its history is one of unending tension and hostility, fragmentation and conflict, both petty and cataclysmic. How could something so small and beautiful be so full of ugly dissension and huge heartbreak? And where will it all end? Will the fragile planet itself become a victim of its inhabitants’ unruliness?
Speculation on such questions has gone on down through the centuries. But in more recent times, as man’s penchant for self-destructive behavior has been matched by his technological expertise, predictions of the planet’s demise at man’s intentional or inadvertent hand have grown in volume and intensity. But while speculations say one thing, revelation says another.
The book of Revelation, John’s vision of heaven, included insights into the future. At one point he describes “loud voices shouting in heaven, ‘The whole world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever’“ (Rev. 11:15). The Lord is further identified as “the Lord God Almighty, the one who is and who always was” (11:17). This designation, which speaks of God’s almightiness and his eternalness, suggests that during the unruly history of planet Earth, the all-powerful Lord has not been exercising his power and authority as he might have—otherwise, he would have put down all insurrection and banished all dissension and fragmentation. But things are not always as they appear. John sees into heaven and into the future, where it is said of the Lord, “Now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign” (11:17). God’s people have prayed for centuries, “May your kingdom come soon” (Matt. 6:10). This grand universal kingdom will come, and “He will reign forever and ever.”
But what of the unruly powers that be? John says, “The nations were angry with you, but now the time of your wrath has come” (Rev. 11:18). The Lord God Almighty will execute judgment and “will destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” But the message for God’s people is positive and encouraging: “Lord God Almighty, . . . you will reward your prophets and your holy people, all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest” (11:18).
For Further Study: Revelation 11:1-19
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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