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Storm Warning: The Wrath to Come – Part 1
By Tim Moore
In this week’s episode of our ministry’s television program Christ in Prophecy, I addressed the imminence of Jesus coming for us — His Bride. My topic was taken from Matthew 3:7 when John the Baptist asked, “Who told you to flee from the wrath to come?”
The Message of John the Baptist
Lamb & Lion Ministries has existed for 41 years, thanks to the vision of Dr. David Reagan and the calling the Lord placed on his life. Our mission is to proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. That mission will continue until the Lord calls us home. In carrying out our mission, we follow in the footsteps of none other than John the Baptist, who was foretold by Isaiah to be the one who would be the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.”
Do you ever think about what John the Baptist’s message actually was about? It was very straightforward at its core. John the Baptist declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!”
John the Baptist was kind of a counter-cultural guy, you might say. He liked to dress in camel hair and ate locusts and wild honey. He would not have been accused then or now of worldliness. His message had clarity and urgency that contrasted with the smarmy promises of utopian prosperity in this life.
There are a lot of people who are going to wake up soon and realize that the Prosperity Gospel, as it’s called, offers everything that Satan offered Jesus Christ. What does the world offer? What are its false promises? Well, it offers health, wealth, success, and power. Some of those things are Satan’s to offer, for a time. What a false hope and a false promise they represent!
John the Baptist was not alone in proclaiming his message. Jesus Christ Himself when He began His ministry also preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It was right after saying these words that Jesus called his disciples to “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In other words, turn around from the path your life is on and instead follow after Me on the straight and narrow path.
I want you to consider a few things. I want you to consider the urgency of the message John and Jesus preached. I want you to consider the reason it was timely then and why it is still timely now. I want you to consider the prophetic significance of the timing of Jesus’ First Advent, the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the opportunity that is presented to you today.
You may say: “I already know Jesus Christ. I’ve already accepted Him as Lord and Savior.” Is that the end of the conversation? Well, you’re still here on this earth. Your work is not done, brother and sister! So, let’s consider the opportunities the Lord gives to us.
Warning of God’s Coming Wrath
Nearly 281 years ago, a pastor by the name of Jonathan Edwards preached what is arguably the most famous sermon in American history. It was titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Edwards did not have great emotion and bombastic delivery. He just proclaimed the inevitable fate of every person upon whom the wrath of God abides, as John 3:36 explains.
Today we hear so much about the love, mercy, and grace of God. All of those are attributes that we proclaim, but we also must remember that our God is also holy and righteous, and His righteousness will not be mocked. God Himself will not be mocked, and He cannot countenance sin. Rightfully understood, God’s wrath is not something that is merely aroused by unbelief. It abides on those who do not believe in the Son and so gain eternal life.
Edwards’ sermon inspired men and women in that day and age to fall out of their pews, crying out for the mercy of God, and declaring their faith in Jesus Christ. It led to a revival that is known to this day as the time of the Great Awakening. Wouldn’t we like to see another great awakening occur in our land again today?
To be clear, to repent simply means to turn away from a life of sin and rebellion and instead turn onto the narrow path that Jesus calls for us to follow along with Him.
As a pilot, I like to pick out a point way out in the distance and say, “All right, God, I know where you’re taking me.” No, rather Jesus says, “Follow Me wherever I lead” because He knows better than I do where those still waters are, where those good pastures are. He leads me and you like a good shepherd, as long as we have repented. Again, that’s exactly what John the Baptist and Jesus called people to do.
This repentance is not to be taken lightly. It is motivated by a deep sense of regret and contrition. It’s as if a person realized that they’ve been speeding toward a cliff but then they abruptly stop and change course. To the world, oblivious to the peril that lies ahead, such a reversal seems absolutely unnecessary, or even insane. But, if disaster lies ahead, turning back is the sanest thing a person can do.
Let’s think about it. There are all sorts of things that come across as warnings. You’ve heard of Amber Alerts, if your phone is on, blaring an urgent warning of a critical need. Likewise, there are all sorts of other warnings that we have been given in this life. Throughout the Midwest, there are sirens that go off any time a tornado is coming by. They have the same kind of sirens in Hawaii to warn of tsunamis that are approaching. These are located in every coastal area of the world today. Military bases have sirens to warn of an impending attack.
How would you like to have woken up to the following message on your phone? This happened last year in Hawaii when this occurred at 8:07 on a Saturday morning: “Warning. Emergency. Ballistic missile threat inbound. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” Now, why didn’t more people have heart attacks? Because who is awake at 8:00 on Saturday morning in Hawaii? Can you imagine the panic that this type of warning would cause if you had recognized that it was real and that warning was absolutely urgent? And yet, the world goes about its business absolutely ignorant. Instead, people seek shelter that is ridiculously inadequate.
Like old Wile E. Coyote, falling to earth without a parachute and saying, “So far, so good. So far, so good,” but the end is coming and it’s coming soon. The fate that awaits people, even those who are blissfully ignorant, is too horrific to imagine. Perched on the edge of eternity, they sometimes are oblivious to the peril that they’re in, even if they are the cause of their own fate.
In the second part of this teaching on the wrath to come, we will look at the prophetic significance of the timing of Jesus’ First Advent.