AFTER Perseverance and Trials
I’m working on Chilton’s The Days of Vengeance, and I hope to post a bit more of his work in a week or two. But, there is something that is worth noting now:
—<Quote from The Days of Vengeance>—
St. John’s vision of the redeemed world reveals the inescapable outcome of Christ’s Ascension, the consummation of Paradise: They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the Throne shall be their Shepherd, and shall guide them to the springs of the Water of Life; and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. We noted earlier the Father’s words to the Son from Isaiah 49, giving the promise of the salvation of the world as well as Israel. The passage continues:
I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
Saying to those who are bound: Go forth!
To those who are in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the roads they will feed,
And their pasture will be on all bare heights.
They will not hunger or thirst,
Neither will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them,
And will guide them to springs of water.
And I will make all My mountains a road,
And My highways will be raised up.
Behold, these shall come from afar,
And lo, these will come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of Sinim [China].
Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have compassion on His afflicted. (Isa. 49:8-13)
The churches of the first century were on the brink of the greatest Tribulation of all time. Many would lose their lives, their families, their possessions. But St. John writes to tell the churches that the Tribulation is not a death, but a Birth (cf. Matt. 24:8), the prelude to the establishment of the worldwide Kingdom of Christ. He shows them the scene on the other side: the inevitable victory celebration.
In Nero’s Circus Maximus, the scene of his bloody and revolting slaughters of Christians – by wild beasts, by crucifixion, by fire and sword – there stood a great stone obelisk, silent witness to the valiant conduct of those brave saints who endured tribulation and counted all things as loss for the sake of Christ. The bestial Nero and his henchmen have long since passed from the scene to their eternal reward, but the Obelisk still stands, now in the center of the great square in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. Chiseled on its base are these words, taken from the overcoming martyrs’ hymn of triumph:
– which is, being interpreted: Christ is conquering; Christ is reigning; Christ rules over all.
Pain and trial faces the believer today: but, outside of North Korea and certain Islamic nations, we do not face crucifixions or wild beasts. Job loss, religious discrimination/Jim Crow II and social exclusion from the Right Circles is a more common outcome.
And as the physical dangers diminish, Christ’s Kingdom expands, but in the real world and via the “imitation kingdoms” – Islam, the Secularist Democracy, and the Marxist states – that claim to bring about Christian goals of peace and justice, but without that distasteful Christianity.
Over time, people will reject the sterile and shoddy imitations, and choose the Real Thing.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.Hebrews 11:23-28, King James Version
If Moses stuck with the pleasures of sin for a season, he may well have enjoyed a comfortable life as a prince, died with riches in comfort, and then be utterly forgotten by history.
And, perhaps, utterly forgotten by God as well. “Another total waste, fit only for burning.”
But Moses turned from the way of Esau, rejecting immediate pleasures for long-term victory.
A wise man, that. A man we should imitate.