Our world wafts on the wind like an autumn leaf. It falls and waits to be raked by a Greater Hand into the furnace of the Master’s wrath. The thoughts behind this are Scripture. We cannot save the world or the cosmos it is a part of. What the Word says of our world will happen. The day cannot be avoided or put off. Every judgment in the book will take place.
When Zephaniah writes, ” ‘I will sweep away both people and animals alike. Even the birds of the air and the fish in the sea will die. I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble, along with the rest of humanity,’ says the LORD.” (Zeph 1:3 NLT) he is not practicing hyperbole. This judgment is coming and it will be terrible.
But in the midst of that there is a glory that remains for the people who will follow Messiah. One Chapter later Zephaniah writes: “Beg the LORD to save you–all you who are humble, all you who uphold justice. Walk humbly and do what is right. Perhaps even yet the LORD will protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.” (Zeph 2:3 NLT)
Isaiah says it this way: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.” (Isaiah 26: 20,21 NIV)
Paul the apostle writes it in these words: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (I Thess. 4:16, 17 NIV)
Later on in the same book He writes, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” (I Thess. 5:9,10 NIV)
I know that these last verses in particular refer to the Blessed Hope of the church, what many call the rapture. I believe that before the final ending of Earth (before the last 7 years) Jesus Christ will take His church out of the world and shield them from those dark days.
But, the rapture aside, I also believe that these verses speak to a general characteristic of God which believers must cling to in the days ahead, the days before the rapture. God knows those who are His. He knows the righteous. He knows the good. He knows how to take care of those that are His.
In these days when the world tempts us to give up our standards at every turn, we must remember there is a glory in goodness, a reward for faithfulness that is beyond anything this world might have to offer So it is that Paul counsels his followers in Galatia:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)