144,000 Second Chances

Revelation 7
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There’s a scene in the Super Nintendo game Final Fantasy III that I find entirely absurd. At the brink of total chaos across the planet, the player is asked if he’d like to stick around on this floating island thing that’s falling apart piece by piece while a clock is winding down. Your instincts say jump onto the nearby airship immediately, but if you wait it out, a character that promised to save you at the very end magically shows up at the last second and bails you out (in dramatic fashion, of course).

We love heroics and flair. We like knowing that the good guy will come through and defy the odds.

Of course, most of the time, we’re watching a movie or playing a video game when this kind of stuff happens.  The realist recognizes that the likelihood of being saved in this manner is ridiculous, and we know better than to run alongside a cliff or spend too much time in the camp of an enemy, because we’re probably just going to get ourselves killed.

We stay away from danger altogether, in fact, taking few risks, if not entirely calculated ones. Especially in America, we play it safe. We stay out of trouble, shirk away from controversy, and don’t do anything that might put our lives in jeopardy. I mean, look at Pastor Saeed, or consider the fate of Kayla Mueller. It’s too much risk. It’s just too much.

So we don’t do anything. You likely have a decent job with a sustainable income. You underplay your situation because you might not be able to afford a new TV or get to that vacation spot you haven’t seen in a few years, but it’s probably true — you’re more well off than you know. We all are.

This is called complacency. The average American has fallen in love with his or her life, the eighty or so years they get to breathe, and they really don’t want any trouble. In this culture, it’s the primary reason why people who don’t care about the Bible or Jesus will not make a commitment to sacrifice themselves and give their lives to the Lord; everything is okay as it is, so why cause trouble?

But I think Christian complacency is even more dangerous. There are billions of people on this earth that don’t recognize the urgency of making sure they’re saved, having a misconception of heaven in a corrupt world that simply does not care about this life or the next. It’s our job to make sure this world DOES recognize that all lives are significant in God’s kingdom, and that everyone should know that Jesus Christ has the capability to save their lives for eternity.

But again, we’d rather not. It’s too dangerous.

Revelation 7 is the last call before the chaos begins.  In terms of what’s about to happen on earth, time is up, but God seals these particular 144,000 Jewish folks who have given themselves over to Jesus Christ as yet another opportunity for those who haven’t made a decision.  These Jews are protected from the mayhem, just as the Christians have been removed from the earth.

It’s as if God has those four angels lined up to guard the earth from the wrath that’s to come, and He says, “Wait, hold up.  You guys, over there.  You’re good.  Alright angels, are you ready?” And then He unleashes the fury.

Why did God decide to keep this group protected? It’s certainly symbolic of the promise He made to preserve the Jews as the Bible attests, that they might be His representatives on earth for its entire existence.

But it’s also to give humanity yet another second chance.

Even in the midst of great destruction and chaos, when the mistakes are piled high and sin is rampant, the Lord is ready to make a heroic move and sweep up the endangered at the final moments.

In our time of relative peace, His ambassadors, fellow Christians, are scattered worldwide and witnessing of the salvation of Jesus Christ right now, risking their lives in order to do so, but there will be a time when far greater instability will occur, and death will come more swiftly than ever. Even then, the Lord is knocking on the door of the unbeliever’s heart. He wants to give everyone yet another second chance.

But should we wait until this moment is inevitable? Shall we depend on these people God has assigned, who might be the very last opportunity for men to finally surrender their lives to Christ?

Wouldn’t it be better if we gave those around us another second chance?

Don’t fall in love with this life.  Remember why you’re here: to glorify the Lord with all that you do, to love Him the best you can with your given resources and time, and to love others as if those four angels keeping the wrath of God ashore are going to move aside at any second.

Like a muscle-bound hero, the Lord came through and wrested death from our souls to give us life beyond the grave. Let us be willing to make others aware that this life is indeed temporal, and that there’s a God who desires to save all, even at the brink of death.

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