Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Millions of people around the world are longing for the second coming of Christ. They realize that this world is like the Titanic facing an iceberg. "Lord, save us!" is the cry of many.
But few realize what must happen before Christ can return. Jesus' words in Matthew 24:14 remind us that God is fair and merciful; it would not be just for Jesus to return until all have had the privilege of hearing the gospel message that alone can prepare them for His coming: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." And Revelation 14:6-12 tells of three angels who proclaim the "everlasting gospel" to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people," symbolizing the work of the church to whom Christ has entrusted the mission of proclaiming the Good News of His salvation.
Revelation 18 describes the work of "another angel," a fourth, who joins the three with "great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory" (vs. 1, KJV).Then will come the final warning, the final proclamation of the gospel that will make possible a final judgment, so that Jesus can return. But before the church can be empowered to proclaim such a message, there must come the blessing of the latter rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit ("and when He has come, He will convict the world of sin," John 16:8). He will give the final gift of repentance.
But as it was when Christ was born in Bethlehem, few are concerned about the coming (or the delay!) of the latter rain. But there are some like the aged Simeon, to whom "it had been revealed ... that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ" (Luke 2:26). And there was old Anna who "looked for redemption" and was concerned for it more than for worldly wealth and pleasure (vss. 37, 38). These two recognized in the Baby in Mary's arms the long-awaited Savior of the world!
Are we even concerned for the promised gift of the latter rain? The few who are will, like Simeon and Anna, recognize the gift! There could be no disaster worse than sleeping through that blessing.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 24, 1998.
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