Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When Jesus promised His disciples (and therefore, us), saying, "Let not your heart be troubled, ... I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, you may be also" (John 14:1-3), He gave the world our "blessed hope" that Paul tells us about. "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No!' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live [soberly], upright and godly in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-14, NIV).
Not only is this our "blessed hope," it is His as well, for Jesus is a Bridegroom who eagerly awaits His second coming. He longs to take to Himself His Bride, just as any loving bridegroom wants the wedding to take place.
But first, a strong angel must give his all-important permission before Jesus can come; we read about it in Revelation 14:
"And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, ... and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped" (vss. 14-16).
That "other angel" is the key: no matter how eager Jesus is for His "marriage of the Lamb" (and He is eager!), He cannot come until this special angel gives Him permission; and the permission cannot be given until the "harvest of the earth is ripe." The problem here is not the size or the extent of the "harvest," but whether it is "ripe."
The word "ripe" refers to character development, not the chronological age of the "saints" who are involved, for often a very young "saint" may be fully dedicated to the Lord--in other words, "constrained" by the love of Christ to live "henceforth ... unto Him which died for [us] and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15, KJV). It's growing up into the likeness of Christ.
It's not a works program; it's the heart appreciation of the love of Jesus; it's "comprehend[ing] with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:17-19).
That "comprehend" is a wonderful word: it enlightens every cell of our being, and at last we come "alive"! It's looking at Jesus--"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 24, 2008.
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