“Look, the day of the LORD is coming – cruel, with fury and burning anger – to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners” (Isaiah 13.9).
There is no doubt that Christians are not only increasingly marginalized in our world, they are persecuted as well. If we focus on the loss of influence and persecution, we run the risk of failing at our main responsibility: to keep the Great Commandments by keeping the Great Commission. Not only that, we will become embittered recluses. Take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience in an increasingly antagonistic society (James 5.10).
The Great Commands of Jesus Christ are to love God supremely and to love others as we love ourselves. We don’t have to learn to love ourselves. We already do. However, we must learn to love others – especially those who are hard to love.
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is the Gospel. Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day, He arose from the dead. He died for our justification and righteousness. Individuals must come and receive eternal life through belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Such belief is exclusive. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life (John 14.6). Those who increasingly array themselves against us, must hear this message of reconciliation. This is true even if we suffer at their hands.
Isaiah speaks of those who will not turn to God and trust Him and His plan for the ages. “The day of the LORD is coming – cruel, with fury and burning anger – to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners” (Isaiah 13.9). People must understand that sin always leads to desolation and destruction. The consequences of sin are eternal “for the wages of sin is eternal death” (Romans 6.23).
What did Isaiah receive for being faithful to God and His message? He received eternal life and is in Heaven with Jesus. But tradition tells us that Isaiah suffered immensely in this life. His death was gruesome at the hands of those antagonistic to God’s message. What will become of us who believe in 2023? We will be in Heaven with Jesus. But perhaps we will suffer immensely in this life. I rejoice as I look ahead to the day of the LORD. Others tremble.