Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry by announcing the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God on Earth (Mark 1:14-15). But before that Kingdom could be established, Jesus said the ways of man would lead this world to the brink of annihilation. God’s Kingdom will be set up, we read in Daniel and Revelation, after the kingdoms of this world are crushed into submission.
Even as bad as we know it will get before Christ’s return, the Bible tells us the vast majority of mankind will still refuse to repent. Jesus, of course, knew this. Still, right before He ascended to heaven in the first century, He told His disciples to witness unto the uttermost parts of the Earth (Acts 1:8). He commanded His apostles to warn the nations about the wrath coming upon our disobedient and stubborn world.
Why aren’t there more preachers and religious groups proclaiming this message? Why do they hold out hope for man to solve the problems of this world—even as evil multiplies and the curses intensify?
At the end of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus reminded His disciples that “all things” written in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms would be fulfilled. Everything recorded in these books about the first and Second Coming of Christ—and the universal destruction that would immediately precede His return—will be fulfilled, Jesus said (Luke 24:44). He then commanded His disciples to preach a message of “repentance and remission of sins” to all nations (verse 47).
Why won’t the churches of this world cry out for our nations to turn to God in humility and to repent of their wicked ways? Most religious people don’t even grasp what sin is because they’ve been led to believe, erroneously, that God’s spiritual law—which regulates all human conduct—was nailed to the cross!
The only thing nailed to that stake was Jesus Christ’s crucified body—along with our guilty past, assuming we turn to God in repentance! This is why, when Jesus came into Galilee preaching the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, He told people to repent and to believe (or accept in faith) the true gospel of the Kingdom. In other words, we have to be willing to change our ways—to repent of sin—if we are to enter into God’s Kingdom.
This has always been the message of God’s true servants: repentance and remission of sins. It was repeatedly proclaimed by all the prophets—those same men Jesus pointed us to in Luke 24.
One of them, Isaiah, wrote, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). Again, God knows most people will not repent. But He says, Witness against them anyway! That way they will be left without excuse. If God’s true servants do their job, then when the plagues descend, the unrepentant won’t be able to say, You should have warned us!
Ezekiel is another outstanding example of one who boldly proclaimed a message of repentance and remission of sins. His entire book is about the warning that must be delivered to the latter-day descendants of Jacob. Ancient Israel had gone into captivity long before Ezekiel wrote his book. His message is for us today.
“So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me” (Ezekiel 33:7). Notice, God says, You warn them from me. It’s God’s message—as delivered through His human instrument. Eight times in verses 3 through 9, God says warn!
“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (verse 11).
Repentance and remission of sins—that’s what Ezekiel was saying. That’s what Jesus commanded His faithful to preach before the Great Tribulation and the coming Day of the Lord.
“For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed” (verses 28-29).
This is what it takes for mankind to finally come to know its Maker. To our great shame, we simply will not turn to God until after we have suffered devastation and death.
In verses 30 and 31, Ezekiel refers to God’s own lukewarm people—those who used to deliver God’s warning message of repentance and remission of sins—and who still tune in to God’s work today, but who won’t change their evil ways! Most of them won’t repent until after it’s too late to save their physical lives.
Yet God still thunders, Warn them anyway! Tell them what’s coming!
Verse 33 tells us why: “And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.” When all of these dire prophecies come to pass, then they will know. They’ll immediately know where God was working and that the prophetic warning coming from that work was an expression of God’s love. It may be too late for them to be saved physically. But spiritually, they can still turn to God in repentance.
This is why we must warn. God’s true disciples today, as Jesus said in Luke 24, are witnesses of all these prophetic events!
It isn’t that difficult to find where God is working. Just look for the organization faithfully fulfilling Christ’s commission to watch and warn—the one work lifting up its voice like a trumpet, showing the people their transgressions and preaching a message of repentance and remission of sins.
This is the message Christ has always commanded His servants to deliver. And this is the work that the true followers of Christ have faithfully supported.