Webster defines hell-bent as “stubbornly and often recklessly determined.” Knowing the wrath to come, I believe we who claim to follow Christ should be heaven-bent, stubbornly and recklessly determined to keep people out of hell and populate heaven…
Reading through the four Gospels month after month, I’m realizing that there are many small details I’ve skipped over, things that have gone unnoticed my entire life. Crazy!
Matthew records these words from Jesus. “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather up out of His kingdom all the stumbling blocks, and those doing lawless deeds, and they will cast them to the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:41-42
Then again, He says, “So it will be in the end of the age. The angels will come forth, and separate the evil from among the righteous, and they will cast them to the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:49-50
I’ve never paid much attention to the role of the angels in carrying out God’s judgement.
Picture SEAL Team 6 on their stealth mission that took down Osama Bin Laden. Their strike was sudden, unexpected, efficient and unrelenting.
When that day comes, Jesus will send out a multitude of heavenly “SEAL Teams,” angelic warriors from the armies of God. They’ll gather up those without Christ and deliver them to the flames of hell. The finality of their judgement will be horrifying.
Yes, Jesus here uses the reality of hell to motivate unbelievers to repent. With His disciples listening on, it was also motivation for them to share the Good News.
Reading about the angels being sent on this sobering mission, it got me thinking, “Where else does the Bible speak of angels assisting Jesus in carrying out the judgement of God?”
“And He shall send forth His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another.” Matthew 24:31
“But when the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all His angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory.” Matthew 25:31
“…at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus, who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction…” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
The angels are at Christ’s disposal to help Him carry out His work. Imagine that moment when they come for us believers to gather us to Christ! But more than that, put yourself in the shoes of friends and family members who don’t know Christ yet. What will their encounter with the angels be like?
Sudden. Swift. Decisive. Terrifying. The angels are battle-tested, undefeated, fearless, overpowering.
I think of them riding with Christ against the armies of hell, Satan with his legions of demons and the antichrist. Chills go up my spine. It’s like a scene from Braveheart. But those very same angels coming against someone I know and love? That’s more than my heart can bear.
The image of this should drive me to my knees, flood my eyes with tears, fill my heart with compassion, and set my feet in motion to carry the message of the cross to a lost and dying world!
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