A few hundred years ago no young boy ever yearned for a shiny new red bicycle. One hundred years ago no young man ever dreamed of a shiny red sports car. Fifty years ago no one hoped to get a laptop computer to play the latest electronic games.
Why? These things did not exist. It is difficult to want something we have never seen, but it is nigh to impossible to desire something we know nothing about.
This lack of knowledge must be the reason why so few people today yearn for the Kingdom of God to be set up on this earth. They do not know what God has promised. How can they want to receive what they do not even know is being offered to them?
Isn’t it sad that so many anticipate going to heaven at death when God has never promised heaven as a place of reward for the righteous? Some Muslims believe that they can get to heaven by killing anyone who does not embrace their religion. Young Indian braves looked forward to a happy hunting ground after death, and most people who call themselves Christians anticipate their souls leaving their bodies and going up to a heavenly reward. Only a few of the billions of people who walk this earth have a clue as to what God really has promised the faithful. This ignorance is not God’s fault. People would rather believe a lie than be told the truth, and winging their way to heaven is a popular belief that has been embraced by the uninformed since the time when every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
The problem is: believing something is true does not make it true, no matter how sincerely it is believed. And believing a lie leads to misguided actions. No doubt the heathen who offered their children on the fires of Molech were sincere, but what a terrible false belief they held that caused them to commit this hideous crime against their own flesh and blood. The suicide bombers who volunteer to strap explosives to their bodies and walk into a crowd and blow up themselves and everyone around them may be equally sincere, but they are just as mistaken.
How thankful we should be to know the truth. The Bible has been translated into almost every language that exists, and copies are available almost everywhere. Yet billions of people are still ignorant of God’s true message of salvation. Peter describes them as being willingly ignorant; as a result, they perish.
We have a real obligation to try to share God’s true hope for the righteous with all whom we meet. We should not be discouraged that so few will listen ⎯ people have been ignoring preachers of righteousness since the time of Noah. We should take heart that in these last days the Lord is still calling out of the Gentiles a people for His name. He is depending on us to be His ambassadors, spreading the good news of His coming Kingdom to all.
As Ezekiel explained, if they hear and will not listen, then it is their problem, but if we fail to warn them, then it becomes our problem.
We do not need to complicate God’s true hope for the righteous. We could begin by asking our friends questions; that may lead them to discuss those things that we hold to be so dear. What kind of questions? One example might be: “How would you like to live in a world where there is no more war?” The quote from Isaiah about this happy time coming is on the front of the United Nations building, but no one knows how to make it come true. We can explain to them that the Lord Jesus is going to make it come true when he comes. “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Imagine, no more military academies and no more fighting. God is promising this wonderful, peaceful existence to those who are looking for the return of the Lord Jesus to set up the Kingdom of God on this earth.
We want to paint a beautiful picture of the time soon to come ⎯ when the Prince of Peace will be enthroned in Jerusalem and when the Lord’s prayer will become a reality: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We can refer to verses such as those in Isaiah where the lion and the lamb will dwell together, when crops will grow on mountaintops, and the earth will be lush and fruitful like the Garden of Eden. If we keep the vision alive in our minds, then we will be excited about it. Then we can more easily share our excitement with those around us.
People can’t desire what they don’t know. It is our job to share our hope, the good news of God’s soon-coming kingdom. We want to be there, and we need to try to help others so that they can share the promise with us. We look forward to the day when Christ will make “us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Robert J. Lloyd