WHEN THE LORD SAYS: “ATTENTION WORLD, I AM YOUR GOD!”

All Topics, Biblical Metaphors, End Times, Prophecy

PULPIT TODAY SERMON

WHEN THE LORD SAYS: “ATTENTION WORLD, I AM YOUR GOD!”

by Robert D. Pace

(Note to Reader/Pastor) The underlying point of this message shows God speaking to the nations, and not just individuals. Additionally, it depicts God supplying mankind with irrefutable evidence that he is the one, true, sovereign Lord at the expense of the false gods of the world. In so doing these things, he will make the people of the world acknowledge his Godship.

When you study the Bible’s prophecies of the last days, you discover that God is making a disclosure. And this disclosure is of momentous importance! It’s something every Christian should especially know. What is this revelation that God will make known during the last days? It’s a disclosure of himself!

God wants the attention of the world upon him. And there’s no doubt about it: as sure as people around the world are looking down at their phones when they sit, rise, walk, and even drive, God will turn the heads of every human on Earth upward. As you will see, this occurrence will serve to glorify God and benefit mankind.

(Transition) But how will it happen? How has the Bible predicted this will unfold? That’s what I want to talk about.

“A Day of Clouds”

One of the phrases the Bible uses to depict the Apocalypse is expression, “A Day of Clouds.” Have you ever wondered what that phrase means? On 156 occasions, the Bible mentions clouds. They hover less than one mile above Earth’s surface, and when used metaphorically clouds convey an urgent message for mankind. Here’s why that is so:

(Example) Even though clouds are often beautiful and painted with enchanting colors, there’s also an antithetical nature about them. Clouds contain thunder, lightning, rain, sleet, hail, snow, violent storms, and when they completely cover the sky they can cause unusual darkness over the earth. Each of these meteorological elements can be cruel and dangerous. Moreover, when the Bible employs the phrase “a day of clouds,” it’s expressing the wrathful consequences that proceed from their presence. This means when the world becomes fully engulfed in the days of tribulation, clouds will serve as harbingers of God’s wrath against a rebellious world.

However, there’s one other terrifying attribute that’s associated with this coming “day of clouds.” It’s the most ominous attribute infused within these clouds of the Endtime. What is this fearsome attribute? It’s the presence of the Sovereign Lord that unites with the clouds.

As Malachi 3:2 says, “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?

As the prophet said in Joel 2:11, “The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?”

God will one day descend into the clouds, hanging but a mile over mankind’s head, and will deal with humanity in a fearsome and dreadful manner!

The Four Horsemen will gallop throughout the world creating untold anarchy and devastation.

The Trumpet judgments will break forth; the seven plagues will befall the world; the bowls of wrath will pour upon mankind.

Death, dearth, and global catastrophes will curse the world.

And here’s why this will occur: the Tribulation is of such wrath because God has repositioned himself from his throne in Heaven and taken his seat directly over man’s head. His presence will be in the clouds!

(Insight) It’s one thing for God to dispense his fury from his throne in Heaven, but imagine God dispensing his judgments from within clouds—directly over man’s head! You see, God’s throne in Heaven has a special name. It’s called “The Throne of Grace.” And there’s a reason the Bible employs this expression. God’s heavenly throne is called “The Throne of Grace” because every judgment that he issues is meted out with divine reluctance. Every action of God prior to the Apocalypse emanates from his merciful, tempered, grace-filled throne. Then, as God’s judgments proceed, they penetrate a world enveloped by the Age of Grace. Aren’t you glad you live in a dispensation that is marked by the Lord’s tempered reserve?

But the day is quickly coming when the door will close on this 2,000 years of grace, and God’s judgments will proceed, not from his heavenly throne of grace, but from the clouds. The Lord’s purposes will proceed from a position too close for mankind to endure. He has exited the Gates of Heaven to confront humanity face-to-face!

I want you to consider some Scriptures that speak of this coming “Day of clouds.”

“Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!” (Joel 2:1-2).

“Wail, ‘Alas for the day!’ For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations” (Ezek. 30:2-3).

“A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zeph. 1:15).

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nah. 1:3).

All this means something to God-fearing Christians around the world. If ever there is a time to walk humbly before God and tremble at his Word the Endtime is that dispensation. Whenever I have signed my book APOCALERT, I have most often included a soul-stirring Scripture found in Zephaniah 2:3. It says: “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.”

(Transition) One purpose of the Last Days is about God convincing the world—the entire world —that he is the sovereign and only LORD of the universe. Allow that statement to sink deep into your soul. God will use the Last Days to convince the world that he is the One, True, Living God of Creation.

God Will Convince the Nations that He is the True God

It’s one thing for God to commune with a person One-on-one. You recall he disclosed himself to Moses from a fiery bush. After staring at the bush for a lengthy time, Moses noticed that it kept burning but it was not consumed. Finally God spoke to Moses from the bush, telling him to remove his shoes because he stood on “holy ground.” This is a familiar story of how God convinced one man—Moses—of his godship by having him throw down his staff. Upon obeying Moses saw that his staff became a serpent! Again, God told Moses to grab the tail of the serpent, and once more obeying God’s command, Moses obtained his staff.

That story discloses God revealing himself to one person, but during the Endtime something far greater occurs. God goes to great extremes to disclose himself as the Supreme God to every person, every tongue, every tribe, and every nation. His plan is to exalt his Name above all the so-called gods of the world and prove himself beyond all doubt to be the true God of all creation.

When you track down this truth in the Bible, you discover that one particular prophet above all others emphasizes this—it’s the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel wrote copious words of prophecy about the Endtime. As he does, he utilizes unique statements about God. One statement is, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Phrases like that are repeated throughout the book of Ezekiel; not just ten or twelve times but about 30 to 40 times.

I don’t have time to read all of these expressions, but there are several that especially need noting:

The LORD says in Ezekiel 38:23, “I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.

Throughout Ezekiel 38–39 (which deals with the Battle of Gog and Magog) the Lord says, “I will magnify Myself, I will show my greatness” “I will glorify Myself,” “I will make Myself known”; “I will sanctify Myself”; “I will show Myself holy.” Ezekiel repeatedly uses these phrases because God will use Israel’s battle against Gog and Magog to reveal himself as the Sovereign Lord of mankind. That’s why he promised that the conclusion of this battle will make certain that all “the nations will know that I am the Lord” (39:7).

Now notice Ezekiel 39:7. “I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel.”

Listen to Ezekiel 39:21—22 say, “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. (22) From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God.”

And then Ezekiel 39:25 summarizes God’s actions of the Endtime when he says, “I will be zealous for my holy name.”

(Definition) When God says, “I am holy,” it means this: “I am completely other from all things.” God is so unique that he has nothing with which to compare himself. And during the last days, God will arise to convince the world that he is the unique, sovereign God of Israel that outshines all the hapless, false gods of mankind.

(Transition) This won’t be the first time God wanted the nations to know he was the true God of Creation. And as an example I again want to refer to the prophet Moses.

God’s Past Demonstrations of Lordship

In the OT, when the LORD was ready to release the Israelites from Egyptian captivity, one of his objectives was to prove to Egypt and the surrounding nations that he was the One, True God. To do this, God filled Moses’ staff with incontestable power before Pharaoh and his magicians. Ten times Moses came before Pharaoh’s Court to issue miracles: He turned the Nile into blood; covered the land with frogs, filled the land with lice, flies, and locusts, cursed the livestock and sent hail; he called for three days of darkness; and finally, he pronounced the death of Egypt’s firstborn. Once Moses completed his mission, everyone in Egypt knew that the God of Israel was sovereign, incontestable, and occupied the sole position of being God.

Can you imagine every time Moses left Israel’s camp and journeyed toward Pharaoh’s palace? When the Egyptians spotted him coming, they probably ran for shelter as fast as possible! They knew their gods and images were powerless against Israel’s God.

And Egypt wasn’t the only nation to get God’s message. God made certain that the surrounding nations understood his claims on being the holy God of Creation. As Israel traveled through the wilderness the nations looked on with amazement:

They saw a gigantic pillar of cloud directing the Israelites by day and they witnessed a fiery pillar glowing over their camp at night.

The nations saw a river coursing through Israel’s camp in the desert and they had to wonder how that was possible!

They noticed miles of manna presenting itself and surrounding Israel’s camp each morning.

And all of this fantastic phenomena testified that the God of Israel was the One, True God of the earth!

(Transition) Now I want to explain why the “God, who dwells in the clouds” during the Endtime, will arise to magnify himself in dramatic, never-to-have-happened-before ways to the world.

Why God Magnifies Himself during the Endtime

God will use the Apocalypse, which is a unique, one-of-a-kind moment, to demonstrably prevail upon man, the earth, and the cosmos. He will do this by sending earthquakes, famines, pestilences, climactic storms, tsunamis, hurricanes, and flooding of the coastlands. Wars will break out around the globe; civil unrest will ravage neighborhoods. There’s never been a time like the Tribulation and there will never be anything like it again.

All of this phenomena will cause mankind to do something: people will curse God and blaspheme his name, or they will earnestly seek refuge in his presence, knowing he is their only hope. These are the only two options that people will employ. There will be no neutrality about who the Sovereign God of Creation is!

(Example) I’ll want to use an example of this from Revelation 11:15. This shows how one earthquake during the Tribulation turns man’s thoughts to God. John writes: “At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city [Jerusalem] collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.”

And such events will occur throughout the Tribulation.

(Transition) Before closing this message I want to make some final observations:

Conclusion

In the last days, God will be in the “showing up business.” He will descend into the clouds and make his presence known throughout the earth. And as the Bible discloses, there will be no doubt that God will be in our midst.

But he’ll not only be in the ”showing up business,” God will be in the “showing out business.” As I have pointed out, God will demonstrate his power in fashions unlike anything the world will have ever witnessed.

Consequently, all of this begs a crucial question: Why? Why will God be in the “showing up business” and the “showing out business”? Why will he use such extreme measures to prove he is the true God to the Endtime generation? It’s because his righteousness and justice require him to present full testimony of his Godship, at the expense of all other so-called gods.

This means, when sinners stand before him on Judgment Day, they will be without excuse before him. What would you think about a god that stood in the shadows and never bore witness to his godship? Yet, he held you accountable for sinning! No just and righteous god could possibly do that! But our God—Jehovah—has not left himself without witness! He has provided concrete evidence of his Lordship and will amplify his witness a hundredfold during the last days.

Thus, when sinners stand at the Great White Throne Judgment, the LORD will have fully proven himself to be the One, True God and will have been totally fair with all mankind. The LORD will not permit one person to step into eternity without providing irrefutable evidence for who he is and what lies ahead.

Yes, we serve the just and fair God of humanity and Creation.

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by Robert D. Pace

PulpitToday.org