Do you know what your future holds?
God’s word gives us glimpses into our past, what is really happening in our present, and what God has in store for us in the future.
I was reminded of one of God’s promises for our future at the Bakar Batu festival our community group (and Vanny) put together up in the Portland area two weekends ago.
For those who aren’t up on Papuan cuisine, Bakar Batu is a traditional Papuan way of cooking for large groups. The participants dig a hole and start an adjacent fire to heat up rocks. You then put the hot rocks, some banana leaves (we used local ferns), whole pigs, and vegetables in the hole, cover it up, and let it cook. All working together we fed about 40 Papuan students, along with 25 Americans and a couple of Chinese students.
As we sung, danced, and ate some rockin’ pork (pun intended) verses like these came to mind:
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7)
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 5:14)
As we get a glimpse into what the future holds for us in scripture, we are constantly reminded that every nation will be together there celebrating the victory of Jesus. We are also reminded that God’s intention is to carry the good news of the victory of Jesus to every nation. There are people in every tribe and people and language whom God wants for himself; they will indeed be found with the Gospel, and they will indeed be saved.
They will be invited into God’s presence and included in this great celebration, a celebration for all who will make up God’s new kingdom here on the earth. We will be included in a great international celebration, a feast for all those who have accepted the rule, authority, and salvation of Christ and will spend the next billion years and beyond worshipping, celebrating, working, and living on this earth for our good King Jesus.
As I reflect on that moment, singing songs about Jesus (and many others I didn’t understand), dancing together, and eating together, I can’t help but praise God looking forward to and thinking of what John writes:
“And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 16:9)
We may not know a whole lot about the future, but we do know this, we are headed for a great international worship feast. With this on our hearts, how blessed we are to have such an international church! How blessed we are to have those from other cultures joining us in our worship and celebration of Jesus’ victory each Sunday!
This feast in Beaverton was a very special moment. For just a few hours, through many cultures together enjoying the day God had made, through Papuan worship songs and the smells of Bakar Batu, a handful of people in Beaverton, Oregon were teleported into a future moment that God has promised his people.
You, however, do not need to roast a pig to get this taste of the Kingdom. Every time you talk to someone from another country about Jesus, every time you work to the Glory of God with someone from another culture, every time you worship together with someone from another nation, you get a little taste of heaven, you get a small peek through a window into eternity. If you do not have an international friend in Corvallis, I highly suggest it. There are few better ways to taste the Kingdom of God than to celebrate Jesus across a culture.
Do you know what your future holds? You can know it in part. If you want to preview a component of your future, praise Jesus to someone from another nation.
The end of all history and the end of every nation is a person, and His name is Jesus. Let’s celebrate together in expectation of His great international kingdom.