The Interminable Wail
“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.” -Revelation 1:7
Bad habits often linger. I have a terrible habit of sometimes spontaneously letting out a “bass-scream” upon clumsily dropping something somewhat valuable or immediately when perceiving something going really wrong. It scares my wife, of course, who understandably thinks the situation must be much worse than it is. She can attest to this! This type of scream is not what Revelation 1 is referring to. What John describes as a “wail” really is heart-rending, terrifying, and interminable.
You would first think that Jesus Christ’s return to the earth would be a quite joyous event, welcomed by most, even those not expecting Him to return. Yet, we read that “people from all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him.” Yes, those who actually pierced Him, as well as those who would have if they could, and including those who regularly “pierce Him” with mind, tongue, and behavior will wail.
There is no sound so grief-stricken or utterly painful as the wail of a thoroughly devastated individual, or much more, an enormous multitude of such individuals. The sound becomes too miserable to bear. A wail is a most disconcerting cry to hear. This wail is much more than mere sniffling and crying; it is a loud, distraught, uncontrollable cry of anguish. It is the ultimate wail! After all, it concerns ultimate things.
Why wail? Very possibly because an entire lifetime of wrong thinking and erroneously conceived philosophies of life have suddenly gone down the drain, Myriads of books laboriously written are consequently proven to be based on a lie. Whole careers founded on alleged “myths” of the Christ and the denial of true religion are determined to be a colossal waste of a one and only life. Projects pursued, goals sought, massive resources misdirected, and erroneous dreams dreamt, all based on a thorough going deceit by Satan, even obliviousness.
For, the truth is Jesus lives! Jesus is affirmed as the only way, the only truth, and the only life! Consequently, the wails which will arise, and for which there is no opportunity for the slightest redress, are beyond the pale. No words can do justice to describe such agonizing loss. This arises from the stark recognition that it is now too late. The sands of time have run out. All is consummated. There is no “do over.” It is done!
Capturing in your mind and heart this true, promised result is what drives many believers to strive to win others for Christ while there is still time, devoting all energies to winsome, yet persistent, persuasive evangelism. Any speech from your mouth which sets forth Jesus Christ and His good news will be used by the Holy Spirit for good. Yet, even such an enlightening of this agonizing wail of so many must be given over to Jesus to find supernatural rest in Him alone, or else this knowledge will truly consume and eat away at you. It is a painful thing to witness people in such utter regret, with a vitriolic anger for being terribly wrong when they believed they were so right. You must now strive while there is yet time to turn peoples’ hearts away from a wail to Jesus.
This scene of wailing is starkly unforgettable, but it is yet future. This has not happened, but it most certainly will. What manner of people should we be? How should we then live? How can we prepare for such an all-consuming event like this?
The Apostle John is directed to paint this awful scene for us for a purpose. One, that we may not be caught off guard ourselves. Two, that we might be fully prepared to see and hear what we will really see and hear. Finally, that we ourselves might be fully ready to meet the Lord at His return. For it is either wail in anguish or rejoice with great joy the moment Jesus appears on the clouds.
There are only two kinds of people who witness the Lord’s return: those who will wail and those who will be happy beyond measure. None will be neutral, for oblivious neutrality is a total myth. There are only these two final conclusions.
Scripture is quite clear: This happens in the twinkling of an eye, a lightning flash, and it is totally unexpected. Consequently, “Today is the day of salvation.” Today, preparation is meticulously made; today is your most important day, as tomorrow will be when it arrives. This is simply not the time to procrastinate. After all, He has wasted no words in warning you.
“Great God, what do I see and hear? The end of things created! The Judge of mankind doth appear on clouds of glory seated! The trumpet sounds; the graves restore the dead which they contained before. Prepare, my soul, to meet Him.”
(First verse of anonymous stanza of hymn, “Great God, What Do I See and Hear,” 1802)
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