God’s people must keep their eyes on current events. The many things going on around us right now tell us that the end of sin (not the world) is near. To confirm this assertion, we will analyze the testimony of John the Baptist to three specific parties prior to Jesus’ First Coming. Through his testimony to the people, the publicans, and the soldiers, we will gather counsel for the end times.
1. “The People”
“And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise” (Lk. 3:10, 11).
John counseled God’s people to give food and clothing to those who had none. He had seen the fruitlessness of their faith manifested in their failure to provide for the poor and the needy. Despite their law commanding them not to forsake those in need, many of God’s people had left off caring for them. The exponential amount of food and clothing we waste today is a stark testimony that many of God’s people give little to no regard to the millions in need.
2. “The Publicans”
“Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you” (Lk. 3:12, 13).
The publicans of these times were infamous for their dishonest business practices, in addition to their serving the Romans. The publicans had shamed themselves and drew contempt from their Jewish brethren. Does not our country’s tax collection system reflect the same unethical gain?
3. “The Soldiers”
“And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (Lk. 3:14).
John’s testimony reveals to us that many of the Roman soldiers were dishonoring their profession through inflicting violence upon the people and falsely accusing them of crimes they did not commit. They were not content with their wages, so they resorted to extrajudicial measures to increase their gains.
Such measures taken against the people are not unfamiliar to us today. Many people found to have committed no crimes are being exonerated every year. The light is finally being shed on the motives and persons found to have resorted to such vile measures. One can only wonder how many among them profess in vain to serve the Lord.
Despite being set apart by God for his work, John kept his eyes on the current events within the Jewish and Roman societies. He rebuked the popular sins and the corrupted religious leaders of his time. Most importantly, he called upon Jew and Gentile alike to prepare for the coming of Jesus. Only those who prepared themselves as these three parties saw Him for who He was that day. Many before them accepted Jesus as their Messiah because they kept their eyes on the events that occurred His birth, the events foretold in the testimony of the prophets.
This testimony of John the Baptist before Jesus’ First Coming points to the work of His prophets before His Second Coming. God sent him to get the people to open their eyes, to look at these events so they could take His coming seriously and prepare for it. How much more will God do this through His prophets before His soon return?
Revelation 3:17, 18 tell us that the faith of many of God’s people will be lukewarm in the last days. They will not be passionate in their faith or dead in faith, but “lukewarm” (passionate without, dead within). Among the side effects of a lukewarm faith (spiritual wretchedness and spiritually miserable, poor, and naked), many of God’s people are spiritually blind. They cannot see their need to repent of their sins and turn back to the Lord.
Many among us cannot see that our Lord whom we serve is near, even at the doors. The leaders of many churches are blind to these things because of their love of influence, money, and power. They cannot see the wicked course they are pursuing in deceiving millions of Christ’s followers, blinding them to the message of the last days. Will they not both fall into the ditch if their eyes are not opened before the time?
There is still hope for God’s people, even now. Jesus, in His letter to the Laodicean church, counsels the church to buy (among the other treasures) eyesalve from Him, that they may see. How powerful can His eyesalve be? It helped the servant of Elisha see the army the Lord sent to protect them. It helped over 3,000 men repent of their sins after Peter’s address to them. How much more will it help us see the things that the world and our lukewarm faith blind us to, the current events pointing to Jesus’ Second Coming? Before He returns, God’s people must pray for the Lord to open their eyes. They must see, so that the world can see, that our salvation is nigh. Seeing, in the last days, will be the key by which many will believe.