“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Reference: Revelation 14:6-7 )
Albert Barnes says (amongst other things), “The design of this portion of the chapter Revelation 14:6-7, also, was to comfort those to whom the book was addressed, and in the same way to comfort the church in all the persecution and opposition which the truth would encounter. The ground of consolation then was, that a time was predicted when the “everlasting gospel” would be made to fly speedily through the earth, and when it would be announced that a final judgment had come upon the anti-Christian power which had prevented its being before diffused over the face of the world. The same ground of encouragement and consolation exists now, and the more so as we see the day approaching; and in all times of despondency we should allow our hearts to be cheered as we see that great anti-Christian power waning, and as we see evidence that the way is thus preparing for the rapid and universal diffusion of the pure gospel of Christ.”
Historic Anabaptist Adrian Corneliss (who died in 1552) wrote (in part), “Hence, faint not at the tribulation in which we are, but adhere to the Lord, and the tempest will soon attack you; but, my dear friends, remember, as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ, since eye hath not seen, nor ear hear, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Eph. 3:13; Matt. 7:25; 2 Cor. 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:9.”
Remember beloved, Barnes comes some 250 to 300 years later than the historic Anabaptists. And where they has but learning in biblical scholarship that came naturally to them, Barnes had devoted years of education and study to. And Barnes was not persecuted or oppressed for his beliefs and scholarship, but was recognized and appreciated. And yet there is a common theme that weaves its way through both commentaries. What Corneliss hoped for himself and his fellow believers, Barnes states is for all believers. That hope should not be abandoned, but held onto. And that while we may be in tough times now, there will be a time when faith will be fulfilled and rewarded.
It is a legacy passed on from generation to generation that belief and worship of God alone should be maintained no matter what may come. So we hold on to hope and true belief and worship. It seems to me though that as each succeeding generation grows into faith, it is harder to hold on to hope. The historic Anabaptists held on in opposition to their persecution. Barnes’ generation held on as scholarly understandings deepened, Christianity was spreading, and there was a growing conviction that Christ’s return would be realized. But in 2014 we are still holding on. And the Christianity that was known in Barnes’ time is splintering into diverse groups of believers. Yet somehow we must hold on to hope and faithful worship. May your faith in the one God and the hope that our Lord gives to us be renewed afresh each day. Selah!