Animals have an uncanny ability to find their way home. Pet lore is replete with Homeward-Bound-like tales of Chance, Sassy, and Shadow overcoming perilous journeys against unbelievable odds to return to their people. We don’t know how they do it — how they sense direction, how they navigate the way home. Especially since we, their masters, are so easily disoriented and often profess, ‘you can’t go home again.’
The journey of the salmon is a dramatic illustration of an animal’s ability to find its home. Salmon spawn upstream, in freshwater pools. As they grow, they migrate to the sea. They travel thousands of miles through open ocean to feed. But when it is time to become parents, they travel back to the spot where they were born. This amazing journey is much observed, but little understood. Scientists theorize that salmon are guided by sense of direction and smell.
As the salmon makes its initial trip to the sea, it somehow ‘records’ the chemical signatures, as well as celestial, barometric, and geomagnetic details of the waterways through which it passes. This enables the salmon to geotag its birthplace. Capable of discerning the chemical signature of its birth-pond to parts per billion, the salmon literally follows its nose home.
The ability of the salmon to find its way home is beyond belief, but it pales in comparison to the promise of Scripture that the Lord ‘knows his own’ (2 Timothy 2:19) and will not lose any that belong to him. Nothing can keep him from finding us. No one can snatch us from his hand. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus. We know this intellectually, but it is easy to feel lost sometimes. Our sin and circumstance often seem to obscure his love, his promises, and his mercy. While scripture exhorts us to assurance, we all struggle to feel that our calling and election are sure. When the day comes for us to stand before him, will He recognize us? When the Lord comes again in glory will we be obscured among the tares?
Any child, lost in a crowd, knows this fear. They cry out for their parents, but the voices and bodies of the crowd swallow them up, threatening to prevent their reunion. Have you every felt that way spiritually? Lost and afraid you would never be found? Fortunately, the scripture promises us that the Lord is perfectly able to find us, rescue us, and bring us to himself.
At the beginning of Revelation 14, the true Lamb appears with those where were sealed by the living God with the Holy Spirit. God’s own, there pictured as ‘the 144,000.’ The church militant has become the church triumphant. In his fury, the Dragon made war against them, but there were no casualties. Their number is not diminished. Every one sealed is saved. Not one is lost. Despite the ravages of the enemy, the people of God stand victorious and sing victory songs before the throne.
And as Revelation 14 unfolds even further, the scene moves from the first-fruits, to the finished harvest. At the end of the age, the Lord returns in glory to collect all of his own and to carefully distinguish the wheat from the tares, the sons of light from the sons of darkness. None are confused. None are mixed. None end up in the wrong basket. God loses none he purposed to save. None are lost who trusted in grace. But all are lost who trusted in their works or wits. Do you have this kind of assurance? If not, where is your hope?
Are you trusting in God’s grace in Jesus, or in your own works or wits? Final judgement before a Holy God is a certainty. Scripture is unequivocal in this truth. But it is equally adamant that “all who come to [Jesus] will never be cast out.” Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Revelation 14:14-20 and consider the assurance of God’s promise that he is coming again and when he does, he will take us – all of us that are his – to himself. No child of his will be left behind.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at The Arkansas DreamCenter at 1116 Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.