I am Concerned for Us

Then I saw another beast coming up from the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but was speaking like a dragon.
— Revelation 13:11 NET
In this video, we trace the origins of the word "gospel" and how it ties the story of the Old Testament together with the story of Jesus and his announcement of God's kingdom. Jesus brought God's rule and reign to the world in a very upside-down way, which is the best news you could ask for.

I am concerned for us. Interpreting Revelation 13:11 to only mean that the lamb-like beast (USA) “will speak” like a dragon sometime in the future, when it only pertains to persecuting us, blinds us to the historical and present fact that it has been “speaking” like a dragon (while trying to appear lamb-like/Christian) since its inception. Just read the text carefully. Such a futurist interpretation leaves us blind, silent and unengaged when it comes to the dragon-like speak and actions of racial, economic and social injustice and oppression that has been happening right in front of our eyes. When we are not concerned about when it happens to “them“, what will happen when it happens to “us”? The prophesied dragon speak doesn’t happen overnight, but has been developing and is getting louder as we near the end. And what is more concerning, is that some of us support, endorse or promote by our complicit silence the political systems emboldening injustice, while pushing back on issues of social justice! The astounding irony is that this very interpretation of Revelation 13:11 was historically the catalyst to our pioneers’ strong abolitionist engagement to end slavery! We cannot profess to be hastening the second coming of Jesus by preaching “the Gospel of the Kingdom” while avoiding social justice, when the Kingdom of God has justice as a core attribute. The Gospel, or said more fully by Jesus in Matthew 24:14, “the Gospel of the Kingdom”, is not merely about personal salvation as ticket into Heaven, without any concern about how people are treated here on earth. Just listen to the very words of Jesus when He announced the Good News of the Kingdom He was ushering in…

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
— Luke 4:16-21 NASB

Did you hear the Lord we claim to be preaching? The Good News is to the poor, an announcement of release to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, the setting free of those who have been oppressed and the year of the Lord’s favor! Never mind the fact that He spoke about this in a worship setting (synagogue) on the Sabbath! That’s a blog for another time. When He was done talking about His Kingdom of justice for all (read the larger context) the people in this synagogue of the home town He grew up in, that claimed to be God’s chosen people, tried to throw Jesus off a cliff!!! My friends, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Messiah, which did secure our salvation by grace through faith, is what ushered us into the life of the Kingdom now, on earth, until fully realized at the return of the King. And if we truly are followers of the King, we will continue His work of establishing His Kingdom now, which has justice for all at its heart. One cannot claim to preach the Gospel and be against or just plain silent when it comes to issues of justice! This is why I am concerned for us.


CJ Cousins

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father and Associate Pastor for Younger Generations at Vienna SDA Church.