"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable,
as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters,
and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns
with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Have you ever given serious thought to the entirety of this passage? Sure, it's easy to envision the meaning of what the Apostle Paul heard from the Lord on His throne in Heaven ... we can discern what it means to be without faith, to be found detestable in His sight; that murderers, the sexually immoral, those who are involved with the occult, those who worship false idols and all liars will not spend eternity with Him. But have you solemnly and earnestly considered what He means by "the cowardly"? It is easy to dismiss this term in the list of recognizable sins.
This verse comes in the next to last chapter in our Bible, and we know that Jesus is testifying about His imminent return. If you are like me, and so many other discerning Christians, then you feel in your spirit that His time is near. Therefore, it is important to know what He is talking about when He references "the cowardly" and how it pertains to us in these last days.
There are many causes of Cowardice. We can fear for our lives, have fear of others, fear sickness and death, fear insufficiency, and have fear of tyrannical rulers. At the root of all these fears and lack of courage is the sin of Unbelief. One of the earliest examples of Cowardice and how God views it is found in the 13th and 14th Chapters of Numbers.
The Lord commanded Moses to send 12 spies into the Land of Canaan, which He intended to give the Israelites. When the spies returned they reported that the land flowed with milk and honey, but the people of the land were also strong and gigantic. When the people protested out of fear, the spy Caleb told them “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Why did Caleb have so much confidence that they could "overcome"? Because He believed in God's promise that He would give them the land. And what did he recommend that they do? "Go up at once and take possession." He recommended that they take action, based on God's promise -- he did not suggest that they stay comfortable in their present situation and rely on God to take care of the matter. He did not propose that they be passive. Yet it was the fear of the other spies that led them to counter Caleb's argument with a bad report and recommend that the congregation of Israelites remain where they were.
But Joshua and Caleb stood in defiance of their cowardice. They warned them, "Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them."
I want to connect the significance of the Numbers account with the end of Revelation because we need to take a serious assessment of where we stand as Believers. Are we, like the ancient Israelites, simply too comfortable in our title of "Christian"? Do we think that we can remain passive in these last days and that God will protect the United States of America from the dark spiritual forces that are about to descend upon us? Are we willing to follow His commands and spread His gospel, even if the culture despises us? Or are we more inclined to remain docile and unresponsive -- knowing that God wins in the end anyway?
It is my observance that the Church has done a poor job of preparing God's people for the battle that is coming. Our modern Church teaches very little about the prophecies of the Bible. If it did, we would heed the Bible's warnings and know that we cannot and must not remain passive! There are too many Christians, sitting in too many compliant churches, who are accepting or allowing what happens in our culture, without active response or resistance.
Jesus did not establish His Church to be inactive, uninvolved, submissive or unresisting! Through the Holy Spirit we have been given His authority and power to wage a battle against the evil forces that are assaulting our land. Yet like the ancient Israelites, we are not believing or taking advantage of what has been offered to us.
And what was God's response to the failing of the Israelites? He said, "How long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them...". In the book of Numbers, the punishment was pestilence and disinheritance. In the Book of Revelation that disinheritance results in a second, permanent death in the lake of fire. In both instances, a choice to remain passive and not go forth in the power and authority of God is costly. At this point in God's timeline, there is little occasion left for us to make that mistake. Go forth and act like the child of God that you are! Do not be counted among "the Cowardly"!