Saturday, September 1, 2012
Welcome to Day 244 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Ezekiel 15, Jerusalem, a useless vine… 6 “As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.”
Ezekiel 16, Jerusalem, a prostitute, an unfaithful wife… 32 “You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. 34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.”
Psalm 70:5, “I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.”
Revelation 6, six of the seven seals are loosened.
The first four seals:
1. The white horse and its rider – Represents military conquest, such as God used to bring judgment upon Assyria (Isa 10:5-7,12-13,15-16) and Babylon (Isa 13:17-20).
2. The red horse and its rider – Represents civil war, in which people would kill one another, such as God used in His judgment against Egypt (Isa 19:1-4).
3. The black horse and its rider – Represents famine, where necessities (wheat and barley) would be scarce, while luxuries (oil and wine) might be in abundance but of little interest to the hungry.
4. The pale horse and its riders (Death and Hades) – Represents death brought about by the sword, hunger, death (pestilence), and beasts of the earth.
With the fifth seal, we are told why God would bring such judgments. Souls have been slain for the word of God and their testimony, and when the time is right the judgments will begin.
The sixth seal describes cosmic disturbances and the despair of those trying to hide from God’s wrath. Is this scene depicting the end of time?
Revelation 7 hits the pause button on the loosening of seals. John has two visions, then on to Revelation 8 with the loosening of the seventh and final seal; Silence in heaven for about thirty minutes.
Portions edited from Mark A. Copeland’s study of the Book of Revelation.
The loosening of the seals is quite the scene!
This chapter ends with a statement and a question: “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
There are so many passages throughout the Bible about “standing.”
1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then…” Ephesians 6:13
Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then…”
“You too, be patient and stand firm,
because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:8
For 2,000 year we have been waiting for the Lord’s return. His promise is that he would come again. The million dollar question is, “When?”
No one knows for sure… but most agree that there is a series of events that must happen before Christ returns.
The scene is now beginning to unfold in Revelation.
Some think the church will totally escape any tribulation and be “snatched away” or “raptured” (into heaven) before anything major happens. Some think the church will have to endure some tribulation, then will be rescued. Still others think the church will have to endure to the bitter end to the point of death.
I think it doesn’t really matter. I think we should just be ready.
Remember the parable Jesus told about the virgins and the lamps? Five had their lamps trimmed, five didn’t. Five were prepared, five weren’t and missed the wedding and the banguet. See Matthew 25.
If you’re ready, you’re ready. Doesn’t matter when the events unfold. If you keep your “lamps trimmed” at all times, you won’t miss it.
I’m not crazy about the thought of having to endure war, civil or world-wide… famine or whatever could come.
But I want to be ready.
If we are still here, our job will be to give hope to the world and continue to offer salvation by the grace of God.
But aren’t we already doing that? Yes, but I’m sure the intensity and scope of reach could change dramatically in the last days…
The is some debate about these particular chapters as to whether these events have already taken place, since there is so much similarity to the judgment of Israel and Judah and their captivity in Babylon about which we just read in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, then the latter chapters relate to judgment upon Rome.
Others think this is more symbolic of future events to unfold, rather than the recording of past events. Is “Babylon” literal or figurative?
People have been debating this for centuries, and I’m quite sure I don’t know which it is…
But for sure, the final few chapters of Revelation are yet to come, as Satan has not been bound for a thousand years yet!
No matter, I still say,
“Just be ready!”
Lord, I want to be ready… Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, the author and finisher/perfector of my faith! (Hebrews 12:2)