Sunday, December 13, 2015

Revelation 6 - Breaking of 6 Seals

 In this chapter the scroll with the 7 seals needed to be broken.  The breaking of these seals is known as The Great Tribulation”.  We see 6 of the 7 seals broken by the Lamb, Jesus.  They were broken in heaven, but its effects will be on earth.  The 4 horses mentioned are the 4 Horsemen of The Apocalypse.  See Matt. 24 for signs of the end of the age.  All these horsemen are symbolic of the different events which will take place in the end times. 

John saw the Lame break the first seal and heard one of the creatures say “Come”.  Then John saw a white horse and the one sitting on it had a bow.  He was given a crown and went out conquering. (Rev. 6:1-2)  The crown indicates that he was given authority to conquer all who oppose him.  He wants to conquer the world and have complete domination over it.  He is most likely the Antichrist, since he is an imitator of Christ who will also return on a white horse in Rev. 19. 

The Lamb broke the second seal and John heard the second creature say, “Come”.  Then John saw a red horse and the one sitting was given a great sword.  He was granted to take peace from the earth.  Men will slay one another. (Rev. 6:3-4)  This seal releases terrible warfare that will break out in the end times.   There will be violence and death and there will be no peace on earth.

The Lamb broke the third seal and John heard the third creature say, “Come”.  John saw a black horse and the one sitting on it had a pair of scales in his hand.  Then he heard a voice saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Rev. 6:5-6)  Black is symbolic of famine.  A denarius is a day’s wages.  This rider indicates prices of food will be out of sight from the normal.  There will not be enough food so it will be very expensive and some may starve.  This is probably the result of the wars from the second horseman.

Then John saw the Lamb break the fourth seal and with it he saw an ashen horse or a pale horse.  The one sitting on it had the name of Death and Hades was following.  (Hades is a temporary place when unrighteous souls are held until the end when they will be thrown into to Lake of Fire.)  Authority over ¼ of the earth was given to him to kill with the sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts.  Many will die by the sword because of wars and murder and many more will die for lack of food.  Many will die because of diseases and attacks from wide animals.  There are about 6 billion on the earth today with 7 ½ billion being projected in 20 years.  A fourth of the population – 1 ½ - 2 billion - will die in a short period of time resulting in war and famine, disease and wild animals.

Do these verses frighten you? 
What frightens you in today’s world? 
Is it threats of war or terrorism?
Is it rising fuel and food prices?
How will you prepare your children for the future?

Remember as you read this our Redeemer still holds everything together.  He rules with love in catastrophe as well as in peace.

Then the fifth seal was broken and John saw the altar of the souls who were slain because of the Word of God.  The souls cried out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  - Rev. 6:9.  Each of the souls were given a white robe and told to wait a little longer, because people on earth will kill more of God’s people.  Then the time will come and God will act. (Rev. 6:9-11)  They were the faithful followers of Christ who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Him with their lives during the Tribulation.  They never denied the truth of God and were a testimony for Him.  These martyrs are kept close to God.  They died violent deaths and wanted justice.

What prayer are you waiting for God to answer?  He has a purpose for His waiting, but He will answer in His own timing.

Many believe that Christians will be taken up to heaven before the Tribulation begins.  (1 Thess. 4:14; 1 Thess. 2:1).  This is called the “rapture” although this word doesn’t exist in the Bible.  Rapture means “caught up” and occurs in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 and Rev. 19.  There are several beliefs about the rapture:
A-Tribulation – no literal tribulation period
Post Tribulation – means after the tribulation
Mid-Tribulation – Jesus will return for the church age believers in the middle of the 7 year tribulation period
Partial Rapture – Spirit filled believers will be raptured before the tribulation and carnal believers afterward.
Pre-Tribulation – Jesus will get His people before the tribulation and then return to earth to set up His Kingdom for 1,000 years.

Remember no one knows when the end will come.  (Matt. 24:36-51)

After the rapture there will be many people who will wake up and realize they were left behind.  They will repent and turn to Jesus for salvation.  But the world will be different – no religious freedom, preaching of the gospel will not be permitted, many people will be killed because of their new found belief in God.  They will be martyrs.  God will be waiting for people to repent, but for many there will be no repentance.  They will acknowledge that the judgments are from, but they will not repent.  So while you have an opportunity to avoid these terrible times, repent and believe in the gospel.

Then the sixth seal was broken and there was a great earthquake; the sun became black and the moon became like blood; the starts fell; the sky was split apart; and every mountain and island moved out of their places. (Rev. 6:12-14).  These are signs that something BIG is about to happen and soon.  These six signs are designed to get man’s attention.  No one can deny that the Great God of heaven is coming with His wrath.

Then everyone from kings to slaves hid themselves in caves in fear.  They were so frighten they called for the mountains and rocks to fall on them and kill them and even hide them so they would not have to face God’s judgment.  “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17)  No one can stand up against the wrath of God!

If God is full of love, how can He have so much wrath?  God is holy and He wants us to be holy.  His wrath is His holy desire for justice and for righteousness to prevail.

Are you terrified now?  Reading Revelation is eye opening and all the more reason to repent of your sins and confess that Jesus is Lord.  God promises believers will not suffer the Great Tribulation.  If you are not a believer when Jesus returns, you will see all these things that John has written about.  I know you don’t want to be here on earth when these things happen.  So get on your knees and surrender to Jesus Christ.  See the bottom of this blog page for helpful steps on “How To Be Saved”.  Don’t put if off.  He is coming soon!

Next time we will study Revelation 7.  Before the seventh seal is broken, we will see the 144,000 sealed – 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel – indicating they belong to God.  Hope to see you here after the Christmas break.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Joel and 2 Peter 3 – The Day of the Lord

Revelation describes a time period known as “the day of the Lord”.  The Old Testament is full of prophecies for this time period.  It is called “in that day”, “in the latter days”, and “the day of the Lord”.  Jesus used the terms “last day” and “day of judgment”.  Exactly what is “the day of the Lord”?  It is God’s judgment on the world and the deliverance of His people.  It’s not a single day, but an event.  It’s fulfillments of prophecy that happens in phases.  The final phase or judgment will be unlike anything we have ever seen. 

Joel 1 – 2:1-27 – Locust Plague, Call for Repentance

Joel describes “the day of the Lord” as a severe plague of locust that eat everything.  The fields are ruined; the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed; farmers are in despair; harvests are destroyed; the vine is dried up; the trees are dried up; the grain offerings have been cut off; priests are mourning.  There is no joy on earth.  Even the animals seem to know it’s a sad time.  Joel appeals to the drunkards, the people, the priests and to the elders.  He calls for repentance of all the people.

This destruction is brought about because of man’s sin and Joel calls for repentance.  God has rules and we must obey.  The Scriptures tell us throughout that we can escape God’s wrath by repenting, believing and trusting in Jesus alone.  We can be saved.  He will always forgive our sin and remember them no more, if we repent and return to Him.

God shows He is full of compassion and grace.  By repenting the Lord will restore everything.  He will take pity on His people and send them grain and new wine enough to satisfy them.  The pastures and trees will be green again.  He will repay them for the locust years.  He will drive the armies far from them.  The people will rejoice in the Lord and know that He is the Lord their God.  Then He will pour out His Spirit on all who believe. 

Joel 2:28-32 – Spirit Poured Out

God promised to pour out His spirit on all people who respond to His call.  The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person in the Trinity and has always been active in history.  Acts 2 tells of the Holy Spirit pouring out on all believers at Pentecost.    The Holy Spirit is active in the world and has been throughout history.  Gen. 1:2 tells us He is the Creator.  John 3:3-8 tells us to see the kingdom of God you must be born of water and the Spirit.  John 16 tells us He is our Counselor.  Acts 2:1-13 tells us the Holy Spirit filled all the believers at Pentecost.  2 Peter 1:21 tells us Scripture was not written by men’s interpretation, but by the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of quilt.  (John 16:7-11).  He applies the truths of God into our minds.  Once we are saved and belong to God, the Spirit resides in our hearts forever.  Gal. 5:22-23 tells us He begins harvesting His fruit in our lives – the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  He is at work in our lives as He guides us to do the right things, help us make the right decisions, prompts us as to what to say and do. 

It is important that Scripture remind us of the last days, because judgment is coming and people need to repent before it’s too late.  Jesus will return.  That is a fact and we need to be ready.  God promises if we call on the name of the Lord we will be saved. (Joel 2:32)  Then we don’t have to worry or fear the future, because we are sealed forever with the seal of God.  We are His and no one can take us from Him.

Joel 3 – Nations Judge, People Blessed

God controls the destiny of nations and He will be the judge.  On that terrible day it will be too late to decide to follow God.  The time for the decision to follow Him, is NOW!  There will be no escape.  God will restore Judah and Jerusalem and He will judge the nations who were against them.  (Joel 3:17, Rev. 11:8).  Then God will bless His people and Jerusalem will be holy and never again be invaded.  (Joel 3:17-21).  This will be the Millennial Reign referred to in Revelation. 

2 Peter 3 – Be Prepared

Peter tells us when “the day of the Lord” comes there will be scoffers - people who mock Christianity.  They will insult and criticize believers.  This is happening now, but we are to make every effort to be found spotless and blameless and at peace with God so when the day of the Lord comes we will be ready.  We don’t know when Jesus will return.  It could be today or next week.  God’s timing is not our timing.  “… With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping is promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”2 Peter 3:9. 

God created time and is not limited by it.  Earth’s time is limited and God governs the schedule.  He is waiting for more people to repent, but He won’t wait forever.  He has defined a day when His final judgment will come to the earth.  The time is near.   I have heard that if a 1,000 years is like a day to God then Jesus has been gone only 2 days.  That’s something to think about.

These unbelievers have forgotten the God is the Creator and has a plan.  He is in charge and no one can escape His judgment.  They have forgotten or just don’t want to admit that Jesus is the only way to the kingdom of God.   “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6

How are you resisting God’s truths in Scripture?
How are you preparing for Jesus’ return?

The Bible leaves no doubt this earth as we know it will end and Revelation makes that truth clear.  Now that you know the ending.  Will you choose to live a godly life?

Join me next week as we continue our study in Revelation 6.  Hope to see you here.


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