Thursday, December 08, 2016

Revelation Advent -- December 8

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17, ESV)

With the words, "The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place," this looks like the end of the world. The end will come. The world is not prepared for it. In some movies there will be bedraggled old bearded man wearing a clapboard sign which elicits the reaction from the audience the man is a kook. The most respectable end-of-the-world scenarios in the past were nuclear holocaust (most notably during the Cold War of the 1950s through the end of the 1990s) or, presently, some environmental disaster brought on by industrial pollution leading to global warming. But God actually bringing an end to the world and universe is not a respectable idea now -- and those holding to it are looked upon as anachronism in the best light, or evil intolerant bigots in less charitable minds. But God will bring about the end of the world.

The end of the world is God's wrath pouring out on the evil doers of the world, from kings, the rich and powerful, to the poorest -- to everyone. This is the sixth seal, and notice that this seal comes after the cry of the saints in seal five for vengeance.

Dr. Dan Doriani, expressed some gallows humor to this situation. "I have thought a couple times about the way I would like to die and about some ways I would not like to die. My favorite way of dying is to die of a heart attack on a tennis court. Or failing that, another good way would be being in my right mind and having sudden death. On the bad end, I would say that being buried alive would be really low on my list. It is definitely in the bottom five. But the kings, the rich, the mighty, the generals are saying they would rather be buried alive under a mountain than face the wrath of the Lamb." (Dr. Dan Doriani, Hebrews to Revelation, Lesson 25). Those who do not come to the slain Lamb of God for the forgiveness of sin, place their faith in him, face the wrath of the Lamb of God at the end of the world. It is a wrath that is unimaginably horrible. It is a wrath that, when someone faces it, they would literally rather have other terrible things happen to them than face this wrath. Those who face the terrible day of judgment ask rhetorically, "Who can stand it?" The answer is provided in the next chapter in Revelation.

Those who read this blog entry to this point are most likely Christians. Some Christians will disagree with the particulars about this passage, placing the events here as not the actual final judgment. Whatever the case, there is agreement among Christians that there is a final judgment, a final judgment that will be horrible for the nonbelievers to face. Those who read this who are not Christians will most likely think this is superstitious folly, ill guided, or not worthy of a God of love. However, there are some reading this who are not Christians and, if they stop and listen within, hear the voice of Christ calling to them. If you are one of those, come to Christ, don't delay.

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