Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Revelation 6:12-17

Revelation 6:12-17
And I looked when he opened the sixth seal and a great earthquake became.  And the sun became black as a mourning garment made of hair.  And the whole moon became as blood.  And the stars of heaven fell into the earth as a fig tree throws its unripened figs while being shaken by a great wind.  And heaven was swept aside as a scroll while being rolled up and all mountains and islands were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the wealthy, the strong, and all – slave and free – hid themselves into caves and into the rocks of the mountains. And they say to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall upon us and hide us from the face of the one who sits upon the throne and from the wrath of the lamb.”  That the great day of their wrath came and who is powerful enough to set against it?

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

When we read this section, it is really easy to look into the future.  Certainly this may be a forewarning of times to come.  But let’s not forget the time of John’s life.  In 79 AD, Mt. Vesuvius erupts, killing scores upon scores of Roman citizens.  The earth would have trembled as the volcano gave into the pressure of the magma chamber below.  The volcano spews tons of volcanic ash into the air, darkening the sky.  The pollution in the air no doubt caused the sunsets to be spectacularly red.  It’s likely that the moon looked red through the haze and the ash through a red shift effect.  What’s my point here?  While it is easy to look forward into the end of the world, don’t forget that John is going to teach and preach out of the experience of the people around him.  They would have knowledge of Vesuvius.  As the ash was brought westward in the air, many of them would have seen the effects of the eruption personally.  John is teaching out of the experiences of the people around him.  His message wouldn’t be foreign; his message would have a foundation of truth in their life.

Why is it important to teach out of our known experiences?  Do you understand better when learning more about things you already are familiar with or things that you have no experience with?

Second Thought:

What is John’s point in speaking about this sixth seal?  We all live among natural disasters.  Think about the events in our own time span.  How many tsunamis have we had in our lifetime?  What about major hurricanes?  Tornados?  Floods of major rivers or coastal regions?  Forest fires?  Earthquakes?  Famine?  The reality is that there are always natural disasters around us.  It’s easy to get scared about them.  But God will be with us through them. He is our God.  He can take whatever happens to us and turn it out for good.

Do you ever feel small in the face of the power of nature?  Why is it easy for nature to put us in our place?  How have you dealt with natural disasters in the past?

Third Thought:

Notice the reaction of the people.  The human beings run and hide.  Some even ask the mountains to fall upon them.  The reality is that we talk a big game, but our flight instinct is deeper than our fight instinct.  We do have a threshold where our fight instinct is stronger, but there is always a point when we feel like needing to run.  But look more closely.  To what is the world reacting?  The world is afraid of the judgment of God.  The world is afraid of the wrath of God.  Who is powerful enough to stand?  Again we see that John is actually giving us a human perspective. In the face of God’s judgment, in the light of our own sinfulness, who among us can actually stand?  We are sinners.  We have no reason or right to stand in the presence of God when the only thing we consider is our own merit.

What causes your flight instinct to kick in?  To you look forward to or do you dread the moment you stand before God and are held accountable for your actions?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 7:1-8
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