The Tribulation: God is a God of mercy and grace, but He is also the Righteous Judge and will one day, possibly soon, begin opening the seven seals of Revelation 6 and unleashing final judgment on all who refuse to repent and turn to Him for forgiveness. What will that look like?
Also read about praying when you’re discouraged and God’s wisdom.
Amos 8 & 9
The Tribulation: Opening the 7 Seals
The First 6 Seals
Well, we’re getting into the heart of the book of Revelation—today chapter 6.
In this chapter, we see God’s wrath being poured out in the events of the Tribulation period. His wrath is represented by the seven seals on the scroll. Chapter 6 briefly describes the opening of the first six seals.
The first seal reveals a white horse, on it a rider with a bow who goes out “conquering and to conquer.” Although there is a bow, there are no arrows, so this conquering will be done through peaceful means—lies and deception. So, at first, there will appear to be a time of peace, but it will be short-lived.
The second seal reveals another horse and rider. This time the horse is red representing bloodshed—war and wholesale killing. The killing will not only involve warfare, but murder will become commonplace.
The third seal reveals a black horse and rider. The black horse speaks of famine and shortages. This will lead to rationing, food lines, and price gouging.
When the fourth seal is opened we see a pale horse and his rider—Death, followed by Hades. This pale or ashen color is the color of a corpse when it is decaying. This horseman will be given the power to kill one-fourth of the world’s population.
The fifth seal reveals the Saints in heaven praying for God’s judgment on evil and evil men. They are told to wait a little longer until their number is complete.
While God uses men and their evil nature to bring about the first four seal judgments, when the sixth seal is opened He will reveal Himself as the force behind it all. John MacArthur says, “The force described in this seal is overpowering fear.”
Heaven will be rolled back like a scroll and men will see God on His throne, but instead of praising Him, they will recoil in terror. This seal unleashes a worldwide earthquake involving all the earth’s faults. These earthquakes will lead to volcanic eruptions. The smoke and ash will cause the moon to appear blood-red. The “stars of heaven” will fall to the earth. This may describe a huge meteor shower.
In all of this, as horrible as it will be, I see God’s mercy, His final attempt to say, “Repent or perish.” His desire is that all would repent, but sadly, we know many will not, even when faced with the reality of God’s judgment and wrath.
Tomorrow chapter 7 …
Today’s Other Readings:
Amos 8 & 9:
The One Who Judges Righteously
Amos continues to speak to and warn the people of the Northern Kingdom. In chapter 8 he rebukes them for their focus on the things of this world instead of worshiping the God who created it all.
Instead of resting and worshiping on the Sabbath and other holy days, they were anxious for them to be over so they could get on with buying and selling and even cheating in the process:
4 Hear this, you who swallow up the needy,
And make the poor of the land fail,
“When will the New Moon be past,
That we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
That we may trade wheat?
Making the ephah small and the shekel large,
Falsifying the scales by deceit,
6 That we may buy the poor for silver,
And the needy for a pair of sandals—
Even sell the bad wheat?”
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob.
“ Surely I will never forget any of their works.
God, who is a God of mercy, is also a God of justice. Those who have sinned in this life and never repented and accepted His gift of forgiveness and new birth will give an accounting, either in this life or the next.
The One Who Will Dry Every Tear
Yesterday I recommended reading the Psalms when you are struggling with discouragement, grief or other negative emotions. This psalm is a great example of how the Patriarchs poured out their hearts to God during their times of struggle and despair.
David begins this Psalm by calling on God, not on the basis of his own righteousness, but on the righteousness and faithfulness of God—the only way any of us can come to God. Then he goes on to tell God how he feels—persecuted in the deepest part of his soul, crushed, in darkness, overwhelmed, distressed. But once he has poured out his heart, he turns his attention to God:
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land” (vv. 5-6).
When you are discouraged and distressed to what or to whom do you turn for comfort and encouragement? Let it be the One who will, eventually, right every wrong and dry every tear!
The One with Whom Wisdom Begins & Ends
The writer of this portion of Proverbs began by recognizing that his own wisdom was worth nothing:
“Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One” (vvs. 2-3).
He went on:
“Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?”
He realized, as we all should, that all wisdom begins and ends with the Sovereign God of the universe. And while we can never fully understand God in His power and wisdom, we can grow in our ability to know and understand Him as we spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word.
This year is fast drawing to a close and many of us are thinking about 2018. We’ll set goals for eating better and using that gym membership. We may set financial or career goals. Some may choose a word or character trait to focus on this year. But let’s not neglect the most important area of life …
In the next few days, we’ll talk about grace, the responsibility involved in being a true friend, the opening of the 7th seal and the 7 trumpet judgments in Revelation, and pose questions like, “Should we say ‘what goes around come around?’ ” and “Are we placing our hope in truth or lies?”
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