May 15, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?’” (Revelation 6.15-17)
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
What is interesting to me is how difficult we make it to read, rather understand, books of prophecy; especially the Book of Revelation. Prophecy and prophetic writings as well as the verbal broadcast of such prophecies are intended to be understood and responded to by the people who hear them in their “present” day. I was asked the other day “How many biblical prophecies have been fulfilled already”? This is a good question and the answer depends solely on which prophecies are you asking about. There are differing genres of prophecies such as: local, general, those which call to repentance, justice and for the mighty ones of God- Messianic. Even within the genre of Messianic prophecies, we have to pay attention to whether they are those which apply to His first coming and those which apply to His second coming. What we cannot do is categorize prophecies as to past, present and future with any intent to dismiss the lessons that they teach or invoke. Prophecies are timeless and will continue to be applicable in defining our spiritual journey as a person, as a people, as a nation and as a world. Reading through the Old Testament works of the prophets who were inspired by the Spirit of God in their “current” context, we are able to identify same and similar contexts with our own “current” situation. I have highlighted “current” because I want us to consider the flow of God’s timeless Word through human time. God’s Word has existed before “human time,” that is our time on earth, and will exist after that time as well. We will all experience His Word in the “after time,” but within the new context of a “New Heaven and a New Earth.” But, let us not be confused by the scripture from Revelation which says, “Behold, I will make all things new.” (Revelation 21.5) What is being renewed are those who put their trust in God and their lives in His hands. He wipes away every tear, replaces every sorrow, sates every thirst, fills every hunger and forbids death in those who bow down before the Lord and declare “There is no other!” Oh, let there be a caveat and qualifier of accountability for that declaration which says “And mean it from the bottom of their hearts, from the depth of their souls and out of the far reaches of their minds.” What is not made new is that which refuses the nail-scarred hand of the Potter and the fire-setting presence of the Holy Spirit which sets the renewed vessel in place for all time. Those who refuse and desire to “make of themselves the life as if they were gods in control of their own destinies” are warned that “what they desire is what they will get.” Their attitudes and altitudes of self-centeredness turn all that is gold to lead, all that is good to evil and all that is living to death. In other words, they lower themselves to a point of no return. It is still not too late for them to repent, however, the gospel and the “Age of the Church” is still at hand. It is like that double-edged sword which both defends and accuses leaving judgment plain for all on whom it “crosses.” The intent is to reveal vitally the need for repentance and the calling upon the Lord believing He can be found. In other words, Hell will be the same “yesterday, today and forever.” The only difference in the hell of yesterday and today and the hell of “forever” will be the number and volume of its citizens and the freedom of its “priests and prophets” to roam the earth and subdue the world (the earth’s population.) The day is coming with those who holds the keys will lock them in and not merely lock them out of “this world” into their own. It will be, as John sees in Revelation, “a lake of fire which cannot be quenched.” In that respect, it is far worse than the Valley of Hinnom which, in Jeremiah, was prophesied with a new name to be called The Valley of Slaughter.
So, let us consider chapter six as the beginning of a Table of Contents for “what comes next.” In our worship, we must be confronted with and confront ourselves with what is good and what is evil. We must understand, anticipate and then accept the Terrible Day of the Lord as much as we do The Day of the Lord when all things willing are made new. The truth of life in this world on earth is that it is not necessarily “on earth as it is in Heaven” for everyone. We have to be able to be objective about what is present, what is happening and what should be happening. We know from the laws of physics: for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. Spiritually speaking we can apply that “law” in two directions. The first is that when we act against that which is “right, good and holy” we push ourselves away from it as much as we are pushing it away from us. Consider the words of “Father Abraham” in Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. In answer to the pleas of the rich man who did not act righteously in his life on earth as found himself in a place of unquenchable thirst, Abraham responded, “There is a chasm fixed between us that cannot be spanned from here to there or there to here.” (Luke 16.26) The second is when we act against that which is “evil, unrighteous and unholy” and find that we push away from it as much as it pushes away from us. The reality is that when we stand for, and kneel before, the truth in this world we are going to be repelling to the unrepentent and repelled by them. It is the repulsion which the six seals indicate for the hearer, and prayerfully they were and will be listeners, as to what not only comes next but what must come next. As horrible as it sounds, and as it will be, it is a choice which the enemy makes for themselves. They even know that this is coming but in their self-absorption cannot keep themselves from being consumed by their rebellion against the mercy, grace and love of good which can free them from the clutches of sin. It will be as if they hold the keys to their freedom in their hands or around their necks but ignore them. Either they lost sight of them or they have forgotten the power that exists by them. The day will come when the locks will change and those keys will no longer work: the chasm, or abyss, cannot be spanned. Why would anyone have such a desire to dwell forever in a place where there is no hope for life only death and that death to be an eternal dying?
Let us remember, mighty ones of God, there are many who believe they already dwell in such a place. It is to them, because the forgiveness of God has been given to them as well, that we are called to “go into all the world and makes of all nations disciples of Christ through the teaching (and the practice) of all that He has given us.” They have to be given every opportunity this side of “that abyssmal span” to not cross over. Rather, let them with us take up their cross and bear it faithfully accepting the will of God for their future with Him instead of against Him. To this the Word declares “Do not fear the one who can kill the body. Rather, fear the One who can kill both body and soul with Hell.” (Matthew 10.28) Keep your eyes to the prophecies, the truth in God’s Word, and know that while the time may be growing short it has not come to its end. There is time to justify our desire to be God’s children and worship Him in this place “in spirit and in truth.” -Selah.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.