Monday, December 17, 2012

The Gathering, Part 2

Daniel's seventieth week, the seven years leading up to the Lord's return, will be hard. And I have to say that it drives me crazy that so many pastors simply won't deal with it.  Perhaps they can't defend what they were taught in seminary.  I've heard some say that they just don't want to cause division.  Where is the iron sharpening iron?  We are to be LOOKING for the return of the Lord and many churches avoid the subject completely.  Often we hear Hebrews 10:25 preached in regard to church attendance, but they forget to mention the second half of the verse:  exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  That would be the Day of the Lord.  The return of the Messiah.  We are supposed to be WATCHING for it.

Revelation chapter 6 talks about the seals of the scroll being opened.  What is the scroll?  Daniel 12:1 and 12:4 reveal to us that it is the book that contains the names of His people who will be delivered.  Look what verse 9 says:  And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

During the breaking of the seals in Revelation (before the scroll is opened), there is plenty going on, and it is amazing how there is a precise parallel to Matthew 24.  Let's look at the seals in Revelation and how they compare to Matthew.

  • Seal One (Rev 6:2)  And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.  It sounds like someone who has been given the ruling power of a king - could this be the antichrist?  Matthew 24 says And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 
  • Seal Two.  Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.  Matthew 24:6 says:  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.

  • Seal Three.  Behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures 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.”  Uh oh, food shortages.  Matthew 24:7 - And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

  • Seal Four.  So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.  (It doesn't sound pretty, does it?)  Matthew 24:9 says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 

  • Seal Five. When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.  This is the great tribulation!  Matthew 24: says,   For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

  • Seal Six.   I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold,there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,  and said to the mountains and 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 His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”  Look at that - God's wrath is about to begin!  But the tribulation has already happened!  If the pattern continues, we should see a parallel in Matthew 24.  Oh yes, here it is, right in order:   “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (emphasis mine). 

  • Seal Seven.  In Revelation, there is a break in the action while the Jewish people are sealed, and then a whole bunch of people show up suddenly in heaven.  Verses 13-14 clarify exactly who they are:  Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”  And I said to him, “Sir,you know.”So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  Does Matthew 24 give us a parallel?  You bet it does!  Verse 31 says, And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.   Then in chapter 8, the last seal is broken, the saints are gone, God's covenant people (The Jews) are redeemed and sealed, and God prepares to pour out His wrath on the earth.  This harmonizes what is recorded in 1 Thessalonians 5:9... For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The short version of "happily ever after" is that when God's wrath is complete, the wedding of the Lamb will take place and we will dwell with Him on Earth during His thousand year reign.  It will be the seventh millenium of human history - a Sabbath, if you will; following the pattern of the week of creation.  Satan will be bound and it will be a time of peace and safety.  A honeymoon with our Messiah!  After that, Satan is released for a short time and vanquished, and the New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens and join with the New Earth to be our dwelling place with Him.

I'd like to see HGTV top THAT home makeover!  

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