Monday, December 14, 2020

The End of the World

"For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:17).

Today we continue to break the seals that lock up the book of history, which now at last can be opened by a man who is worthy: the Lamb. The first four seals shows the Gospel going forth and conquering, and the world being judged and shaken in its wake. When such judgments go forth, the wicked retaliate against the faithful, and when the fifth seal is broken, we see God’s martyrs under the altar (Revelation 6:9–11).

The altar in the Bible is made of earth, and when the earth drinks up the blood of the righteous, it calls for vengeance (Genesis 4:10–11). Here the martyrs call upon God to avenge them. In this we see that new covenant saints are no different from the old covenant saints who prayed the imprecatory psalms. People who have a biblical mind-set do not quietly suffer in some kind of stoic indifference when the Gospel is attacked. Rather, they cry to God, asking Him to come, to shake the world, to overturn the wicked and establish the righteous.

Then the sixth seal is broken, and we are given a picture of the end of the world (Revelation 6:12–17). The sun, moon, and stars are destroyed, and the wicked flee God’s wrath. The question is, Which world is pictured here? The preterists answer that it is a picture of the end of the old world focused in Jerusalem, because the symbolism of the fall of sun, moon, and stars is used in the Old Testament as a symbol of the fall of political powers. (Notice also that the American flag has stars; Muslim countries have a crescent moon and star; etc.) The preterists also say, however, that the destruction of the old world is a type or foreshadowing of the destruction of many evil nations in history and of the final destruction of the ungodly when Christ eventually returns in glory.

The futurists simply invert this interpretation. They see the sixth seal as portraying the Final Judgment when Christ returns, but they also understand that the judgment upon Jerusalem, Rome, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, etc. are preliminary foretastes of that Final Judgment. Thus, both schools of interpretation make this passage practical for today’s world.

The Bible uses cosmic imagery to speak of a judgment upon the human cosmos, the social and political world of humanity. When Christ returns, the physical world will be changed. For the present, He desires our realms to change through repentance. Join with all faithful believers in Christ in praying for such changes today.