Back to the Word of the Week
The Language of Prophecy - The Book of Revelation
Week 17, 2017
Thanks to those of you who brought up that some of the seals were skipped over. The WFTW covering those was somehow lost, or copied over, and somehow missed in proofreading. I will go back, redo it, and interject it later.
After the great signs of the earthquake, the darkness, and the falling stars, we come to truly remarkable events described in:
The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up,
and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and
the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves
in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
and they said to the mountains and to the rocks,
"Fall on us and hide us from the presence 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 is able to stand?"
Prophetic language has been called “more art than science.” To the consternation of those who rely on their understanding to decipher biblical prophecy, it rarely follows mathematical precision. It can go from the metaphorical to the literal and back again in a single statement. Biblical prophecy can move in consistent linear time and suddenly jump centuries ahead, inserting Messianic or other prophecies before moving back to a linear flow. Why?
We may think that if the Lord wanted people to believe His word, He should have been more specific, clear, and mathematical. He could have done this, but He did not give these prophecies so that people would believe in Him. He gave prophecy as a guiding light to those who already believed in Him. He said through Isaiah that He spoke in mysteries so that the people “seeing would not perceive, and hearing they will not understand” (see Isaiah 6:9-10). Prophecies are given in a spiritual code that only those reading or hearing by the Holy Spirit can comprehend.
Most of the Book of Revelation is written in metaphors that point to literal realities. The literal tells us what happened, but the metaphors are keys to understanding why they happened. Here we have three literal signs—the earthquake, darkness, and falling stars—before going back to the metaphorical. Even so, they are accurate in describing what unfolded right after those three literal signs. These signs were seemingly given to mark the time that the next great spiritual events would take place.
How would “the sky” be split apart? Of what could this be a metaphor? It was something of much greater consequence than the three signs had been. Until the time of these three signs, virtually everyone believed in God in some form, or believed in a Creator. In 1836, just three years after the meteor sign that looked like the stars were being cast like figs, Charles Darwin presented his Theory of Evolution to the scientific elite at Cambridge. It quickly took root in the scientific community. This new theory was what many scientists had sought for a long time—a way to explain the natural world without having to acknowledge a Creator.
This new theory was not only embraced by much of the scientific community, but it seemed to be in perfect timing to complete the loop for existentialist philosophy. The religion of secular humanism was born. This made man his own creator, and exalted man’s reason above religion. This new religion of man became the fuel for rising revolutionary political activists, the Marxists, who would swiftly take over and dominate half the world’s population.
The sky, the heavens, is often a metaphor for what man sees when he looks up. Until this time, it was always a Supreme Being. After this time, nearly half the world had exalted man to that place. John saw it as the sky being split apart. This could hardly have been a more perfect metaphor for what happened during that time. The powerful of the earth fled from God and His judgments through governments (mountains), societies (hills), or any other way they could hide from Him.
The Lord addresses this in:
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and
the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.
"Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
Then He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying,
"I have installed My King on Zion, my holy hill" (NIV).
Those who sought to cut their ties to God and replace faith in Him with faith in man, would suffer the ultimate catastrophe and the ultimate confusion. There can be no unity or peace among men without God, unless enforced by the most severe control and dominance, such as under communism. This bondage steals the essence of what mankind was created to be: the image of God, born to be creative.
True science makes the basic principles of Darwinism foolishness. When people want to believe, or not believe, something bad enough, they will tend to accept a molehill of evidence like it was a mountain, and view a mountain of evidence that refutes what they want to believe like a molehill. Even so, God will have His say in the end.
John saw the heavens split, and that is essentially what happened. For all of those running from God, there were many running to Him. After the two Great Awakenings, powerful revivals and movements swept whole nations into the Lord’s waiting arms. After this, the forces of darkness and the light could be easily distinguished, for their ultimate clash at the end is now unfolding.
next week 18