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Archive for October, 2008

God or Gaia?

“And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the tress till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’” Revelation 7:2b

 

While the seals that have been opened certainly caused events that were not pleasant, the trumpets that are about to blow will trigger events that are truly horrific, only to be surpassed by the final judgments of the bowls. As we read on in Revelation, much of the earth is destroyed. It is destroyed at the hands of God. The angels ‘were granted to harm the earth.’ Who did the granting? The implication is that God Himself did. The God who masterfully created this marvelous planet on which we all live, the One who says not a sparrow that He created falls to the ground without Him knowing about it, is about to unleash the greatest ecological devastation mankind has ever witnessed.

I often pass by well-meaning people as I walk the streets of Seattle. They attempt to stop me, saying something along the lines of, “Do you want to help save the earth?” I’m usually on my way to meet my husband for lunch, and I’m not good at these kinds of conversations anyway, so I typically reply, “Not in the way you are probably referring to,” or something similar. Like I said, they are well-meaning. Creation is beautiful, and we should do what we can to be good stewards of it. But for many of them, the earth has become their god. They don’t worship the God of the Bible, God Almighty. They worship the earth that He created, and will one day destroy.

Creation truly reflects the glory, majesty and power of its Creator. Let’s just make sure that as we marvel at the beauty of God’s handiwork, we don’t end up worshipping it instead of Him.

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Two Choices

“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!” Revelation 6:15,16

 

Sinful humanity will one day be confronted with irrefutable proof that God exists. You hear no arguments in this passage about whether or not the massive earthquake was natural or supernatural in nature. They know the phenomenon they just suffered was the wrath of a holy God. And the indication is that they also know they have no justification, no excuse that will cause Him to stay His hand. How will they respond when that dreadful day comes? The same way mankind did when confronted with their first sin. They will try to hide. They would rather be buried in the caves to which they’ve fled than find themselves suffering the wrath of a God they’ve spent a lifetime denying.

We have two choices when we realize that we deserve to suffer the wrath of a holy God. The first response is the one taken by the people spoken of in this passage, people who may well walk the earth at this very moment. It is to hide, to behave as if you can somehow avoid judgment. The other choice is to fall to our knees and cry, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!” Until the moment of our last breath, we can surrender ourselves to the Lover and Redeemer of our souls, Jesus Christ, and ask Him to forgive and cleanse us. There is no escaping the wrath of God. Either you run to the One who took God’s wrath in our place, or you face it without Him. There is no other choice. Mankind has never been, and will never be, able to hide from God.

Two choices. May all who read this cling to the One who saves us from the wrath to come. He is the only safe refuge we have.

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Questioning God

“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?’” Revelation 6:10

 

Who are these under the altar? I’ve heard two explanations. Some say they those who are martyred during the seven-year tribulation period. Others say they are the martyrs of all the ages. Regardless of who they are, they are asking God a question. They want to know how long before the Lord avenges their death. They’re asking when justice will be done. Since they are currently residing in Heaven, this question cannot be a bad thing. They are not sinning by asking God to judge those who have persecuted them. And indeed, while God doesn’t directly answer their question, neither does He condemn their question. He simply tells them to rest a little while longer until the time is right.

We often think it’s wrong to question God. Undoubtedly, sometimes it is. Are we demanding that God explain Himself? Not a good idea. Are we refusing to trust and obey until we understand what He’s doing? I’d advise against it. But are we turning to God in response to things we don’t understand? Are we appealing to Him when we feel tired or overwhelmed? I personally think those are things we should do. Tragedy strikes and we cry, “Why?” Difficulties arise and we ask, “How long?” I don’t think questions are the problem, but the underlying attitude that can accompany them. Will you still love and worship the Lord if He doesn’t answer your question? Will you still trust and serve Him if He tells you to wait?

God is God whether we understand what He’s doing or not. When we approach God with our questions, may we never forget to do so with a sense of holy awe.

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“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…” Revelation 5:8a

 

Let’s set the scene here. The Lamb, Jesus Christ, has just taken the scroll from the Father. He’s about to open it. What happens once He does is horrific beyond measure. The events that are triggered starting with the opening of the first seal will leave the earth lying in waste and most of its population dead. How does heaven respond? With praise and worship. First the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing praise, then countless legions of angels join in (vs. 11), and finally all creation erupts in praise (vs. 13) How can there be praise in the light of such impending death and destruction?

On this side of heaven it seems impossible, but we aren’t seeing the view from earth in this passage. We’re seeing things from heaven’s point of view. Things that we see and know ‘as through a glass darkly’ we will see and know clearly once we are freed from the distortion of living in a cursed world. Heaven knows just how depraved unredeemed humanity is. Heaven knows how deep the effects of the curse go. And heaven knows the wonder, the glory, the joy that will prevail when the necessary judgment is complete and God restores the earth to be even better than it was before it was cursed. Creation itself eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God, even with all of the destruction that must come first.

When death and destruction seem to loom on the horizon, let us set our hearts on things above, put on the eyes of faith, and seek to see things from heaven’s point of view.

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