broom sweeping December 28 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Revelation 6, 7, 8, 9

New Year Preparations

Every year we do it–a few days after Christmas we start preparing for the New Year. What do we do? We clean house. We throw away or burn all the wrapping paper, boxes, and even Christmas trees. We vacuum all the pine needles and other trash on the floors, carpets and upholstery. We clean the kitchen and the rest of the mess from the holidays. We are preparing ourselves for the New Year. This is what is happening in today's Bible reading–the world is being cleaned up in preparation for the New Year when Christ comes back to this earth to rule and reign for 1,000 years. To prepare for his coming, there has to be a massive sweeping, burning, and destruction of all the wrappings of the evil life of that time.

In our last Bible reading, we observed the throne room of God. The Apostle John describes a large scroll (book) with writing on both sides with seven seals held by the one on the throne. Only Jesus is worthy to take the scroll and open the seals–by his blood he purchased men for God and then triumphed over the grave (Revelation 5).

Now he opens the seven seals. Each of the first four seals reveals a horse of a different color. The first is a white horse symbolizing peace. The rider has a bow but no arrows and is given a crown to wear (Revelation 6:2). This suggests a false peace obtained by the strength of a world leader. Next, there is a red horse symbolizing war and bloodshed, then a black horse symbolizing famine, and then finally a pale green horse symbolizing death (Revelation 6:4-8). In these seal judgments, war and its effects will kill one fourth of the earth’s population. Even so, the judgments will continue.

There are parentheses of events recorded in the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments. While the seal judgments are transpiring, there will also be massive evangelization efforts being carried on in the world, and then massive martyrdom of Christians as a reaction against them. The fifth seal is a parenthesis revealing a great throng of martyred Christians receiving robes of white, standing for their righteousness even during times of persecution and death (Revelation 6:9).

They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?

Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed” (Revelation 6:10-11, NIV).

This is probably not the answer the martyrs want to hear, just as more bad news is not what we like to hear, but God is Sovereign and it is enough for them and us.

The opening of the sixth seal reveals cataclysmic destruction on the earth. One-third of the earth will be destroyed by earthquake and events from the heavens. The Apostle John writes,

There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Revelation 6:12b-14, NIV)

This event may be the shaking of the earth described by Isaiah in his prophetical book

See, the day of the LORD is coming--a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.

The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. (Isaiah 13:9-13, NIV). *

Between the sixth and seventh seals there is another parenthesis in the judgments. This one describes the sealing (protection) of 144,000 Messianic Jews (more...) and the martyrdom of a massive amount of non-Jewish believers. They both give praise to God for his salvation.

The seventh seal opens up another set of judgments called the Trumpet Judgments. Although similar to the seal judgments, there is enough difference to justify the belief that these are additional judgments upon mankind. One significant difference between the seal and trumpet judgments is the plague of devilish and fearsome locusts which ascend out of the abyss (a deep hole in the earth perhaps caused by the great earthquake or an asteroid or large meteorite). The locusts are strangely attired and sting like scorpions, but they are only allowed to torment unbelievers. They do so for five months. Another distinction which differentiates the Trumpet Judgments from the Seal Judgments is the addition of an army of 200 million soldiers, who destroy a third of the remaining inhabitants of the earth.

These judgments are difficult to fathom. We may ask, “Is there no mercy for the inhabitants of the earth?” The answer is that at any time people can come to God and repent of their wrongdoings and receive mercy. But do they call out to God? No.

The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-- idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts, (Revelation 9:20-21, NIV).

In our next Bible studies we will see more judgments to sweep away the wickedness of the earth and prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Are you going through difficult times?

If you are an unbeliever, perhaps God is sweeping away at your wickedness until in desperation you see how much you need him. You are not ready for his second coming. If the seven year tribulation would start today, you will have to go through it and try to survive. Then if you do not turn to God you will be judged and condemned to suffer for an eternity in the Lake of Fire (hell). Repent and put your trust in the LORD today.

Are you a believer? Terrible times and persecution sometimes come into our lives, but God is faithful to either help us persevere or deliver us from them. Take comfort that true followers of Jesus Christ will not have to go through the seven year Tribulation Period. We will be caught up to be with Christ (raptured) before it begins (1Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1Thessalonians 5:9).

*For more insights on Revelation 6:12b-14 and Isaiah 13:9-13 go to more….

Lessons to Live By

  • To enter a New Year and live a life of joy, get rid of the wrapping paper and filth of this life and live for God. Repent, and he will forgive you. Do not be swept away. (more...)
  • Those who are believers may face persecution and even martyrdom; but someday, they will enter a New Year of eternal life rejoicing, and not have to face God’s condemning judgment.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

Revelation 7:10b (NIV) “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

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A Look Ahead: Our Next Lesson reveals Spiritual Contests between God and Satan during the seven year tribulation period at the end of the age. Who is going to win? Perhaps you are also facing spiritual contests. What can you do about it?

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