12.5 Revelation – Refuge

Refuge

We all need a place a refuge from time to time.  A place of safety.  A place where, no matter what and who wants to attack us, we are protected.  A place where we are safe even from the penalty of our own wrongs.

God introduced this concept to the Hebrews upon coming to the promised land.  Again, as a foreshadowing of Jesus, the people of God where instructed to establish cities of refuge.  If someone had done something wrong, or even just accused of doing something wrong, they could escape to the city of refuge and not face harm, attack, revenge or retribution.  If they chose to not be under the protection of the city, to live within its walls, then they stood on their own.

This concept of a place of refuge is repeated throughout scripture.  The word appears 96 times in the NIV.  But let’s compare and contrast the difference between those who seek refuge in God and those who seek it in the world.

In regard to the unbelievers, Revelation 6: 15-17 says they “hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the 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 their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?””

When the heavens and the earth have been shaken.  When every island and every mountain has been moved.  When the sun is black and stars fall from the sky.  Where would someone hide from that?  What good is a cave in that situation?

In comparison, here are words of those who seek their protection in the Lord:

Sam 22:3 – My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me

Ps 71:3 – Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Is 57:13b – But whoever takes refuge in me (The LORD) will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.

So, while the rest of the world is crying out for the rocks and mountains to fall on them, the ones who seek refuge in the Lord will be standing tall and firm on the Rock of God and His Holy Mountain.

My Answers:

12.
a.
Ex. mt sinai covered in smoke, billowing like a furnace, mt trembled violently
Is. all stars in sky will be dissolved, heavens rolled up like a scroll, starry host will fallJe. formless earth, no light in heavens, quaking, swaying, barren land, no people
Jo. blood and fire and billows of smoke, dark sun, blood moon
Ze. mountain splits in two forming new valley

b.
It will be on the earth and in the heavens.  It will come with great might and power.  Nothing meek or humble in it.

13.
a.
Hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains calling the mountains to fall on them / refuge in Jesus Christ

b.
God begins the siege and He will, in victory end it, with peace (not a compromise or treaty, but complete domination)

14.
Jesus is our mighty fortress, our safeguard in the wrath, for in Him we are called to be on His side, and with the mighty hand of God we need not raise a sword

12.4 Revelation – On the Right Path

On the Right Path

I was in a meeting once with one of the top leaders of BSF.  She was discussing the barrage of problems and barriers that came up, one after another, as BSF attempted to eliminate bible illiteracy in an oppressed part of the world.  As soon as one problem was overcome, a dozen more popped up.

She concluded the discussion of the problems by saying, “so we know we are on the right track!”

If you are going along with the direction of the world, a direction of conformity to sin, why would the world stand in opposition to you?  In fact, the world and evil are more likely to aid you, oil the skids, and help you along your way, at least to the point of no return.  But if you are doing work for the Kingdom of God, the world stands in your path to block you.

This is the same work and same obstructions that Jesus undertook.  Why would your path be easier than Christ’s?

But, too often, we don’t think like this.  Instead of seeing resistance as something that God allows for us to build our spiritual muscles, we want to shriek out in fear and frustration to God for Him to just make it go away.  That is why, over and over again, the bible instructs us to be strong and courageous and to not be afraid.  God is spotting us.  He is our personal trainer.  He is allowing us the honor of being a part of His plan and, swimming up-stream, is going to be a lot harder than floating down river.  But when we grow weary, He brings us into the boat and carries us forward.  He is our strength.

Even if the opposition and persecution leads to our physical death, it still has not won.  The martyrs have a voice in the very throne room of God.  Their voices and yearnings are one of the seals of the great day of the Lord.  Their cries and rewards in heaven are part of God’s delivery of wrath on the world.

My Answers:

9.
a.
the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained

b.
Remove lies and deceit from the world.  Remove injustice and hatred, Remove greed and lust.  Remove oppression.

10.
a.
Wait until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been

b.
priestly robes, wedding garments, robes of salvation and purity

11.
a.
It is used by God to build us (as resistance does to muscles), it is not to be feared, it brings shame not to you but to those who perpetrate it.  Christ suffered and it is a blessing to participate in His suffering (shows the spirit is on you because he is target)

b.
There is always more than hope, there is assurance that better times are to come with full restoration plus more

c.
God controls it.  It is a sign that you are on the right path and the spirit is working in your life.

12.3 Revelation – Coming to Triumph

Coming to Triumph

When we get to the 3rd and 4th horses and riders of Revelation 6, it is clear that God is not launching a tactical strike, a measured response or a retaliatory airstrike.  God is not coming to the battle with the intent of driving sin to the negotiating table.  He has no plan to sign a treaty with sin.

It reminded me of the instructions that God gave the Israelites for their entry into the promised land.  They were supposed to remove all the people and all their gods (Exodus 23).

But the tribes of Israel, under Joshua, thought they knew better and began forming treaties and negotiated agreements to share the land that God had given them.  Instead of being able to live out a foreshadowing of the complete removal that God had planned for the entire world in the end times through the actions in the promised land, they instead only demonstrated man’s continued disobedience even in the very best of times.

But Revelation is different.  In these final days, God is not only instructing, but He is acting.  He is sending forth the armies, starting with 4 horsemen.  And the end is not only certain but complete – God not only wins, but the enemy is totally eliminated to never fight again.

 

My Answers:

6.
a pair of scales, come, he brings famine and poverty on the world, an accounting

7.
Hell, Sheol, the underworld, the grave

8.
a.
4 horses, same colors, each with rider (Zec on chariot) – Explanation of who they are in Zed, 4 spirits of heaven  They go out in a different order.
Consistency of the scriptures and the identification of these spirits of heaven

b.
wars and rumors of war, such things must happen  Nation will rise up against nation

 

12.2 Revelation – Peace

Peace

What is peace?  Is it the absence of war?  The absence of conflict?  The absence of worry and anxiety?

We tend to define peace in terms of what it is not.  But the bible explains that peace is a real thing in and of itself.  It is a gift from God.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

The appearance in Revelation, first of the conqueror on the white horse and then of the red horse which removes peace from the world, is indication that God is withdrawing His protection from His creation.  God is still peace and those who seek refuge in Him are covered by His peace.  But the blanket of peace and protection that He has provided over the cosmos is being withdrawn.

God’s gift to the creation was perfect harmony.  Our corruption of the creation is sin, desire, coveting, self-pleasure, friendship, adultery with the world and false gods.

When peace is removed as a covering of the world, man’s sin produces death and destruction.  If you read the story of Gideon from the book of Judges we get an indication of this.  The 300 men who accompany Gideon encircle an encamped army so numerous that the number of their camels is compared to counting the grains of sand on the shore.  In one hand Gideon’s fellows hold a lamp in a jar.  In the other hand they hold a trumpet (notice: no sword in their hand, no shield).  At the appointed time, they burst the jar and blow the trumpets and the armies in the camp take up arms and immediately begin killing each other.  Their fear is so great that they run away to hide.  I think this is a foreshadowing of the events that will ensue when the first 2 horses come.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
Come

b.
A horse with rider, different colors, different powers, different things they carried

4.
The rider held a bow, was given a crown and rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.  He is an offensive being, crowned as a victor (not with the sovereign’s crown), a military leader.

5.
a.
Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other, given a large sword. – Peace is threatened and men seek to kill other men and terrorize

b.
sin – desire, coveting, wrong motives, self-pleasure, friendship with the world (adultry).