Preparing for the Unknown Hour
As we read through Revelation chapter 6, it seems that out of each seal that is opened something emerges more terrible than that of the last. John watches as death, famine, and world changing events unfold upon the earth. If we take a look at the world today, it is easy to see how far astray humanity has wandered from living as God intended. Though there are still those who follow Christ and strive to live as unto Him, the world as a whole is not one that follows our creator. If we are not following Him, how can we expect Him to save us when the time comes that we cry out to Him?
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“Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.”
After chapter 2 of revelation, the church body is not mentioned again. Many believe and teach that this is because they are no longer on the earth but have been raptured (caught up) to heaven at this point (Pre-millinialists). There are several verses in the Bible that support this. (Read 1 Thessalonians and Matthew links below.) Though we don’t know the day or the hour, we should always be prepared for it to come. Imagine you were waiting for a bus to come and take you to heaven but there was only one bus and if you didn’t make it on before it left, you have to wait through, and try to survive, the opening of each of the seals described in this chapter
Maybe you have seen the movies or read the book series “Left Behind.” This biblical based fiction tells a tale of possibilities that may occur during the tribulation period. The focus is on a few characters and their struggle to maneuver through this changed world as those who have been left behind after God raptures His church. Though some may know right away what has happened, others may have no idea where all the Christian’s have gone. I’m using the term Christian lightly because simply claiming to be a believer does not make one saved.
As you read through this series, or enjoy the cinematic versions, the world goes through a series of events that mirror those given to us in Revelation and help lend us an idea of the struggles those left on earth will endure during the tribulation period. Keeping in mind that these characters are fictional, imagine the horror of those who will be left behind and know immediately what has occurred. To be standing next to a loved one and they are suddenly gone from your side, or carrying a child in your womb and it is gone without a trace would be frightening and grievous. But, to those who know the Bible and do not believe, I would venture to guess their fear is on another level. They, if they have read their bible or been to Sunday school, will know what is about to happen to the world and that fear would be great indeed. They are then left with the decision to follow God or turn away from Him and follow the world under the deception of the antichrist.
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 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?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”
In verse 10, the souls of the believers who have lost their lives in the defense of or as a result of following Christ during this time, ask the Lord when they will be avenged. Though there are many throughout time that have been martyred for their faith, the time is coming when those numbers will grow. Those who become believers during the tribulation will have to withstand much more than we as believers do now. It may even become a crime against humanity just to be a follower of God. We don’t know exactly how things will transpire on the earth after the church is raptured but we do know those that accept Christ as their savior during that time will struggle to survive or be martyred for their faith.
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 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! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?””
I spoke with someone quite recently who insisted there was no wrath of God in the Bible. That simply isn't true. Christians, we serve a loving God and a merciful God, but He is also just and righteous. Remember the flood that only Noah and his family survived? The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, was also a clear example of God's wrath and punishment of those who live in sin.
Little sparrows, if you are on the fence about your faith, now is the time to make a decision. I pray that none of you will be left behind to struggle through the tribulation. As believers, we are responsible for sharing the truth with others. If you are solid in your walk with God and you know of someone today who is struggling with their faith, come alongside them, be their friend, be their prayer warrior, show them what Christ has done in your life and teach them how to follow Him so they will be prepared for the unknown hour of His return.
Have a blessed day little sparrows.
For reference to the rapture of the church, read