Reflections on Revelation #125

Day 125

“And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” REV 6:12-14 (NASB)

There is a series of six items in this passage. The first and last of the six are earthquakes, the latter being so great that every mountain and island shifts location, a truly cataclysmic event. In between the two earthquakes are four heavenly signs: the sun turns black, the moon turns bloody red, the stars fall to the earth, and heaven itself splits up.

The images are either literal or spiritual. I am not aware of a compelling case to treat the sun, moon, stars, and sky as symbolic here. So, they should probably be taken literally. In the Greek of this passage, the word “hos” usually compares something literal with something figurative. The pattern is that the sun becomes black “like sackcloth of hair,” the moon becomes “like blood,” the stars fall “like a fig tree drops its unripe figs,”, and the sky splits open “like a scroll being rolled up.” So, the sun, moon, stars, and sky are to be taken literally and what happens to them is to be taken figuratively.

Events like the first three have taken place in the past. In 1780 there was an incredibly dark day across North America in which animals came home early thinking the day was already over, and roosters were crowing at odd hours. That night the moon turned a dark red. The event was so unusual that many people took note of it. Then in November 1833, there was a meteor shower so spectacular that many people wrote their local newspapers announcing that the end of the world must be at hand.

God used these events to stimulate tremendous interest in the prophecies of the Bible around the world. But the interpretation of this text cannot stop in the Nineteenth Century. The descriptions in verse 14 go way beyond anything history records. The sky ripping apart and every island moving out of its place, those are events never seen before. They point to the time just before the return of Jesus.
The spiritual message of this text can be found in the Old Testament texts that are echoed in this passage. “Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” Isaiah 54:10, NIV. The assurance is that no matter what, God will never forsake His people.

No Comments

Post A Comment