Reflections on Revelation #185

Day 185

“13 And at that time there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.” Revelation11:13,14. NASB

The word of God, which had been clothed in sackcloth, and lay dead in the street for three and a half years, was amazingly taken to heaven (v12). The British Bible society was formed in 1804 with Bibles made available to those who could never afford them before. Then the American Bible society was formed in 1816, and from that day on, the Bible has been circulated around the world.

Foreign missions, which had been unheard of, appeared in quick succession. Livingston went to Africa, Carey to India, Judson to Burma etc etc. The Gospel was being spread around the globe.

The word “remnant” in this passage anticipates the use of the same word in Rev 12:17. I believe it also anticipates the work of the 144,000 in Revelation 14. Let me explain. Both the remnant (Rev 12:17) and the 144,000 (Rev 14:1-5) are the same group. Both concepts are modelled on Joel 2:32, where a remnant on Mount Zion calls on the name of the Lord. In Revelation 14, the 144,000, represented by an angel, proclaim: “Fear God and give glory to Him” (Rev 14:7). Now it is possible that the remnant of our text is merely “afraid.” But I think it is more likely that they are responding to the message of Rev 14:7. The remnant of Rev 11:13 fear God and give Him glory, just as the first angel calls on the world to do.

There are at least three types of fear. The first is the fear of financial ruin.

The second type of fear is the fear of physical harm. And this fear is legitimate. No amount of healthy living and safe driving can guarantee that we will not be harmed by earthquake, disease or criminal elements. But God has promised to be with us when we pass through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps 23:4, NIV). Knowing that He is in control gives us the confidence to live one day at a time, savouring each moment as a gift.

I believe that the third type of fear is the one illustrated in this text. It is the most important kind of fear, the kind that leads us to God. God can use our natural fear, when confronted with things too big for us to control (like a great earthquake), to lead us to an awareness of His presence and a desire to be right with Him. Paul talks about working out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12-13). Godly fear will lead us not only to an awareness of His presence but to the appropriate awe and reverence.

The city in our text is referred to in Chapters 11, 14, 16, 17 and 18. Figuratively it is called Sodom and Egypt. The number 7 stands for completeness, and in this case, it represents the totality of the punishment of those who turn against God. 9see proverbs 1:29 which talks about people eating the fruit of their own way.) The third woe is coming!

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