Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15- The Rod Of Iron

December 15, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Micah 1:1-4:13; Revelation 6:1-17;
Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 30:1-4

You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. ~Psalm 2:9

Micah 1:1-4:13

As we are rounding the corner in our Bible reading and heading towards the end the story, we see God tying up loose ends, completing cycles, and fulfilling promises.  Much time has been spent in the Old Testament focusing on what has gone wrong.  The Jews have not kept their end of the deal with God. But the Jews simply represent all of mankind. This is a story of screw ups. This is a story of fallen people who are prideful and willful.  Humanity seeks to be self-reliant.  People do not feel that they need God. The Creator of this world is largely ignored and forgotten by the majority of people.  People are indifferent. What to do?  Well, God is gracious and long suffering.  So God immediately introduces a solution for the problem of sin.  God is relational, so He designs a method to restore His relationship with His creation. God makes a promise to Eve in the book of Genesis (Genesis 3:15).  He promises to send a child who will defeat the Serpent who deceives the whole world. Ancient man begins to look for this Savior of mankind. The story unfolds and the solution, who happens to be God's Son, comes to earth and redeems the earth through his death and resurrection.  The Good News about this Savior is spread by faithful followers to the ends of the earth and finally, those followers are taken to heaven to receive their reward.  But what about all of those people who rejected the Good News?  What about those whose pride did not allow them to humble themselves before their Creator?  Today our readings deal with the rod of iron that is God's righteous judgment against all who have rebelled against Him. The nations have raised their fists in rebellion against God and against His chosen Savior and King.  Jesus, who is worthy to judge, brings the hammer down on earth's rebellion.

Micah is a prophet in the Southern Kingdom under Hezekiah.  He is a contemporary of Isaiah.  Micah is sent with a message from God to tell the whole world that the Lord is coming to earth! Why?  To judge the sins of Israel and Judah, first of all.  Once again, we have the Lord promising to punish the sins of the nation of Israel.

In chapter 2, Micah gives the message that God consistently brings forth, "Someday, O Israel, I will gather the few of you who are left.  I will bring you together again like a sheep in a fold.  Like a flock in its pasture...Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you."  Who are these few that are left?  They are the remnant of Jews after the Great Tribulation who believe in Jesus and are part of Christ's millennial reign on earth. This is part of the promises that God gives in His Story.

Chapter 3 is God's reminder that Israel is filled with sin, but He is filled with His Spirit of righteousness. His Spirit points out sin and rebellion. The false prophets of Israel are singled out, as are the leaders.  As a result, in the near future both Samaria and Jerusalem will be defeated.  Jerusalem will be reduced to rubble.

Chapter 4 brings a look into a future day.  Remember, "that day" represents a period of time.  In the last days during Christ's millennial reign on earth, Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth.  Restored from the rubble, Jerusalem becomes God's earthly capital. It will be the world capital.  This is a promise.  Here are some specifics:
  • People from across the earth will go there for worship. Vs. 1
  • The Temple will be there and nations will worship there. Vs. 2
  • Jesus will teach the whole earth from there about God through his Word. Vs. 2
  • Jesus will settle international disputes as the earth's ruler. Vs. 3
  • All wars will cease under his reign. Vs. 3
  • All people on earth will live quiet, peaceful, and prosperous lives under Jesus' reign. Vs. 4
  • Israel will be gathered from across the earth and be a strong nation ruled by Jesus. Vs. 6
  • Jesus will rule as their king from Jerusalem forever.  Vs. 7
  • Jerusalem will be given royal might and power. Vs. 8

Verse 11 reflects the period of the Great Tribulation when the nations gather together against the nation of Israel.  This is prior to Jesus' millennial reign.  It is the major worldwide event that ushers in Christ's coming back to earth to save Israel and establish his earthly kingdom. Micah's prophecy reflects that this is purposed by God.  Rather than the collective nations defeating Israel, the gathered nations will be trampled upon like bundles of grain on a threshing floor by God in judgment for their rebellion and hatred of God and the nation of Israel.  God declares that through His capital city of Jerusalem, God will punish the nations.

Are you beginning to see a consistency in the prophets and the story that is being told?

Revelation 6:1-17

Okay. We are back in heaven. John is there. The Church is there, represented by the twenty-four elders. The millions of angels are there.  Everyone has sung that Christ, the Lamb,  is worthy to open the sealed document that is the deed to the whole world. 

Christ is worthy because of his perfect life, death, and resurrection on this earth.  He has redeemed the world and is worthy as God's Son to inherit the earth and rule it with an iron fist.  Before Christ reign's on earth, there is the judgment of the wicked on his earth.  Opening this document reveals just how God's judgment will come upon the wicked world.  Notice that the Church is no longer in the world.  The earth is occupied by those that are left, who have rejected Christ. The earth also has the 144,000 witnesses and any tribulation saints who come to faith in Christ during the Great Tribulation.

The Seals

Breaking the seals on this document shows that Jesus is in control of the events that will occur during the Great Tribulation period on earth.  The Great Tribulation period is the final indignation of the nation of Israel.  It is their final punishment for rejecting their God. The nations of the earth are also punished during this time.  Jesus controls this judgment.  It is his time to trample down the rebellious ones.  His inheritance is the earth, in part, and Jesus must judge the wicked on the earth that he inherits and cleanse the earth before he occupies the earth as a ruler.

The First Seal

When Jesus breaks the first seal of his title deed to the earth, a white horse gallops forth and its rider carries a bow.  A crown is placed on the rider's head.  He goes forth to many battles and is victorious.  This rider is the Antichrist.  This is the last world dictator, who is given authority from Jesus to conquer the world.  Notice that although he is evil, he rides a white horse and is the consummate imitator of Christ.  He is a fake and an impostor, who fools the whole world. White represents peace and the Great Tribulation begins with a peace treaty that is signed by the nation of Israel with the Antichrist. There is a short-lived peace under this ruler.  He comes to power with the idea that he will unite the whole world in peace.

The Second Seal

Jesus has something else in mind. Upon breaking the second seal, one of the living beings says "Come!"  and a red horse appears. This rider is given a mighty sword and the ability to remove peace from the earth.

The peace and white horse of the Antichrist don't last because Christ sends forth the horse of war upon the earth.  The earth is judged by Christ through a world war, the likes of which have never been seen before.

The Third Seal

Now we have the black horse. His rider is holding a balance or the scales of justice. Black is the color of mourning. It also speaks of famine.  This horse represents a worldwide famine that occurs.  It is logical that after a worldwide war, the food system would be trashed and people would begin to starve.  The war will decimate the international trade that we have today.  Food will be hard to come by. Famine always follows war. This will be a judgment of the earth by God.

The Fourth Seal

One again a seal is broken and the living being says, "Come!"  It is God who calls forth these judgments.  This is the pale horse.  It is the horse of death. This is the horse of disease and pestilence.  The rider is named Death and is followed by the Grave.  This is a reference to the body dying and the soul going to Hades or the Grave, which is the holding place of the unbeliever's soul until judgment. Death and the Grave are given authority by Jesus to kill one fourth of the inhabitants of the earth at this time. This will occur with the combination of wars, famine, disease, and wild beasts.  This is at the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  Please note that Christ prophesied these four situations in his Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:5-8.  This is not new information.  It is just presented in a different format.

The Fifth Seal

Christ is the Lamb.  He is always the Lamb who was sacrificed for the Faithful ones. The Lamb opens the fifth seal on the deed to the world. When this seal is opened, we see some of the faithful believers who were killed for Christ's. The seal reveals this faithful remnant of Israel. They are under an altar. Remember, the altar is where innocent animals gave their lives sacrificially to atone for a person's sins under the Law in the Old Testament.  Now we have people who sacrificed their lives for the Word of God. They call to God wondering when their deaths will be avenged. They are crying out for justice and judgment. They are given white robes (representing their righteousness) and told to wait because even during the Tribulation period there will be more martyrs, who will die for the Word of God.  They must come into their deaths before Jesus avenges all Jewish martyrs. It should be noted that these are Old Testament believing Jewish martyrs and the new martyrs that come during the Tribulation are also believing Jewish martyrs.  Both groups believe in Christ either prior to his first coming or prior to his Second Coming.  Please note that believers in Christ who are converted during the Great Tribulation are called Tribulation saints. The New Testament saints and believers (the Church), who are killed for Christ's sake during the Church Age, are in heaven with Christ during this Tribulation.  Remember, these seals and judgments are for people left on earth after the true Church has been raptured to heaven.

The Sixth Seal

Now the Lamb breaks the sixth seal. The Tribulation is a seven year period as outlined to the prophet Daniel.  The first 3 1/2 years include the wars and plagued outlined in the seals and the trumpets according to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book The Footsteps of the Messiah.  Now with this seal we find tremendous natural upheaval in the earth and in outer space. This is as a result of the wrath of the Lamb.  Jesus is judging the wicked. In this judgment, we have great earthquakes that are worldwide.  Many deaths will occur. We have the sun darkened and the moon turning red.  The stars are falling to the earth.  People are running to caves and hoping to hide from the wrath of the Lamb.  Do you find it a paradox that a Lamb would have wrath?  Jesus prefers to not have to judge, but this gentle God, who sacrificed Himself for others is also a Being who hates injustice and evil. He is capable of wrath.  Psalm 2:10-12 states,
"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry with you and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
In whom do you take refuge?  Have you kissed Jesus Christ as a brother? No mountain will be able to cover those who have hated God and His Son.

Psalm 134:1-3

Here is a song to be sung as you ascend into the holy city of Jerusalem. This will be God's capital city one day.  People will sing this song as they enter the city.

Proverbs 30:1-4

The writer of the Proverb cries out to know God and His Son.  This is the essence of wisdom.

What are you learning?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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