"The Third Seal of Revelation" by Tricia Tillin
Part Four: What Do We Do?
And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
Now I want to consider, if possible, exactly what the third seal of Revelation has in store.
Here's a little cynical conversation for you:
Teacher to small boy: Now in this verse about the cost of bread, which two groups are not to be harmed?
Small Boy: The Oil and the Wine, Miss.
Teacher: Good, and who are the Oil and the Wine according to the bible?
Small Boy: The believers, Miss
Teacher: So, what would it be good to be, during this time of trouble?
Small Boy: Um, a Believer, Miss?
Teacher: Now you've got it.
Okay, it's not quite as simple as that, but it's not rocket science either.
God doesn't enjoy inflicting suffering on mankind, despite what many non-Christians will tell you. Christians have made a study of these truths, but opponents act on impulse and prejudice. Why take the word of a stranger? It's a bit like your next door neighbour telling you that he/she knows what your father is really like, without having met him or spent 20 years in his company.
Those who have read the bible can see two intertwining forces at play in God's dealing with mankind: the demand for holiness and right thinking, and the desire to cherish, forgive and be merciful.
However, the first of these needs (holiness) is also born of love, since God's requirements are all about maintaining health, social order, morality and blessing. When God disciplines his children, it is out of love and concern.
When God warns of judgement, it's all about heeding the consequences of our actions.
'And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season , the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the LORD's anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.'
The earth's fertility and provision is a blessing from God, not "nature" and we disregard that at our peril. We have taken things for granted for too long.
When you add to that disregard the blatant selfishness and greed governing the marketplace today, you end up with a situation that provokes God to anger.
Money Rules All
Should the motive for agriculture be profit, or provision? Should basic animal and worker's welfare be sacrificed to turn a quick buck? Should food be manipulated to create addictive desire, simply to produce higher turnover?
There is no limit to the examples I could use to point out how the love of profit has overturned good farming practise and created a mega-market controlled by big business interests who care little or nothing for good quality food or the price mankind has to pay - both in terms of cost, and health.
Without labouring the point, it can be said that human nature has overturned God's intentions everywhere we look.
The poor are not provided for, the health provided by wholesome food has been eroded, the essential balance of nature has been distorted and abused, the fertility of the land has been endangered and neglected and instead of thankfulness and worship of God we have turned to the worship of "mother earth" and "humanism" as the answer to all our self-inflicted ills.
As a result, the "seedtime and harvest" that God promised after the Flood as a perpetual blessing ARE being disrupted and removed.
Then the LORD said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."
Notice that this blessing only remains "while the earth remains", but now there are serious reasons to question how long this planet will remain in its present condition.
The physical order of the universe is changing, the atmosphere of earth, the electromagnetic fields, the gulf stream, the sun itself are changing and bringing about a shaking of all that we once relied upon. (source)
God said he would not destroy every living thing again - he doesn't need to, mankind is doing that for him!
Although the extinction of various species is a natural phenomenon, the rate of extinction occurring in today's world is exceptional -- as many as 100 to1,000 times greater than normal, Dr. Donald A. Levin said in the January-February issue of American Scientist magazine. (source)
That is just one small sign of our effect on the natural God-given balance of nature. I do not subscribe to the other side of the argument, that we should value creation more than civilisation, but I do recognise that we are violating almost every common-sense rule about protecting and cherishing the environment.
But beyond that, and even more importantly, the destructive influences now threatening our planet are not merely man's mismanagement but God's warning signs about our disregard of HIM.
God warned us that all things would be shaken, so that only the unshakeable things would remain - that is, the eternal realities of his presence, his holiness, his love and his kingdom.
... but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken , as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken , let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
But we ignore his voice, and pay scant heed to his word and commands; we continue to despise his goodness and pollute all that he has provided.
This situation is not likely to change but grow ever worse as year follows year. I believe it is now not possible to reverse the trends and put mankind back on course - this isn't pessimism but a reality-check! Let's not stick our heads in the sand and ignore the warnings all around us!
I believe judgement is inevitable
Individually we can make sure that we repent of all that offends God, in our personal lives and attitudes. But trying to come against multinational conglomerates, humanist ideologies and suchlike, trying to shake mankind out of its self-centred, greedy attitude, trying to reverse the decades of media propaganda - all this is now an impossible task for a few right-thinking people.
We have had thousands of years to respond to the loving kindness of God in sending Jesus Christ as Saviour, and our response as a planet has been to turn him and his followers into a despised laughing-stock, the but of every comedian's routine and every TV program's script. Howe then (as the bible says), shall we escape?
Don't pin your hopes to a sudden upswell of piety caused by some planetary disaster,
or some mythical godlike hero coming along to save us.
One look at the book of Revelation tells you what this earth's response is to every opportunity to repent and accept the true God - steadfast arrogant refusal!
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
What then? Are we to merely hunker down and wait for the End?
In some senses - yes - there is not much else we can do in the face of global meltdown. But two things we are called and urged to do, besides this: trust in God for personal safety, and reach out to those around us with concern for their fate, urging them to see the "writing on the wall" and get their lives in order.
Jesus warned us that the days of the End would be "as the days of Noah", similar to that time - when God was speaking to his own, urging them to make a provision for safety, while the rest of the world carried on regardless, eating, drinking and partying, fornicating their little boots off, and raising a two-fingered salute to God until the very DAY that the rain started.
Did mankind pay heed to God then? NO. Did they listen to Noah? NO. What makes you think we are different today?
How to Survive
I well remember a day 30 years ago when I was (like many today) praying for "revival" to come. I was so insistent and urgent about it, that God eventually spoke to me inwardly with a rebuke: "It will not be revival, but SURvival in the last days!"
The world carries on regardless, the Government knows the problems but believes mankind can heal itself, religions look to their rituals to save them, the visible Church urges us to believe in a miracle-moment that will change the world for ever. To all of this I would say, "WAKE UP!"
The answer my friend is to look to yourself and ask how you can bring your life into alignment with the will and commands of God.
If you are a Christian, you need to read the bible seriously - and believe it - when it speaks of the signs of the end. You need to get back to God and sort out the things that matter. Apologise for being self-serving and neglectful of him. Ask forgiveness for your wrongdoing. Humble yourself, and ask God to show you what to do right NOW to get your house and financial affairs ready to survive.
Above all TRUST God's wisdom and mercy. He can do what man cannot.
If you are not a Christian - congratulations for staying with the article this far. :) But if this is ringing true with you, please reconsider your position about God. He does exist. He does care about you personally. He knows you inside and out, and he knows your heart - he is ready and willing to forgive everything you have said and done, and to take you under his wings.
Do please read this page about what a Christian is, and how to find God.
It's possible to be kept, protected, provided for at a time of want. How do I know? Well just one instance is that during their time of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were kept from the worst of the plagues that fell on that nation for withstanding God's commands.
And there are specific promises that apply to all who are faithful to God:
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown
But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.