Climate Change

Rev. 8:6-13

Alberta wildfire – equal to nearly Cumberland and York counties; 40+ volcanoes erupting; 26 tornadoes in one afternoon, 5 states, MI to TX; 200+ significant earthquakes in May, 2016; strongest El Nino in 20 years; 10″ rain in morning in Mississippi, 7″ in 1 hour in Texas.

Then there is all the media coverage of global warming, global cooling, climate change, greenhouse gases and how dire our situation truly is here on poor planet earth.

“We have virtually conquered the planet, explored the moon, overcome the natural limits of travel and communication; we stand at the dawn of a new age, ready to move farther into space and perhaps inhabit other planets. Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving an abundant and meaningful life. …Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be.” Humanist Manifesto III, 2003

Can you handle one more bit of confused thinking? American Sign Language translation of Manifesto, done by ordained (former) Baptist pastor, graduate with Masters of Theology from Liberty Univ. His translation begins, “A life without God can be so beautiful. Life can be wonderful and fulfilling.”

So… what about all we are seeing and experiencing – climate, weather, geology, …and messed-up thinking? Is this all result of unguided evolutionary changed followed by mankind’s intervention? Have we conquered the planet? Can we control our environment? Or do we need to consider ourselves and surroundings from another viewpoint? And… does Bible have something to say about this? Our text does: first, the perspective from which we should understand it; then parallels with other great works of God; what is God’s purpose in all of this; don’t forget his promise; and finally, the great potential for us as God’s witnesses.

A. perspective

seals – effect on people; trumpets – effect on entire universe/created order: first the natural world, then its inhabitants

like seals, seven trumpets reach conclusion at Second Coming and overthrow of worldly powers arrayed against Christ and his Church

did John perhaps have in mind: Josh. 6, 7 priests with 7 trumpets marching ahead of ark of covenant around Jericho, city taken on 7th day

seals – 1/4 harmed; trumpets – 1/3 harmed

Rev. 6:8 “Death and Hades… given authority over a fourth of the earth”; 8:7 “a third of the trees”; 8:8-9 a third of the sea, living creatures, ships, etc.

trumpets “strike the four major regions of creation: dry land, sea, fresh water, and sky.” Poythress no part escapes

events described concurrent with those described in seals (also one another – not one seal/trumpet, then next when first is complete), yet at same time effects of God’s judgment more widespread, moving toward a climax

intensity will build even further when we get to bowl judgments recorded in chapter 16, narrowing focus to time of Jesus’ return

still from heaven’s POV for our benefit, primarily physical effects but… final three trumpets are pretty intense

John from his vantage point could see source of what is happening, also the effect – source, ministers of God acting from heaven, effect taking place on earth

will only be introduced to final three trumpets this week, but they do not bring good news; in fact, some of strongest language yet

effects of judgment described from unbeliever’s POV – from their perspective, behind-the-scenes activity on spiritual level hidden

B. parallel

plagues of Egypt

both judgments and signs – just punishment for rebellious idolaters, signs of true God’s sovereign authority over all things

same is true of every plague described in Revelation – just judgment against evildoers, even more so; God’s truth more widely known and accessible now than then

not only endured by Egyptians

think of plagues where God “made fools of the Egyptians” (Ex. 10:2, NET) and Hebrews were sitting in bleachers watching

not so: explicit references to God distinguishing between Egyptians and Hebrews for five of ten plagues; seems other five (water to blood, frogs, gnats, boils, locusts) endured by both, likely to lesser degree by Hebrews

God does not always spare His children the effects of judgment. But He does always look over them with His special providence.” Ligon Duncan

btw, now not the first time have been significant things going on with the weather! locally and globally

both Bible and geological/archaeological record bear that out – Noah’s Flood; little ice age (14th century); Krakatoa, 1883, killed 34,000

acknowledged in commerce and jurisprudence: “act of God: a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent such as an earthquake, a tidal wave, a volcanic eruption, or a tornado. Acts of God are significant for …the havoc and damage they wreak,” The People’s Law Dictionary

led up to deliverance of God’s people

practical purpose – release people from status of slaves living on rented land, resettle in own territory with right to self-govern

spiritual significance – Moses not requesting permission for one-time pilgrimage, then return home; had in view life of worship, not single act

Exodus served as type and shadow of a still future event – seals and trumpets and bowls lead up to deliverance of God’s people from life in sin-corrupted bodies and world to sinless eternity in God’s presence

C. purpose

demonstrate God’s power – Ex. 9:13-16

for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

God systematically showed his superiority and authority over all gods worshiped by Egyptians; see the same in trumpet judgments

remember what Humanists claim: “conquered the planet”, “control our environment” – God will show his power over land, sea, fresh water and sky

also the things that depend on them – agriculture, fisheries, transportation… huge economic cost; then the cost in lives from destroyed and contaminated food supply

will do so in such a way the only rational conclusion is that God did it – God rules, God wins, God will be glorified even if grudgingly

bring people to repentance

warning trend – succeeding events more catastrophic – see hints of that after 8th plague Ex.10:7Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?”

pain of particular plague/judgment – Pharaoh could overlook everything up to loss of his son; personal pain brought change of heart, albeit temporary

impact future generations

Ex. 10:1-2that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”

because of what God has done in past, what He warns about future, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to tell them

God has in view convincing His people, revealing Himself as Lord to the Egyptians, and showing Himself as Lord to the nations.” Ligon Duncan

D. promise

scene just described – trumpets in part God’s answer to prayer

given another vivid description of God responding to cries of his people, will be repeated during bowl judgments later on

when we pray and God answers: our confidence in God is strengthened, others see and feel his power, some brought to faith

opening exhortation – do not be afraid

Rev. 1:17-18And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

God’s witness protection program – Rev. 7:14; Acts 1:8

we can count on power of Holy Spirit to make us effective witnesses, can depend on same power that brings judgment to carry us safely thru tribulation

E. potential

where people do look in times of hardship, disaster

expect science and human reasoning to supply cause, maybe even take blame, usually to provide solution

earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods called “acts of God” but in minds of most the god is Mother Nature

climate change must be result of industrial activity, power generation, transportation – iow, mankind’s fault, esp. rich nations

where people should look

according to God’s Word the Bible, God is absolutely sovereign over all things – if he is one who brings calamity, is one who also has solution (Isa. 45:7)

wide-open doors of opportunity

whenever subject of weird weather, natural disasters, wildfires come up – is opportunity to direct focus to God

let’s say God sent this (calamity), what might his purpose be… for his church, for the world

Take heart, do not be afraid, God is clearly directing all things to his appointed conclusion. His people, Christ’s church are completely secure in his keeping – nothing can “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Go confidently, bearing Gospel truth in a spiritually dark world, assured that God intends to use us as his instruments. Wear Christ’s name boldly and unashamedly, trust him to use his truth to set others free as he has you.

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