Those prophets of old had it tough! They have got very special places in the Kingdom!
3:1-2 "Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones. Again, I find it curious that I never noticed how much the religious experts and leaders were the ones causing the problems. Being in ministry is truly a very sobering and dangerous calling, especially in light of traditions of men and potential for corruption.
4:1-7 It wouldn't be a prophet without a look into the MK! It's way more inspiring in NAS.
4:5 Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever. This almost sounds like other nations will be able to still choose idols and other gods during the MK. I suppose it makes sense in light of there being mortals, but I guess I assumed everyone would know and worship the Lord. There are two verses in Isaiah 11:9 and Hab. 2:14 that says, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." But again, I guess you can't expect mortals not to choose idols since they are "bound up in disobedience." They will have the knowledge of God but perhaps will still find themselves gravitating toward idols, even with Satan bound.
4:6-7 "In that day," declares the LORD, "I will assemble the lame and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant and the outcasts a strong nation, and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever." Hey, this is how I feel most days on this earth. I did notice the difference from NLT though...in NAS here, God takes responsibility for afflicting His remnant (refining them to prepare them as kings and priests). This is completely left out of NLT.
6:6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine." I wondered what this meant, not to damage the "oil and the wine."
Stephen Jones writes that oil is for healing, while wine is for cleansing. I did a Google search of Messianic symbol interpretations and this is the first one that came up, conferring with what SJ said: Oil is symbolic of healing. When the Good Samaritan helped the man who had been mugged by robbers of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he poured oil and wine on his wounds. In the New Testament, anointing of the sick accompanied by prayer for healing by local church elders is recommended when requested by a sick person (James 5: 14-15). Anointing with oil was also part of the apostles' healing ministry (Mark 6:12-13). The word for "anoint" is MASEIAH, and the Messiah is therefore "The Anointed One." Oil is therefore associated with God's gift and God's outpouring of the Spirit.
So here we see that possibly the angel was being instructed to maintain the healing and cleansing properties of judgment. Not sure about this. I don't know why it's only with famine and not the other judgments.
6:11 And there was given to each of them [souls of the martyrs] a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer... This seems like good evidence that the departed souls from earth are not truly in a conscious state yet, but they cry out from "under the altar" for God's righteous judgments and then are told to "rest a little longer." These seals do not appear to be in any chronological order, but are more types of seals. Obviously, since the days of Christ, there have been martyrs through all centuries.
6:12-14 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
I am no expert on Revelation prophecy, but remember that this book is entirely symbolic. That means that just about everything is a type or symbol of something else, which can make it hard to decipher. This year we've been learning about some of the symbols described here. The sun becoming black as sackcloth and the moon becoming like blood I believe are symbols for eclipses. Stars falling to the earth can mean a lot of things-angels being thrown down to earth for one. Mountains and islands moved out of their places could be symbolic for powers and rulers being removed. There is a lot of unusual eclipse activity, both solar and lunar, going on between 2008 and 2015, many if not all coinciding with the Jewish calendar! So again, try not to read this too literally but use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Go back to the OT and see if you can "crack the code."
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