'Connect the Dots' for a Clearer Picture of Revelation
- Monday, June 11, 2012
When I go to dinner with my family, one of my favorite things to do with the kids is play "Connect the Dots" on the kids' menu. I love it, because when you connect the dots you begin to see the picture that it forms on the page. Have you ever done that? My wife and I always have fun with it, and it’s another way to play with the kids before I do one of my other favorite things ... eat!
We can play "Connect the Dots" with the Scriptures, as well. As a young man, I remember hearing Josh McDowell state in Evidence that Demands a Verdict: “There are over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled.” This is a great piece of apologetic work and has brought great peace to many believers in providing clear evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.
But can we connect the dots like this from Old Testament to New Testament in other areas? Say, the study of the last days? Are the “last days” discussed in the Old and New Testaments talking about the “last days” of the Old Testament, which is ending with the beginning of the New Testament, or are they talking about the last days of the earth? We can find out by playing the game "Connect the Dots"!
Before we start I encourage you to read a couple Old Testament passages that can help you play the game.
Deuteronomy 28-32 and Leviticus 26 describe the covenant made between God and the Israelites. The Lord promises them as they are about to enter the promised land with Joshua that if they obey the law given to Moses they will receive blessings. If they stray, curses will come upon them. As we see the Old Testament story play out, they receive both blessings and curses. As the Old Testament ends, the prophets are filling up the pages with predictions of coming judgments, statements about the “last days’ and a coming day of reckoning for “this people” because they continued to play the harlot. Ironically, these type of statements also show up in the New Testament as well. Jesus and the apostles speak of the imminent day of the Lord and judgment upon this people (Luke 21:23, 32).
OK. Ready? Let's play Connect the Dots.
Round 1: Connecting Wormwood
Revelation 8:11 says: “The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.” Ever wonder what the significance was of the name, "Wormwood"? I always wondered about this star hitting earth, and who in the future would come up with its name as it approached like Halley's comet to bring about the end of the earth. If we take a few moments to take our eyes off the signs and look back at the Scriptures we will find the answer to this question. Ok, search "Wormwood" online and find all its references in the Bible. (You might try typing "Wormwood" as your key term at www.BibleGateway.com. Use NASB for this round of play.) Beginning with Deuteronomy 29:18 you find the word "wormwood" nine times in the Bible. In almost every case, these verses that describe “wormwood” or “bitterness” are in reference to the Israelites and their unfaithfulness. Look closely at Jeremiah 9:15 and Jeremiah 23:15.
- Jeremiah 9:15: "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink.”
- Jeremiah 23:15: “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood and make them drink poisonous water, for from the prophets of Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land.’”
So Revelation 8:11 describes a star named Wormwood, and eight other passages from the Old Testament provide some insight into what it might mean. We know that in our search all but one reference is specifically directed at Old Covenant Israel, and it involves God’s anger over their unfaithfulness to Him. We know that “wormwood” is used initially in Deuteronomy 29:18 when God is giving the covenant stipulations to Moses: so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.
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