WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – The Bible begins and ends with stark reminders that God is in absolute control of His universe.
Genesis 1:2 finds the earth in complete physical disarray: “formless” and “empty” and shrouded in “darkness.” Then, one day at a time and through a series of sequential commands, God began to set the earth’s chaotic elements in order: light and air and seas and land and plants and animals and his crowning creation, the human race. He did all this without help or hindrance from any other being.
After all of recorded history, Revelation 6:1 finds the earth in much the same physical condition as when God completed it: “very good indeed” (Gen 1:31). However, mankind was not “very good,” and God’s patience had run out, but not as our patience runs out in emotional outbursts. God’s is a measured patience, and the time of its end was set from the beginning. In fact, there are “four angels who were prepared for the hour, day, month, and year” to carry out specific tasks during the end of His patience (Rev 9:15).
As Genesis 1 records God’s transformation of the planet’s chaos into beauty, Revelation 6-18 describes how He will dismantle the world’s order into ugliness and misery. Chapter 6 and today’s chapter 8 lay out the beginnings of the end of his patience:
- First, one of God’s supernatural agents was given “authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere” (6:4 NLT).
- Another brought such severe famine that “A loaf of wheat bread … will cost a day’s pay” (6:6).
- Then two others “were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals” (6:8).
- Next, “there was a great earthquake … and all of the mountains and islands were moved” (6:12-14).
- After a brief pause, “hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth. One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned” (8:7).
- Then, “something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea… a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed” (8:8-9).
- A “star” fell from the sky, polluting “one-third of the rivers and on the springs of water … and many people died from drinking the bitter water” (8:10-11).
- Chapter 8 closes with God taking much of the light from the earth: “a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened” ( 8:12).
Then the next ten chapters record the progressive calamities that will complete the Lord’s judgments.
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – So what could be “wonderful” about all that? Nothing, if you’re among the majority who continue to align themselves against the all-powerful God of creation. That’s one of the main themes of Revelation: The bad guys – those who persistently reject the good God – lose in the end.
But you’re not one of those, and the final four chapters of Revelation describe the Lord of the universe building a new heaven and a new earth for you. It’s immeasurably superior to all you’ve ever known, and that’s beyond wonderful.