Posted in encouragement, theology

Good fruit (Not what you think)

By Elizabeth Prata

I was cutting up a nectarine that had been sitting in my fruit bowl for many days. “Surely it will be ripe by now” I thought.

I began chopping it into chunks to add to my oatmeal, and it was still hard and unripe. Gah! Other times when I think the piece of fruit is ripe, it’s dried out and mummy-like inside.

It’s not that I can’t tell when a piece of fruit is ripe, I can. It’s that the declining quality of the fruits makes it hard to determine if this one is juicy or this one is always going to remain a rock. Lately at the grocery store, choosing fruit has been like Fruit Roulette.

I remember my friend and I driving in the Tuscan countryside (yes, really) and we got behind a small tractor pulling a trailer of artichokes. The road was bumpy and occasionally an artichoke tumbled out and bounced on the pavement in front of us. We laughed and started saying, ‘Did you think I fell off the artichoke truck yesterday?’ changing the idiom from ‘the turnip truck’.

Here he is after turning down the driveway to a farm:

tuscan artichoke wagon.jpg

In New England, where I used to live, fall meant apples, cider, vivid foliage,and pumpkins. I lived near a pumpkin farm. Imagine pulling up pounds and pounds and tons of pumpkins and loading each one onto the wagon. Oof, hard labor for sure. Here’s the wagon, so colorfully enticing for buyers looking for a pumpkin to make that perfect jack-o-lantern-

pumpkins.jpg

I live in a farming community now and the farmer’s markets are filled with abundance, like this watermelon farmer’s truck.

watermelon

I think of the passages that promise abundance during the 1000 reign of Christ.

Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:4)

In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.¬† (Zechariah 3:10)

If the earth is so beautiful now, (under its curse), and there is abundance rising from it (with toil and sweat, yes), then how beautiful will the coming kingdom be? How will it feel to sit in the sun and have a conversation with a beloved member of the redeemed body, and not worry about where your pickpockets and thieves? Not fear assault? No mass shootings?

What will these figs and their foods taste like? Heavenly, literally. My fruit on the plate will be ripe, beautiful, perfect. No more disappointments cutting into a piece of fruit only to find it withered or hard or juiceless.

I know we praise Jesus for the big things, like redemption, grace, propitiation, etc. But I also look forward to the peace and tranquility the coming kingdom will afford His people, and its fruits.

 

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan: Isaiah’s seven time hotter sun*

In the Tribulation, agriculture will wither under a scorching sun.

Dorothea Lange, Abandoned farm north of Dalhart, TX. 1938.

At the end of the end days, during the Tribulation where all men living on the earth will be judged in wrath, there will be three sets of successively worsening judgments (or four sets, if the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10:1-4 are judgments).

There will first be the 7 Seal Judgments of Revelation 6, they open the Tribulation. Then the wrath of God is demonstrated through 7 Trumpet Judgments of Revelation 8-9. These are terrible judgments, but by God’s grace, some repent through them. After that there are the 7 Bowl Judgments. Revelation 15 opens with the 7 Bowl Judgments.

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. (Revelation 15:1).

These are the most terrible of all. They are so bad that no one is even allowed in the heavenly throne room sanctuary until they are concluded.

And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 8and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. (Revelation 16:7-8)

One of the Bowl judgments God pours on the people of the earth the plague of a hot sun. By this point in the Tribulation, no one is repenting. They know that God is sending His wrath onto the world, but they shake their fist at Him and refuse to repent. By this time, battle lines have been set in eternal stone. In Revelation 13 people either took the mark of the beast and thereby signaling their worship of satan, sealing their doom, (Revelation 14:9-10), or they refused the mark, thereby signaling their worship of the Lamb who lives forever, sealing most to their martyrdom.

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9).

God makes the sun hotter, so hot that men will be on fire if they are exposed to it. God is powerful and controls the sun!

Let us look to a happier time, the Millennial Kingdom. God’s Prophets had much to say about this period in earth’s history, also. The Kingdom will be set up on earth after the Tribulation is over, and the Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints have been resurrected. Those who refused the mark of the beast and lived will populate this kingdom, too. Because they are mortal, they’ll re-populate the earth. It is at this time the resurrected Old Testament saints whom Jesus promised land and an earthly kingdom with Him (the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Messiah) on the throne, will have all their promises fulfilled. This is Israel’s gift.

In Isaiah 30:23-25 we read that during this time of the Millennium Kingdom,

And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

John MacArthur says of this time:

In the Messianic Kingdom of that future day, agriculture, cattle raising, food production, and water resources will prosper. The prophet predicted the redemption of nature. (cf. Rom 8:19-21)

In Isaiah 30:26 we read of further blessings:

Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

The light of the sun will be seven times hotter?

MacArthur again:

The benefits from the natural bodies of light will be much greater. Increase of the intensity of their light will work to people’s advantage, not to their detriment as in Revelation 16:8-9.

In the Millennial Kingdom, a gentle, bright sun seven times
warmer will flourish the earth’s crops

When we read that God is sovereign overall creation, He is sovereign. He created the sun. As the Potter, He can make it do what He wills. During the Tribulation, it will be a mechanism for judgment, scorching men, who curse it. In the Millennium, the sun will be a mechanism for prosperity, and men will bless their Creator for giving them plenteous sunshine, healthful, glowing, and beautiful.

We groan, and cannot wait for redemption of our mortal bodies into glorified vessels worthy of seeing our Holy God. The creation groans too. When the creation is redeemed, it will rejoice also.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21).

This is how the creation will be set free. The sun will shine upon peaceable kingdom, over a flourishing agriculture, making men and crops thrive. Our Creator is majestic in power and sovereign over creation. He is to be worshiped, loved, praised. Our Jesus who was with God at the creation and who sustains all creation and without whom nothing was made that was made, is our hope. He is the hope of all creation. Our eternal Hope, who reigns forever.

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Further Reading

The Glorious Return of Jesus Christ, part 1

Devotion: Three reassuring Signs 

*This post first appeared on The End Time in June 2015