Another Quote on the Editing Floor

This Sunday we will be addressing Revelation 6:12–17 (ESV) — When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

This week is another perfect example of the fact that I can never say all that I would like to say about any one particular passage. So instead, I must do a massive amount of editing (this week: eighteen pages down to six; maybe seven). Here is the context for a great quote by G.K. Chesterton that I cannot use this week … but it is worth reading.

A bit of context. While creation remains in its current form, the faithfulness of the sun, moon, and stars fulfilling their roles continues to serve as God’s expression of His gracious providence to the whole world (Genesis 8:20-22). Day and night come faithfully because of God’s gracious providence. The seasons come faithfully because of God’s gracious providence. Planting and harvesting come faithfully because of God’s gracious providence. Every year that passes furnishes us with a fresh witness of God’s gracious providence. The sun, moon, and stars were poised in space by the very hand of God Himself. What is more, the faithfulness of their function is owing solely to His gracious providence.

G.K. Chesterton writes about God’s faithfulness in creation in ways that I could only wish to write. Here is the quote that landed on the editing floor, but is worth the read.

“Children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” (G.K. Chesterton)

What a great way to speak of God’s faithfulness. “‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.”

Therefore, in Revelation 6 the apostle John goes to great lengths, using Old Testament apocalyptic references about the cataclysmic upheaval of creation, to show that God’s gracious providence has come to a close at the end of Revelation 6.

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