Why is one third highlighted so much in Revelation 8 and other places? What’s the meaning or message?
That is a great question... one that we could probably go in a million different ways, if we attempt to over spiritualize what He has given us.
Just a couple thoughts that I lean toward...
1. God often relates to us in 3’s, (for which we often see the enemy mimic).
2. I think more than anything it is helping us see the personal influence of God over ever dynamic and detail that we’re reading about. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens without His permission and precise touch and limit placed upon it. Even the catastrophic events of the apocalyptic times, that will overwhelm and overtake the planet and people, will be curated by God. And the emphasis of a third is speaking to His unequaled sovereignty over all His creation, right up the the last detail and precision.
In January 2017 there were 52,183 licensed and registered merchant ships worldwide.
Imagine a third would 17,220 ships destroyed
We find through the Scriptures that God is the God of details. But even more than that, God is a God of clear details. This is an obvious conclusion, as we recall Israel’s journey out of Egypt and through the Exodus. The intimate details and His involvement in the everyday hum hoe of personal, civil and cultural life of His servants is super clear. And because He's a God of details, He's also a God of clear directions. One of my favorite thoughts is how He kept the dogs from barking the night the death angle came through Egypt and took only the first born of Egypt. The wailing that night had to be horrific but God stayed the dogs from open their mouths as a sign to His people. Think about that? Glory... if He can, and He can, stay the dogs of Israel from barking, during the worst night of misery and mourning and great wailing that Egypt has ever experienced with all the first born dying, He can open doors and change hearts with a simple command. It’s in the nature of a dog to bark at night with most any kind of sound... much less an outpouring of despair. But only God can alter what is natural... for a sign and a wonder for His own!!!! Glory...
As it will be with the Antichrist, the false prophet and lawlessness... that Paul talked about in 2 Thessalonians and that Revelation 13 speaks about.
So then... Who or what’s holding back or keeping lawlessness and the lawless one back? God is keeping it back! And He’ll do so, in His timing and by His orders, until the Antichrist arises out of the midst of the sea (Revelation 13).
Satan nor his Antichrist are in control of these things:
“...all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (the beast/the antichrist/ worldwide secular ruler), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:8-10)
And nothing ever happens accidentally nor on an inaccurate time frame with God. Even the mighty instruments of wrath and judgment and destruction are limited and restricted to His word and will
God is in control... even in an out of control world. I’m reminded of Revelation 9:2 “so the four angels, who had been prepared FOR the hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind” (Revelation 9:15).
I love that thought: they were prepared, bound and released for the year, month, day and hour. Not one minute late... why? The God of clear details and directions prepared them for that time.
And... “Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed” (Revelation 6:11).
Both of these messages reveal the fact that God knows precisely and specifically when and how and what He’s doing and what’s yet to come for those on earth and heaven. Everything and everyone serves His purpose, whether they know it or not.
This would be my take away... during the most catastrophic time in human history, when a world out of control, nothing is ever out of His control.
He is trustworthy and will work out all the details. We wait and trust and rest and obey and honor and worship and wait and trust and rest and honor...
Faith, on the other hand, is more about following what's been given (His directions) and [it] doesn't need to know all the details to trust and follow Him. Faith believes Him... therefore, [it] trust what He gives and NOT what He doesn't reveal.
For an example... faith doesn't need to know what the Master is going to serve at His table. [It] trust the Master knows the details of how everything will come together and [it] delightfully answers the Master's invitation to the banquet with a simple and satisfying, "YES!"
Faith is honored with the invitation and only needs simple directions but it never demands all the details before it says yes.
Abraham went out not knowing where he was going, never demanding to know all the details before it said yes!
That should be obvious as we continue our journey through Revelation.
Faith repentance is the result of a mind and heart that has been overtaken, and now occupied, by the light of truth, that changes how we see.
Faith sees and agrees and acts on what God sees. [It] doesn't see ALL that He sees, but ENOUGH of what He sees, to make an extraordinary difference—in how WE see the natural, through the eyes of God. Simply... faith takes God at His word. Faith then is seeing and agreeing and acting on what God determines need to see... that we can be in fellowship with God. Glory...
Couple things faith does.
Faith CLEARS the mind of distractions... and COMPELS the heart to rest in what it sees through the revelation of God.
Faith... therefore, will fight for what it sees.
But a heart occupied by darkness and overtaken by deception can’t see what God sees, therefore, it can reconsider how a person sees life.
Consider this example given to us in Revelation 9.
“The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not of the works of their hands, that they would not worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of bronze, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk. They did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21)
Repentance is the finished product of godly sorrow. Repentance actually means “to think differently afterwards.”
When godly sorrow has worked genuine repentance, there will be three areas in a believer’s life that will been radically altered:
First, their hearts are altered from being a conformer to the agenda of this world to being a transformer.
Why have they been transformed?
Their hearts have been changed to be in agreement with the Lord and are approved for His kingdom work.
When believers repent, their hearts are altered and they are truly different people.
Repentance alters who they are.
Second, their attitudes and aptitudes are altered from being self-centered to being single-minded in their personal pursuit of King Jesus.
When believers repent of sin, their thoughts and what they treasure encounters a supernatural alteration. Repentance alters what they think.
Third, their actions are altered from walking by sight to walking by faith. When believers repent of sin, they place their trust in the promises of God and not in what they physically see and know naturally. Repentance alters how they live.
Don't miss the message, you'll miss out on Him and His beauty before the storm. Once the outpouring of the Lamb's wrath comes... it will be too late for those who missed the outpouring of the Lamb's blood. Those who worship Him in heaven are those who bowed the knee and worshiped Him on earth.