Book Excerpt: Revelation: The Way It Happened

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. –Revelation chapter 6

Cataclysmic events accompany this seal, mimicking the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel. The sun and moon darken, and stars fall from the sky. Isaiah 34:4—All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. See also Mark 13:24–27 and the other synoptic Gospels. Picture your “snow globe” universe shaken until the stars fall like figs, and then the empty dome overhead gets rolled up and put away.

This imagery probably evolved from an ancient hymn to the storm god, Baal, describing his advance into combat:

The heavens roll up like a scroll,

And all their hosts languish

As a vine leaf withers

As the fig droops.

Such images may sound bizarre to us today, but they had grown into common symbolism long before Revelation appeared. They denote the final wrapping up of a nation, such as Babylon (as told by Isaiah) and Egypt (by Ezekiel). In this case, the imagery signifies the end of the Jewish state, which would not be restored again for 1,900 years!

–Revelation: The Way It Happened, 2010, pp. 21, by Lee Harmon

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