My older brother has always been a car guy. He would buy a model he wanted and often pick up one or two others of the same model so that he had spare parts to keep the original in good repair. Very smart guy! On one early car, he saved up money to get a nice paint-job that he liked: paint infused with metallic glitter. It was certainly a very nice looking car after that paint was applied.
Of course, it is not surprising that a car which is put to its intended use, driven about in rain and sunshine, traveling the odd back-road or two, would get dirty. Well, positively filthy, truth be told. To restore all the time and money put into car to begin with, to display again the beautiful paint-job that made the car so desirable, it needed to be washed and waxed.
Although an owner can wash their own car, it is common for a car to be taken to a business called a "car wash", which is a rather interesting and exciting experience that always thrilled me as a child. The best car washes are the ones where you drive through the cleaning process while still inside the car and become an integral part of the experience!
A proper car wash is a multi-phase affair through which each car moves. My favorite car washes will have a lit-up sign to tell those in the car which phase you are currently passing through on the path from dirty to cleaned and waxed beauty.
I find that, in my own strange way, I view some of the apocalyptic descriptions in John's vision at Patmos like a trip through a car wash. The earth and its inhabitants go into the process "dirty" and a cleaned earth and somewhat fewer but more acceptable inhabitants come out the far end in a state much more fitting to the promised and anticipated return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The scriptures describe seven angels that blow on trumpets to herald seven distinct phases or events that cleanse the earth. These events either kill or torment many people, but notably few seem to use these catastrophic events to choose to change their wicked ways. In the past, these sorts of events were used by God to persuade people to believe in him and alter their behavior toward obedience. It seems in this wrapping-up scene of the earth, events don't lead predominantly to repentance, just a removal of disobedient people.
In a car wash, there is just a multi-step cleaning. There is no turning away from the process as the car is caught on railed tracks - it is an unstoppable chain of events from which dirtiness is eliminated. One sees two particles: a metallic flake in the car's paint that is desirable and shined up for presentation to the owner; and dirt that is forcibly and unpleasantly scrubbed off the car and sent to disposal, never to be considered again. The first adds value to the car, the other reduces value in the eyes of the owner and is eliminated.
The Revelation of John, in the context of the scripture linked above, gives us a "lit-up sign" tour of the cleansing of the earth and everything on it, especially its inhabitants. Trumpets herald each phase of the "wash" and provide death and suffering percentages at several points. A number of people seem to survive the plagues and "woes" of these periods but these survivors give the impression of being a credit to the world, adding to the luster of the earth as it is presented for inspection to the Lord.
Descriptions seem to indicate that the "car wash" of the cleansing of the Earth will not give opportunity to redeem people. Like a "death-bed" repentance, it looks it is simply too late once these events are put into motion. If you are still "dirty" coming into this, suffering and ignominious death is your fate. Your chance to transform yourself into "metallic glitter" through repentance and changing has passed. You should have mended your ways before the cleansing began, just like dirt won't survive the trip once the car wash begins.
The question is this, are you going into the final times as dirt or as glitter?
The time to decide your future disposition is now. Turn to Christ, follow his path, repent of sins and mistakes, prepare for the prophesied future. Jesus is kind and loving and protecting of those who commit themselves to him. The scriptures tell story after sad story of those who reject Christ. I implore you to enter the strait and narrow path of discipleship to our Lord and Saviour!