Tuesday, March 8, 2011

REVELATION'S STRUCTURE--THE SEQUENCE OF GOD'S WRATH

Previously, I stated that the SEAL JUDGMENTS bring forth the TRUMPETS, and the TRUMPET JUDGMENTS bring forth the BOWLS (of God’s COMPLETED WRATH).  You can SEE this as a FACT in the book of Revelation, IF you’ll READ the scripture CAREFULLY.

Allow me to try to explain.  The Revelation is VERY COMPLEX, but I’ll do my best to GUIDE you on a quick journey through its amazing prophecies.

The SEVEN TRUMPETS emerge from the OPENING of the SEVENTH SEAL.

When the 7th SEAL is OPENED, there’s a SILENCE in heaven, and we SEE the SEVEN ANGELS who STAND with their TRUMPETS READY.  (Revelation 8:1-2.)  These angels WAIT for a scene of smoke--and the censer--to be finished.  THEN they BLOW the TRUMPETS, one by one.  Clearly, the 7th SEAL brings an AWESOME SILENCE--and the TRUMPETS.

[Now, let’s backtrack for a moment.  Allow me to EXPLAIN THIS:  In Revelation chapter 7, BEFORE the SEVERITY of the TRUMPET JUDGMENTS actually transpire, the prophecy BACKTRACKS to FILL IN a few DETAILS.]

(1.)  The 144,000 SEALED SERVANTS of ISRAEL are described--SEALED just BEFORE the TRIBULATION begins--(Yes, BEFORE the TRIBULATION begins!  How could it be otherwise?  God will ALWAYS have a TESTIMONY within His people on earth, no matter what DISPENSATION--or God’s manner of ADMINISTRATION--is present.)

(2.)  Chapter 7 goes on to PROPHESY and FORETELL of a GREAT MULTITUDE who will “come out of” GREAT TRIBULATION--the LAST HALF of the SEVENTIETH WEEK. (Defined in Matthew 24:21-22).  The GREAT MULTITUDE are the RESULTING FRUIT (people who are SAVED by the preaching) of the sealed 144,000 servants of Israel!  This prophecy PICTURES those who are REDEEMED and MARTYRED during the ENTIRE TRIBULATION.

ALL of the ACTIVITY of the ANGELS who HOLD the SEVEN TRUMPETS at God’s throne--OCCURS as A RESULT of OPENING the 7th SEAL!  Underneath the SEVENTH SEAL lies ALL the REMAINDER of God’s JUDGMENTS--those revealed by the TRUMPETS, and LATER, by the BOWLS.

[Read Revelation 8:1-6-- and follow the ACTIONS that occur as a RESULT of the 7th SEAL being OPENED.  With foreknowledge of the INCREASED SEVERITY of the JUDGMENTS, it’s no wonder ALL of heaven grew SILENT--producing A SENSE OF AWESOME MAGNITUDE, much like what’s felt in A CALM BEFORE THE STORM.]

Have you studied this scripture?  Do you SEE how the OPENING of the 7th SEAL brings THE TRUMPETS into ACTION?

The BOWLS OF GOD’S WRATH are revealed as the RESULT of BLOWING the 7th TRUMPET.  We tend to NOT NOTICE this FACT, because the Revelation covers so many OTHER DETAILS from chapter 11 through chapter 16.  With the PREPARATION of the SEVEN BOWLS, there’s a GREAT AMOUNT of ACTIVITY which happens IN HEAVEN.

[We need to REMEMBER a TRUTH about the book of Revelation.  Not ALL of the book is CHRONOLOGICAL.  At times, the prophecy BACKTRACKS to FILL IN additional details.  At other times, it SKIPS AHEAD to the VERY END, giving us a PREVIEW of what will TRANSPIRE when Jesus RETURNS at Armageddon to set up His Kingdom.  Other chapters fill in details about Israel, the Antichrist government, and the Tribulation saints.  We must STUDY and PAY ATTENTION, rather than CASUALLY READ--in order to FOLLOW where the PROPHECY takes us.  YES, the SEALS, TRUMPETS and BOWLS are THE ONE example of a TRUE CHRONOLOGY within the book.  But, we must DIG DEEPER to see it.]

When the 7th TRUMPET is blown, an ANNOUNCEMENT is made ABOUT the Kingdom of Christ, ABOUT how ALL the nations on earth are angry, and ABOUT the WRATH OF GOD--which is YET to come.  (HERE, we understand that the WRATH of God, which is YET to come, MUST be the BOWLS, because ONLY THEY are YET to happen.)

After the ANNOUNCEMENT, it’s like the Holy Spirit says, “Hey! Wait a minute! I MUST explain many other PERTINENT facts, BEFORE I allow those BOWLS to be poured.”

And the Holy Spirit continues, “THIS is what’s HAPPENING on the earth--which INDEED DESERVES the COMPLETION of God’s WRATH.”  With these ADDITIONAL EXPLANATIONS (like the Antichrist government and THE ATTEMPT to kill off all of Israel), we TOTALLY understand WHY God’s FULL anger MUST COME at this time.

The 7th TRUMPET, which INTRODUCES the LAST PART of God’s WRATH, is blown in Revelation 11.  Chapter 12 describes the HISTORY of Israel, and HOW they EXIST and SURVIVE in their “time of Jacob’s trouble.”  Chapter 13 details the “Antichrist” and his world government, plus “Antichrist’s sidekick,” the “false prophet,” leader of the One World Religion.

Chapter 14 previews/foretells the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  (Jesus stands on MOUNT ZION in Jerusalem at the END of the TRIBULATION with His 144,000 sealed servants from Israel.)  Chapter 14 also FORETELLS the JUDGMENT which will come upon Babylon (more fully developed in Revelation 17 and 18).  Chapter 14 further describes a SICKLE being GIVEN to JESUS--with which He JUDGES the world!

Chapter 15:1 finally gets around to mentioning the SEVEN BOWLS of God’s WRATH, in which God’s JUDGMENTS are FILLED UP and MADE COMPLETE.  (I’ve already taught this SUBJECT in a previous blog:  "When Does God's Wrath Start?")

BUT AGAIN--(after showing the SEVEN BOWLS in Rev. 15:1)--the Holy Spirit says, “WAIT A MINUTE!”  He PRESENTS us with another IMPORTANT DETAIL in the remainder of chapter 15.

We’re SHOWN another picture of TRIBULATION SAINTS in heaven, who WORSHIP God--and offer up a song, because the WICKED “Antichrist system” is to be JUDGED at THIS time (by the SEVEN BOWLS of God’s WRATH and FURY).  Again, these people are those who are SAVED by the WITNESS of the 144,000 sealed servants of Israel.

These “Tribulation saints” STAND on a sea of glass MINGLED with FIRE (which shows they LIVED and DIED during the tribulation’s JUDGMENT--“fire” representing judgment).  They ENTERED HEAVEN through MARTYRDOM--by the WICKED HAND of the BEAST GOVERNMENT.  They “sing the SONG OF MOSES” which shows they are IN HEAVEN because of an ISRAELI-JEWISH testimony.

These people declare that the WORKS of God are MARVELOUS and GREAT (right and appropriate).  They add that the JUDGMENTS of God are MADE MANIFEST (they're being shown).  Plus, His WRATH is FULL, COMPLETE and PRESENT at THIS POINT, as recorded in CHAPTER 15, verse one.

(The PICTURE given here--parallels other scriptures where we see God’s RECOMPENSE [as He REPAYS the ENEMIES with VENGEANCE].  God’s RECOMPENSE will NOW be COMPLETED in the BOWLS--bringing about the FINAL [full strength] BIRTHPANGS [labor contractions], which gives BIRTH to the KINGDOM of JESUS upon the earth.)

After ALL this ADDITIONAL DETAIL, it’s DIFFICULT to CLEARLY SEE that the BOWL JUDGMENTS emerge from the BLOWING of the 7th TRUMPET.  But I CHALLENGE YOU--backtrack and SKIP OVER the verses of ADDITIONAL DETAIL. Remain FOCUSED upon THE ACTIVITY SURROUNDING GOD’S THRONE and THE HEAVENLY TEMPLE, and you WILL SEE that the BOWLS indeed EMERGE FROM the activity REVEALED in the 7th TRUMPET--as the BOWLS are prepared in heaven!

[To help you with this homework, I offer a LIST of the verses which SHOW the ACTIONS in heaven AFTER the BLOWING of the SEVENTH TRUMPET.]

Read Revelation 11:15-19 (where we see WRATH ANNOUNCED--which MUST BE the BOWLS, because it’s the ONLY JUDGMENT LEFT at that point).

Read Revelation 15:1 and Revelation 15:5-8, which COMPLETES the HEAVENLY PREPARATIONS for the POURING OUT OF THE BOWLS.

NOW, read Revelation 16, where the BOWLS are finally POURED.

Those BOWLS emerge from WITHIN all that ACTION we SEE in heaven--which has ITS START with the BLOWING of the 7th TRUMPET!  Therefore, the 7th TRUMPET releases the BOWLS.

The progression of GOD’S WRATH is this--the SEALS release the TRUMPETS, and the TRUMPETS bring forth the BOWLS.  ALL are God’s WRATH, but each JUDGMENT, as they PROCEED, increases in INTENSITY, just like the LABOR PAINS of a woman in CHILDBIRTH, which Jesus explained in Matthew 24.  ALL these JUDGMENTS BEGIN--and PROCEED from the very BEGINNING, when Jesus OPENS the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 6.  ALL the JUDGMENTS lay underneath the SEVENTH SEAL and WITHIN the confines of the SCROLL itself.

Before I close today’s blog, I’ll ADD this FACT about the book of Revelation:  From the END of Revelation 3 (which COMPLETES the prophecy of the CHURCH AGE) until Revelation 22:16, THE CHURCH is NOT mentioned AGAIN (in Revelation’s PROPHECY)--as being UPON EARTH.  Why?  It’s BECAUSE the CHURCH was RAPTURED (in the TYPE given) in Revelation 4:1-2.

WHY is the Church NOT in the TRIBULATION?

Because God’s FOCUS upon THE EARTH has RETURNED to ISRAEL--as they UNDERGO the EVENTS LEFT TO THEM in their SEVENTIETH WEEK--as we saw in Daniel 9:24-27.

In Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13, Jesus HIMSELF explained the EVENTS of the TRIBULATION as He SPOKE to His JEWISH disciples who ASKED a QUESTION about His Second Coming, the Jewish Temple and the ARRIVAL of His KINGDOM (in the MILLENNIUM).  Again, the BULK of the DISCUSSION is FOCUSED upon THE JEWS at THE TIME of the Jesus’ Second Coming--and the EVENTS which MUST PRECEDE Him SETTING His FEET upon the Mount of Olives.

In the next note, I’ll BEGIN to answer the QUESTION--“WHO performs the WRATH of God?”  I’ll start to LAY A FOUNDATION as to WHY the Church CANNOT be in the Tribulation!

Have a glorious day in Jesus!

He’s our Savior and Lord, whose BLOOD has purchased OUR SOULS--and CLEANSED us from ALL unrighteousness!  NOT of our own works, in which we MIGHT boast, but by the GRACE of God ALONE!  Let’s be CONFIDENT, resting in that truth!

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS. WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE.

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