First, I’ll answer the QUESTION in this blog title! (And YES, it's a TRICKY question.) Our HOPE is that ALL those ITEMS (mentioned ABOVE) do indeed contain God’s WRATH!
How can there be HOPE in that? How can there be HOPE in the FACT that the seals, trumpets and bowls are, EVERY ONE OF THEM, God’s WRATH?
Since we, the TRUE CHURCH, obtain SALVATION (a deliverance FROM the WRATH to come), then we can be ASSURED that THE TRUE CHURCH will NEVER experience ANY OF the SEALS, TRUMPETS and BOWLS which bring such colossal calamities (as graphically described in the book of Revelation).
Now--to jump into today’s topic!
I’ve been asking these questions. (1.) “Can the PRE-WRATH interpretation BE TRUE (the idea that the Church will Raptured just PRIOR TO the BOWLS--therefore putting us in THE MIDDLE of MOST of the TRIBULATION)?” (2.) “Or does SCRIPTURE show a DIFFERENT PICTURE?”
I’ve already answered TWO questions (in my previous notes): (1.) “WHEN does the WRATH of God start?” and (2.) “WHY does the WRATH of God fall?”
In this section, I’ll start to show you HOW the WRATH of God PROGRESSES through the book of Revelation. We’ll take A FRESH LOOK at the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL, the TRUMPETS, and the BOWL JUDGMENTS. In a future note, I’ll SUM IT UP by showing you WHO PERFORMS these JUDGMENTS. This SEGUES into WHY the CHURCH cannot be UNDER those JUDGMENTS--BECAUSE of the ONE WHO SENDS THEM! This is POWERFUL stuff, so get READY for an adventure!
I’ll BEGIN by making this DECLARATION--“ALL God’s WRATH and JUDGMENTS are CONTAINED within the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL.”
“WHAT?”--you might ask. “How can the SCROLL contain ALL the JUDGMENTS? I thought Revelation shows a SERIES of THREE.”
“Sure, we KNOW all about the SCROLL,” some people may say, “and it’s really NOT God’s WRATH. WRATH isn’t mentioned until THE SIXTH SEAL.”
“And,” they continue, “it’s the BOWLS which bring the WRATH of God.”
Hand on hip, they may narrow their eyes. “So--HOW can you TELL US that ALL of God’s WRATH is CONTAINED inside the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL?”
In the previous note, I taught, according to PARALLEL Old Testament PROPHECIES (concerning God’s upcoming JUDGMENTS) that the SCROLL with its SEVEN SEALS contain LAMENTATIONS, MOURNINGS and WOE. The unfurled SCROLL (in Zechariah) contains the SAME dimensions as the HOLY OF HOLIES of God’s THRONE. From within that scroll, A CURSE goes FORTH over the world, BECAUSE people REJECTED Jesus, and BECAUSE they broke the TWO TABLETS of God’s TEN COMMANDMENTS. Do you REQUIRE even MORE to be convinced?
Let’s do a summary of the OPENING of the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL from Revelation 6.
The FIRST SEAL reveals the “Antichrist,” who makes a “COVENANT with DEATH” and an “AGREEMENT with HELL,” concerning Israel. Is DEATH and HELL (seen in the “Antichrist”) A RESULT of God’s WRATH upon the Jews, and upon the world? YES! Jesus OPENED the SEAL which BRINGS that ACTION of GOD’S JUDGMENT!
The SECOND SEAL contains the OUTBREAK of WAR. The “Antichrist” will PROMISE PEACE, yet WAR will quickly follow. Does WAR bring LAMENTATIONS and MOURNING? (Observe a flag-draped coffin--hoisted from a cargo hold of a military jet--and then answer that question.)
The THIRD SEAL reveals ECONOMIC UPHEAVAL and FOOD SHORTAGES--FAMINE. Think of the pictures you’ve seen on television--starving souls in places like Africa, homeless people on the streets, beggars dressed in rags and shivering in a winter’s ice storm. Scenes like that will GREATLY INCREASE in the TRIBULATION. Now tell me, is the third seal NOT judgment?
The FOURTH SEAL brings PESTILENCES, the spread of DISEASE and DEATH. At THIS point ONE FOURTH of the world’s POPULATION is DEAD (by our current population tally--2.5 BILLION die by the time of the 4th SEAL--in the FIRST HALF of the TRIBULATION).
Each SEAL uncovers a WORSE calamity, just like the BIRTH PANGS Jesus DESCRIBED, and IN THE SAME ORDER--Matthew 24:4 to 8. “ALL these (SEALS) are the “BEGINNINGS of SORROWS” (FIRST HALF of the TRIBULATION).”
The FIFTH SEAL brings PERSECUTION and MARTYRDOM upon those who WAKE UP and TURN to God in THAT TIME of intense trouble. In the 5th SEAL, we’re made EVEN MORE AWARE of people who DIE VICIOUS deaths during God’s JUDGMENTS--and THIS TIME, it’s because (by the MERCY of God) they’ve turned to Jesus and have His testimony in the midst of that horrific time.
The SIXTH SEAL brings such GREAT SIGHTS and SIGNS in the heavens, along with a TERRIBLY MASSIVE earthquake, that the EYES of the WORLD’S PEOPLE are OPENED. The KINGS and IMPORTANT people HIDE themselves in caves and UNDERGROUND facilities. (The so-called ELITE indeed have underground BUNKERS where they hope they can RIDE THROUGH any profound catastrophe.)
The GREAT SIGHTS and SOUNDS in the heavens (dark sun, red moon, atmosphere rolling back upon itself, multitudes of falling “stars”), COMBINED WITH the earthquake, CONVINCES people on the earth that GOD’S WRATH has indeed arrived. During the OPENING of the FIVE previous SEALS, the world’s inhabitants seem BLIND to the IDEA of God’s WRATH--they apparently do NOT recognize it for WHAT it is.
But at the SIXTH SEAL, they REALIZE IT, and they scream to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the FACE of Him that sits on the throne, and from the WRATH OF THE LAMB: For the GREAT DAY of HIS WRATH is come (is present), and who shall be able to stand?”
What these people declare, as the SIXTH SEAL is OPENED, does NOT mean that the FIRST FIVE SEALS were NOT wrath. It JUST MEANS that AT the SIXTH SEAL, the world’s population RECOGNIZES it, and they DECLARE it.
I maintain that ALL the SEALS of the SCROLL contain God’s WRATH--because this SCROLL is “the CURSE” that goes out over the whole earth, and IN that SCROLL (on both sides of it) are LAMENTATIONS, MOURNINGS and WOE. Doesn’t that sound like WRATH to you?
God’s WRATH BEGINS when the FIRST SEAL is OPENED by Jesus. The WRATH keeps FLOWING OUT as each SEAL is torn loose, and WITH THE SEVENTH SEAL, it FLOWS into the SEVEN TRUMPETS (which grow even more severe). A TRANSITION into the TRUMPETS occurs WHEN the SEVENTH SEAL is OPENED--so that the TRUMPETS emerge from the SEALS. Once that happens, the OUTFLOW of God’s WRATH continues through the SEVEN TRUMPETS. After six of the TRUMPETS are FINISHED, the BOWLS emerge from the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMPET.
Therefore, the SEALS produce the TRUMPETS and the TRUMPETS produce the BOWLS. ALL are contained UNDERNEATH the SEVENTH SEAL. Therefore, ALL of God’s WRATH is CONTAINED within the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL.
Think of an old-fashioned pirate’s spyglass, an instrument with telescoping segments. A second tube pulls out from the first section, and third extension emerges from within the second. All THREE parts were contained INSIDE the first, and when FULLY extended, they offer a more magnified image. So it is with the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL--the EXTENDED ELEMENTS of the TRUMPETS and the BOWLS issue forth from underneath that SEVENTH SEAL. As each group is “pulled out,” God’s JUDGMENTS grow larger and much more intense.
With the ABOVE description, I’ll close this note for today. In the next segment, I’ll CONTINUE this topic, giving you a clearer picture of HOW God’s JUDGMENTS proceed through the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL, into the TRUMPETS, and into the BOWLS, which bring about the COMPLETION of God’s WRATH upon the WORLD of the TRIBULATION. I’ll point out A PROGRESSION that you COULD MISS, if you DO NOT carefully READ the scripture.
As I close today's note, I re-emphasize the TRUTH for the CHURCH in 1 Thessalonians 5:9--"For God has NOT APPOINTED us to WRATH, but to obtain SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ." The SALVATION defined by the CONTEXT of Paul's message to the CHURCH is THIS--to be SAVED from the VERY TIME of the TRIBULATION. We take COMFORT in such BLESSED NEWS!
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice! He gives us the VICTORY. So let us keep our eyes upon Him--DRAWING upon our HOPE OF SALVATION!
EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS. WE’RE SO READY TO DWELL IN YOUR PRESENCE--AT THE THRONE OF GOD!