Friday, May 27, 2011

THE CHURCH, ISRAEL, GOD'S WRATH AND JESUS

In this blog, I lump together material previously posted as a series.  This is to place all the information under ONE HEADING, where it can be more easily accessed and compared.  In this treatise, I’ll share scriptures that clearly differentiate between Israel and the Church, who will fall under the WRATH OF GOD and who won’t, and how does Jesus fit into these things? 


A verse that defines this series:  2 Timothy 2:15.  “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”


MIXED MESSAGES ABOUT “APPOINTMENTS”--CHURCH OR ISRAEL?


I want to ADDRESS another form of ANTI-PRE-TRIBULATION “argument”--one which seems to be gaining PRECEDENT, even as the RAPTURE draws EVER CLOSER. The wicked enemy, Satan, is very much aware of the TIMES and SEASONS, and in ANTICIPATION of that UNKNOWN DAY of the RAPTURE, he STEPS UP his attacks AGAINST it.

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH IS DEFINITELY PRE-TRIBULATION

SOMETHING TO NOTE--At the VERY MOMENT I wrote that the RAPTURE is definitely PRE-TRIBULATION, I had THE IDEA that I could INDEED substitute the words PRE-WRATH--and the concept would be still remain THE SAME.  IN MY UNDERSTANDING of prophecy, a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE is indeed one that’s PRE-WRATH of God.  I VIEW the START of God’s WRATH as the time WHEN Jesus TAKES the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 6 and RIPS OFF that very FIRST SEAL.

In my browsing the Internet, however, I’m VERY MUCH AWARE of another definition of PRE-WRATH--and I’m AWARE, also, of how FALSE this idea is. People who ADHERE to a “PRE-WRATH” position say that THE WRATH of God does NOT BEGIN until the POURING OUT of the SEVEN BOWLS in Revelation 16. Therefore, these people emphatically declare, the CHURCH must be on earth during the TRIBULATION PERIOD until just BEFORE the POURING OUT of the SEVEN BOWLS of God’s WRATH.

ARE THEY CORRECT? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

In this post, I’ll BEGIN to lay out A PROPER UNDERSTANDING of some ISSUES and ELEMENTS that the PRE-WRATH supporters IGNORE. (I feel these people pick up MODERN BOOKS about the END TIMES and believe EVERY WORD they find WRITTEN THEREIN. If these people FULLY UNDERSTOOD the Bible, they’d QUICKLY discover many HOLES in the PRE-WRATH position.)

ONE OF THE KEY MIX-UPS IS THIS: They IGNORE God’s APPOINTMENTS concerning Israel. They mix THE CHURCH into a TIME which is APPOINTED to Israel. Because of this, much confusion ensues.

What do we see about APPOINTMENTS in the Bible?

(1.) The CHURCH is NOT APPOINTED to WRATH. 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

(2.) The ANTICHRIST will be REVEALED in his OWN APPOINTED time, which is AFTER “the Restrainer” is REMOVED--“AND THEN shall that WICKED be revealed.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

(3.) A prophecy is DETERMINED upon Israel EXCLUSIVELY, which is their APPOINTMENT-- “SEVENTY WEEKS are DETERMINED upon your people and upon your Holy City.”

I state these TRUTHS right up front, and will RETURN to discuss them, one at a time, and NOT NECESSARILY in the order I listed them. I’ll begin with Israel.

Much of the CONFUSION ABOUT end time prophecy comes as A RESULT of people MIXING the CHURCH into ISRAEL’S APPOINTMENT. I’ll use an example to illustrate THE ABSURDITY of this.

Say you needed to see a doctor, and as you arrive, another person shows up at the very same time. The doctor sees each one of you individually and PRESCRIBES the MEDICINE which is pertinent to each of the complaints. You have a slight infection. The other person has pneumonia and needs to be hospitalized. The doctor gave you an ointment for the infection and said it was all you needed. BUT YOU DON’T BELIEVE HIM. You INSIST that you must be hospitalized and receive the VERY SAME treatment as the one with pneumonia. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE, DOES IT?

The same ANALOGY can be applied to THE CHURCH and to ISRAEL. Each have PROMISES and APPOINTMENTS from God, but they ARE NOT THE SAME!

When Israel was driven from their Holy Land by the Romans in 135 A.D., the RESULT was that WITHOUT ISRAEL in their land, THE RETURN of Jesus could NO LONGER happen as prophesied.

Years went by, and the CHURCH “lost” their sense of IMMINENCY, which is so CRITICAL to the PROPER UNDERSTANDING of the Lord’s return. In order TO EXPLAIN the prophecies, THE CHURCH began to APPLY new INTERPRETATIONS to the LITERAL word of God. They said the book of Revelation was an ALLEGORY--just a METAPHOR about the TRIUMPH of good over evil. They said that THE CHURCH itself would bring about a THOUSAND YEARS of peace and righteousness, after which, Jesus would be happy to return with holiness, praising THE CHURCH for its VICTORY. They said Israel was NO LONGER PERTINENT because it was OBVIOUS that God had abandoned them.

Such blatantly FALSE TEACHINGS still exist in THE CHURCH today. They SURVIVE in DENOMINATIONS which REFUSE to CHANGE their TRADITIONS. They’re REPEATED by NEW GROUPS of “Christians” who REHASH the same DOGMAS. Two of these MORE RECENT groups are the KINGDOM NOW and DOMINION movement.

The KEY element in ALL these groups, whether the OLD TRADITIONALISTS or the NEW “KINGDOM NOW,” is the IDEA that THE CHURCH has REPLACED ISRAEL in God’s work on the earth. They believe this DOGMA, even though a REBIRTHED ISRAEL stares them right in the face. (They EXPLAIN AWAY the REBIRTHED Israel by declaring that THE JEWS in Israel are NOT “true Jews,” but instead are IMPOSTERS. Such a belief plays right into the SATANIC HAND of “antisemitism.”)

There’s another group of people who fall into THE CAMP of this DECEPTION. They’re BRITISH-ISRAELISTS who claim that the populations of Great Britain and the United States are the “TEN LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL.”

ALAS!  IN THIS QUAGMIRE OF DECEPTION, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THE TRUTH?

It’s easy. Study God’s Word! God has NEVER abandoned His people, Israel! And THE CHURCH was NEVER meant to be a REPLACEMENT for them! “GOD FORBID!”--as the Apostle Paul would say! (See Romans 11:1 and 2. Also Romans 11:25 to 29. I could type these passages for you, but I HOPE you do your HOMEWORK, and READ them.)

Now, I’ll turn our attention, for a few paragraphs, to the REASONS why God has NOT abandoned His people, Israel. It’s a simple answer, one which every Sunday School student SHOULD know. But unfortunately, many do NOT KNOW these FACTS, or else they CHOOSE to IGNORE them, in the attempt to BOLSTER their OWN INTERPRETATIONS, not allowing God’s Word to INTERPRET ITSELF.

God made EVERLASTING COVENANTS with Israel. He gave PROMISES to Abraham, the FATHER of Israel, and REAFFIRMED those COVENANTS to Isaac, Jacob and David, and to ALL their descendants, for the ages to come, and into forever. When God gives an OATH and a VOW, He is NOT a man who will break His Word!

I’ll offer a summary of GOD’S EVERLASTING COVENANTS to Israel (and please DON’T confuse the EVERLASTING COVENANTS to the CONDITIONAL elements of the MOSIAC LAW--they are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.)

In the MOSAIC LAW, if Israel DISOBEYED, there were CONSEQUENCES.  The DISOBEDIENT people were be cut off and chastised, time and again--suffering captivities within conquering foreign nations, falling prey to famines and pestilences, and even succumbing in death.

THE EVERLASTING COVENANTS are a DIFFERENT MATTER. God BASED those PROMISES upon HIS OWN ETERNAL and GRACIOUS NATURE, NOT upon the FICKLENESS of people. So even if Israel SEVERELY DISOBEYED, and were EVEN SCATTERED from their land for YEARS and many CENTURIES, God’s COVENANTS with them remain INTACT.  This is because GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED when He KEEPS His Word to them.

WHAT’S CONTAINED WITHIN THOSE EVERLASTING COVENANTS?

(1.) God selected a NATION, whose FATHER is Abraham, through which the SAVIOR, Jesus, would be born. God told Abraham that He would make of him a GREAT NATION. That Abraham’s NAME would be GREAT. That Abraham would be a blessing, and through Abraham’s descendants, the whole world will be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3.

(2.) In Genesis 15:18 to 21, God added A PROMISED LAND to His COVENANT with Abraham.  God declared-- “Unto YOUR SEED have I given THIS LAND, from THE RIVER of EGYPT unto the GREAT RIVER EUPHRATES.” (When we study this, and place the BIBLICAL TERRITORIES across a modern map, we discover that God’s plan is to EXTEND Israel’s BOUNDARIES from EGYPT in the south, to IRAQ and SYRIA in the north, and to include the land of JORDAN on the east.  WOW! 

(This is WHY, when the Abomination of Desolation happens [Mid-Trib], Israel can HIDE from the Antichrist in Bozrah, in present day Jordan.  Would Jordan offer them a hiding place now?  NOT if you’ve been listening to the recent words of King Abdullah!  He’s turning anti-Israel.  This means that Jordan’s land must RETURN to the rightful possession of the Jews BEFORE the Abomination of Desolation.  There’s a war scheduled in end time prophecy BEFORE the Tribulation can start--in which Israel will regain territory that rightfully belongs to her!  Psalm 83.  Obadiah 18-21.)

Back to the COVENANTS--

(3.) God keeps adding to His COVENANT with Abraham.  In Genesis 21:12, we see that ISAAC is the son through which the PROMISE will PASS.  In Genesis 25:23, God reveals to Rebekah (Isaac’s wife) that she’s carrying twins, and the younger son, Jacob, is the one through which the COVENANT will pass.  God RENEWS the COVENANT to Jacob (who’s later renamed Israel) in Genesis 28:13-15.  In Genesis 49:10, we find that Jacob’s (Israel’s) son, Judah, will be THE LINEAGE through which Jesus will be born.

(4.) In 2 Samuel 7:9 to l6, we see David added to the COVENANT.  This is a KEY promise.  David’s HOUSE and his KINGDOM shall be established FOREVER.  How? When JESUS SITS on the THRONE OF DAVID to rule and reign in ISRAEL during the MILLENNIUM, and this continues forever and ever--when the NEW heaven and earth are established.

(4.)  God promised the NEW COVENANT to Israel in Jeremiah 31:31 to 34.  (Please read this scripture--it will bless your soul.)  The New Covenant is established through the work of Jesus Christ (and at the present time, we, the true Church partake of the New Covenant).  In the future, as the nation of Israel repents of their sin of rejecting Jesus, they, too, will enter the New Covenant.  What is involved in it?  The Word of God, His Holy law, will be written upon the hearts of His people (showing an indwelling of the Holy Spirit).  All God’s people shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.  The sin of the people will be forgiven, and REMEMBERED NO MORE.

Oh, yes! God’s COVENANTS with ISRAEL play a KEY role in what’s yet TO TRANSPIRE on earth during the TRIBULATION.  Satan and the UNGODLY WORLD seek to PREVENT God from fulfilling His COVENANTS with Israel.  But God’s Word IS TRUE, and WHAT God has DECLARED will INDEED come to pass!

How can we KNOW that God will FULFILL what He’s promised (to give Israel) in those EVERLASTING and UNCONDITIONAL COVENANTS?  What God told the Prophet Jeremiah settles it:

“Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, Who divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of Hosts is His name.  If those ordinances (the sun, moon and sea) depart from before Me, says the Lord, THEN SHALL the seed of Israel ALSO CEASE from being a nation before Me forever.”  Jeremiah 31:35 and 36.

Does the sun still shine?  Are the moon and the stars in their places?  Is the sea still present?  Of course!  So also, Israel REMAINS a people within God’s heart and His plans!  God will NEVER forsake His Everlasting Covenants with them!

Don’t fall prey to the LIE that God has abandoned Israel.  His COVENANTS with that nation are BINDING upon God’s VERY OWN CHARACTER. That character is His GLORY, His TRUTHFULNESS, His IMMUTABILITY--in which He will NEVER CHANGE. God will make SURE His word is FULFILLED.

Yes, Israel REJECTED Jesus as their MESSIAH, and they screamed for His crucifixion, but God’s COVENANTS with Israel remain INTACT.  Yes, Israel SORELY DISOBEYED God, BUT His EVERLASTING COVENANTS with them are NOT BASED upon their obedience or disobedience.  These COVENANTS are UNCONDITIONAL, and ARE BASED upon God’s OWN UNCHANGING CHARACTER.

We see God’s character displayed BEFORE Israel, and the world, in Ezekiel 36.  In that chapter, God describes how He scattered Israel (in their unbelief and rejection of Jesus) among the heathen.  Israel dispersed into EVERY nation in the world as they sought to escape multitudes of persecutions.  In Ezekiel 36:21 to 28, God declares that He’ll gather them again--from among ALL the countries to which they had run.  He will cleanse them, give them a new heart and a new spirit, and they will DWELL in the land that God gave to Abraham.

God says, “I do this NOT for your sakes, O house of Israel, but FOR MY HOLY NAME’S SAKE, which you have profaned among the heathen, whither you went.  And I will sanctify MY GREAT NAME, which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and THE HEATHEN SHALL KNOW that I AM the Lord, says the Lord God, WHEN I SHALL BE SANCTIFIED in you (Israel) before their eyes.”

Yes, Israel was TERRIBLY FICKLE, but God is NOT fickle. God is NOT like men, who are “trucebreakers” and who “ignore solemn vows.”  God is NOT a LIAR that He would withdraw His PROMISES from Israel, and RESCIND His EVERLASTING COVENANTS with them through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.

SATAN is the LIAR.  He’s COVETS God’s throne and has devoted MILLENNIA to achieving that goal.   IF Satan can somehow SHOW everyone on earth, and all the heavenly host, that God is a LIAR and a COVENANT-BREAKER, then he EVILLY BELIEVES he’ll USURP control of the universe.  Ever wonder why, time and again, that Israel faces EXTINCTION?  If the devil can totally WIPE OUT Israel, he can gloat to God that he won!  (Don’t worry.  God will NEVER ALLOW that to happen.)

So WHO are the men, who SAY that God ABANDONED Israel, who DECLARE that the CHURCH has REPLACED that nation?  They’re BADLY IN ERROR, at the best, and PARROT the DEVIL’S LIES, at the worst.

I felt it NECESSARY to teach on ISRAEL’S EVERLASTING COVENANTS, and since it’s a COMPLEX topic, it NECESSITATED a LENGTHY post. I hope you’re encouraged with this look at God’s FAITHFULNESS.  He will NEVER cast away the people that He FOREKNEW!


ARE YOU THE CHURCH OR ISRAEL?


Under the previous heading, I STARTED to develop RESPONSES to a FEW of the FALSE TEACHINGS which proceed from many PROPHECY ILLITERATE CHURCHES. These false teachings FLOOD the INTERNET with CONFUSING opinions. It’s NO WONDER that people, who HEAR the phrase “END TIME PROPHECY,” often reply, “Oh, that! No one really knows. So let’s just drop the subject, shall we?”

I mentioned the PRE-WRATH RAPTURE position which says that the CHURCH will be REMOVED from earth BEFORE the POURING OUT of the SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH in Revelation 16. IF this were a TRUE doctrine, it means the CHURCH must GO THROUGH PART of the TRIBULATION. I EQUATE such an idea to MIXING the CHURCH’S DESTINY into the DESTINY of ISRAEL.

What are Israel’s APPOINTMENTS in END TIME PROPHECY? Can the CHURCH and ISRAEL “both” be in the TIME of the TRIBULATION, which will come “upon ALL the WORLD, to TRY (test) them who DWELL upon the earth?”

(I just QUOTED, above, from a PROMISE to the PHILADELPHIA CHURCH in Revelation 3:10--a promise which says that this TRUE and FAITHFUL CHURCH will be KEPT from the HOUR of that trouble. THAT ANSWER SHOULD SUFFICE! A TRUE and FAITHFUL and “born again” CHURCH will NOT be in the TIME of the TRIBULATION. YET people STILL argue that the CHURCH will BE PRESENT there, right up to the POINT of the WRATH--which (they teach) is DESTINED to come in the BOWL JUDGMENTS--and are described as FILLING up THE WRATH OF GOD--Revelation 15:1.)

[I MUST make NOTE of a DETAIL in Revelation 15:1! If the BOWLS OF WRATH are FILLING up (and completing) the WRATH OF GOD, then they CANNOT be THE BEGINNING of that WRATH!]

THE MAIN QUESTION IS THIS: WHEN does the WRATH OF GOD begin?  I’ll answer that question later.  Right now, I want to SHOW you what’s DETERMINED to come upon the NATION of ISRAEL.

What is THE APPOINTMENT for Israel? Bible prophecy is REPLETE with passages which are YET to be FULFILLED in the NATION OF ISRAEL (and these prophecies are GIVEN to ISRAEL--and NOT to THE CHURCH!).

END TIME WARS center in the Middle East and involve ISRAEL, not THE CHURCH. The BULK of Revelation is ISRAEL’S DESTINY, not THE CHURCH’S. The BULK of the OLIVET DISCOURSE, where Jesus DESCRIBES the EVENTS of His SECOND COMING, are for ISRAEL, and not for THE CHURCH. (In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus answered A QUESTION posed by the disciples which CENTERED upon Israel, the Jewish Temple, and Jesus setting up His Kingdom on the earth. Therefore, Jesus answered in a WAY which AMPLIFIED the SEVENTIETH WEEK of a prophecy given by Daniel.)

Let’s turn to Daniel 9:24 to 27 RIGHT NOW. I’ll point out some facts concerning that prophecy. (I won’t do a TOTAL teaching upon the SEVENTY WEEKS at this time, but I want to SHOW ENOUGH, so that you’re AWARE of ISRAEL’S APPOINTMENT. I’ll quote the WHOLE passage and PULL OUT POINTS from within it.)

“Seventy weeks are DETERMINED upon your PEOPLE and upon your HOLY CITY, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.”

“KNOW therefore and UNDERSTAND, that from the going forth of the commandment to RESTORE and REBUILD Jerusalem unto MESSIAH the PRINCE shall be SEVEN WEEKS, and THREESCORE AND TWO WEEKS: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

“And after THREESCORE AND TWO WEEKS shall MESSIAH be CUT OFF, but NOT for HIMSELF: and the PEOPLE OF THE PRINCE THAT SHALL COME shall DESTROY the CITY and the SANCTUARY; and THE END shall be with a flood, and UNTO THE END OF THE WAR DESOLATIONS ARE DETERMINED.”

“And he shall confirm the COVENANT with MANY for ONE WEEK: and in the MIDST of the WEEK he shall cause THE SACRIFICE and THE OBLATION to cease, and for the OVERSPREADING OF ABOMINATIONS he shall make it DESOLATE, even UNTIL THE CONSUMMATION, and THAT DETERMINED (judgments) shall be POURED upon the DESOLATE.”

WHO is this prophecy given to? It’s DETERMINED upon the PEOPLE of ISRAEL and upon their HOLY CITY, Jerusalem.

WHAT is the TIME-FRAME of this prophecy? A TOTAL of SEVENTY weeks was LEFT to be FULFILLED in “ISRAEL.” (The WEEKS are the HEBREW “shabua”--in which each WEEK is SEVEN YEARS. The TOTAL number of YEARS add up to 490. When Daniel RECEIVED this prophecy, God revealed that Israel had 490 YEARS left to them.)

THIS NEXT QUESTION IS IMPORTANT!

Was THE CHURCH PRESENT on earth WHEN the FIRST 69 WEEKS were fulfilled in Israel?  NO!

The FIRST 69 WEEKS covered THE TIME from the DECREE to REBUILD the CITY of JERUSALEM “until” THE TIME when Jesus was CUT OFF and CRUCIFIED. ISRAEL’S clock STOPPED TICKING when Jesus DIED!

WHEN was THE CHURCH born into the world? FIFTY DAYS after Jesus ROSE from the DEAD. The day was PENTECOST, a full TEN DAYS after Jesus ASCENDED into heaven.

I ASK AGAIN--Was THE CHURCH PRESENT on earth when Israel’s CLOCK was TICKING within their SEVENTY WEEK PROPHECY (DETERMINED upon them)?  NO!

The CHURCH didn’t SHOW UP until AFTER Messiah was CUT OFF, AFTER His resurrection, AFTER His ascension. The CHURCH was NOT PRESENT AT ALL when Israel’s clock WAS TICKING in the FIRST 69 WEEKS of the SEVENTY WEEKS’ PROPHECY.

SO WHAT AM I TRYING TO PROVE? I’ll ask a few more questions.

Will THE CHURCH be PRESENT on earth when ISRAEL’S CLOCK BEGINS TICKING AGAIN, to FULFILL the LAST WEEK of their SEVENTY WEEK prophecy? (I withhold the answer for a moment.)

I ask a SECOND QUESTION--Is God CONSISTENT within His Word?

YES!  He’s ALWAYS CONSISTENT!  What He SAYS and DECREES in ONE PLACE is THE SAME as when He SHOWS it AGAIN in ANOTHER PLACE.  God is NOT the author of CONFUSION.

I return to the QUESTION above--Will THE CHURCH be PRESENT on earth when ISRAEL’S CLOCK BEGINS TICKING AGAIN, to FULFILL the LAST WEEK of their SEVENTY WEEK prophecy?  I say AN EMPHATIC “NO!”

HERE IS the REASON why I ANSWER like this----The CHURCH was NOT PRESENT on earth WHEN Israel LIVED THROUGH the FIRST 69 WEEKS of their prophecy. Therefore, the CHURCH will NOT be PRESENT during THE LAST WEEK of Israel’s prophecy either.

By using a LITERAL interpretation and a COMMON SENSE comparison, I arrived at these conclusions.  Am I correct?  YES.  AND I have the TESTIMONY of the WORD ITSELF to back me up.

The CHURCH was NOT GIVEN the prophecy of the SEVENTY WEEKS, but ISRAEL received it. The prophecy was DELIVERED to ISRAEL, and to their holy city, Jerusalem. The CHURCH didn’t EXIST when the FIRST 69 WEEKS transpired. So BEFORE the SEVENTIETH WEEK happens, the CHURCH will be RAPTURED. The CHURCH will NOT be PRESENT on earth when the LAST SEVEN YEARS are TICKING on ISRAEL’S CLOCK.

I END today’s post with one more question:  ARE YOU THE CHURCH, OR ARE YOU ISRAEL?  Can you answer this now?

[By APPLYING this understanding (of the SEVENTY WEEKS), it does MORE than REFUTE the PRE-WRATH RAPTURE--which claims the RAPTURE will happen during the TRIBULATION, and BEFORE the POURING of the BOWLS in Revelation 16.]

[Understanding the SEVENTY WEEKS prophecy (and WHO it was DETERMINED upon) ALSO REFUTES the MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE (which insists that the GREAT MULTITUDE in Revelation 7 is a picture of the CHURCH who are RAPTURED out of the TRIBULATION at MID-TRIB)--but there’s a problem with that interpretation--the GREAT MULTITUDE CLEARLY does NOT describe the CHURCH!  Instead, the 24 ELDERS of Revelation 4 and 5 describe the Church, which has been RAPTURED to heaven BEFORE the TRIBULATION can even start.]

[This knowledge (concerning the SEVENTY WEEKS) FURTHER REFUTES the POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE teaching--which says the CHURCH will be on earth for the ENTIRE TRIBULATION.]

Is the CHURCH the TRIBULATION?  Absolutely not--IF we RIGHTLY DIVIDE the Word of God!

Since this  post is ALREADY LENGTHY, I’ll stop here. There’s MORE information which I desire to share with you, so I’ll PICK UP THE THREAD next time. I pray you’re edified and encouraged, and that you return for a further reading.  May we ALL increase in the KNOWLEDGE and WONDER of Jesus--as our DAYS move rapidly toward that TIME when these things will be fulfilled.

I ALSO MAKE NOTE----I wrote a HEAVY message as it concerns Israel, and my heart goes out to that nation who remains SO BLIND concerning their TRUE MESSIAH.  Let’s pray that MANY in Israel, and MANY Jews elsewhere in the world, have their eyes opened to Jesus, so they can enter the CHURCH, and escape ISRAEL’S APPOINTMENT--being made WORTHY (by Jesus) to PARTAKE of the CHURCH’S PROMISE in our GLORIOUS RAPTURE.

Let us also pray for the PEACE OF JERUSALEM.  When we pray for PEACE in ISRAEL, we pray that the people turn to Jesus--Who is their PRINCE OF PEACE.  Also CONTAINED within that prayer--is the MILLENNIAL KINGDOM of Jesus Christ, as He sits on the throne of David, which will be established in Israel’s midst.

“Thy KINGDOM come, Thy WILL be done, ON EARTH as it is in heaven.”


THE DAY OF THE LORD AND THE HOPE OF SALVATION


Let’s briefly REVIEW what we found in the SEVENTY WEEK PROPHECY given by Daniel to ISRAEL.

What EVENT STARTS the SEVENTIETH WEEK in Israel?

“The prince that shall come” (the Antichrist) will CONFIRM A COVENANT with the many--this is a PEACE AGREEMENT which is SUPPOSED to last SEVEN YEARS. But in the MIDDLE of the week, after THREE AND A HALF YEARS, Antichrist will BREAK THE AGREEMENT, bringing about what Jesus called THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

WHAT is the WRATH of God?

It’s the TIME when God will SORELY punish ISRAEL and THE WORLD for their SIN of REJECTING Jesus.

In the OLD TESTAMENT, that PERIOD of God’s JUDGMENT and WRATH is called “the DAY of the LORD”--(a total of 20 references--of which I list TWO--Joel 2:1-2, Zephaniah 1:14-15.) That TIME is also called “The INDIGNATION”--(Isaiah 26:20, 34:2 and 63:1-6.) “The DAYS of VENGEANCE of our GOD”--(Isaiah 34:8 and Luke 21:22.) “THAT DAY”--(used NUMEROUS times, and difficult to trace through Strong’s Concordance.) “The HOUR of His JUDGMENT”--(Revelation 14:7.) “The SEVENTIETH WEEK”--(Daniel 9:24-27.)

Jesus referred to the FIRST THREE AND A HALF YEARS as the BEGINNING OF SORROWS, which are birth pangs, (Matthew 24:8, Mark 13:8)--and the SECOND HALF as the GREAT TRIBULATION (Matthew 24:21-29). Right in the MIDDLE is the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, as compared to Daniel 9:27).

LET’S ALLOW THE BIBLE DEFINE AND INTERPRET ITSELF:  I’ll quote TWO PASSAGES which DEFINE and DESCRIBE “the DAY of the LORD.”--which is SHOWN to be a PERIOD of INTENSE JUDGMENT, paralleling the SEVEN YEAR period of TRIBULATION.

Joel 2:1-2--“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an ALARM in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for THE DAY OF THE LORD comes, for it is nigh at hand; a DAY of DARKNESS and of GLOOMINESS, a DAY of CLOUDS and THICK DARKNESS, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there has NOT BEEN EVER THE LIKE, neither shall BE ANY MORE AFTER IT, even to the years of many generations.” (Compare to Matthew 24:21.)

Zephaniah 1:14-17 (up to the first part of verse 17)--“The GREAT DAY OF THE LORD is near, is near, and hastens greatly, even the VOICE of THE DAY OF THE LORD: the MIGHTY men shall CRY there bitterly. THAT DAY is a DAY of WRATH, a DAY of TROUBLE and DISTRESS, a DAY of WASTENESS and DESOLATION, a DAY of DARKNESS and GLOOMINESS, a DAY of CLOUDS and THICK DARKNESS, a DAY of TRUMPET and ALARM against the fenced cities, and against the high towers, and I will BRING DISTRESS upon men…”

To emphasize the BITTERNESS and EXCEPTIONAL TROUBLE which happens in THE SEVENTIETH WEEK, the scripture gives a GRAPHIC WARNING in Amos 5:18-20.

“WOE unto you that DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD! To what end IS IT for you? The DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS, and NOT LIGHT. As if a man DID FLEE from a LION, and a BEAR met him; or WENT INTO THE HOUSE and LEANED his hand ON THE WALL, and a SERPENT bit him. Shall NOT the DAY OF THE LORD be DARKNESS, and NOT LIGHT? Even VERY DARK, and NO BRIGHTNESS in it?”

The MAIN THRUST of this prophecy is this: When Israel (and the world) FIND themselves in the MIDST of the DAY OF THE LORD, they’ll THINK they ESCAPED from “one” PROBLEM--only to be confronted by WORSE ONE. They think they’re SAFE in their own homes, but get bitten by A SERPENT. The BITE of the SERPENT could refer to SATAN’S RAGE during that DREADFUL HOUR--because he KNOWS his time’s running out. (I see no REFERENCES to NATIONS described in the LION or the BEAR, even though the symbols COULD represent modern England and Russia. What these animals SHOW is the INABILITY to ESCAPE the TROUBLES--ONCE people find themselves in the MIDST of the DAY OF THE LORD.)

When I read articles or comments GIVEN by PEOPLE who BELIEVE the CHURCH will be ON EARTH during the TRIBULATION, they offer explanations that the POWER of Christ in them will HELP them SURVIVE that time. They THINK they’ll be a mighty force--those who witnesses about Jesus during the TRIBULATION. (I ASK--if they DON’T witness now, HOW do they believe they WILL do so in the middle of that DREADFUL TIME?) These people also SAY that the TROUBLES happening will NOT affect them. Somehow, they insist, they’ll be strong and do exploits. CAN THAT BE TRUE?

HEAR THE PROPHET AMOS! “WOE unto you who DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD!” We can REPHRASE it like this--“WOE unto to you who DESIRE the TRIBULATION!” Or--“WOE unto you who DESIRE the SEVENTIETH WEEK!” These SENTENCES are SYNONYMOUS. We SEE there’s NOTHING GOOD to be DESIRED during that TERRIBLE TIME.

Sure, the Lord COULD protect His OWN during the TRIBULATION.  He INDEED does so for the 144,000 sealed servants of the TRIBES of ISRAEL!  

But far more people will experience BRUTAL deaths, resulting in a GREAT MULTITUDE of MARTYRED TRIBULATION SAINTS!  The “Antichrist” will OVERCOME them!  “WOE unto you who DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD!”  Not many, who stand up for Jesus, will SURVIVE that time!

How do I KNOW this?  During that TERRIBLE JUDGMENT, by counting the SOULS who perish on the earth in just TWO of the JUDGMENTS--(the FOURTH SEAL of the PALE HORSE and the SIXTH TRUMPET of the “army of horsemen”)--about TWO-THIRDS of the WORLD’S POPULATION PERISHES.  At today’s census, that’s over FOUR BILLION PEOPLE who will perish.  AND this is NOT factoring OTHER JUDGMENTS into the equation!

“WOE to you who DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD!  What end is it for you?  The DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS and NOT LIGHT.”

Would you agree that THIS is NOT a NICE PICTURE?  Would you agree that the DAY OF THE LORD is God’s WRATH being DEALT upon the earth?  Would you agree that ISRAEL, and those IN THE WORLD at THAT TIME, have REJECTED Jesus Christ (either by IGNORANCE or by ABSOLUTE REBELLION)?  And have therefore come under the heavy hand of God’s RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS?  (It’s by DIVINE MERCY in the MIDST of JUDGMENTS that MARTYRED SOULS find themselves before God’s throne in the 5th SEAL of Revelation 6, the GREAT MULTITUDE of Revelation 7, and among those who sing THE SONG OF MOSES in Revelation 15.)

Allow me to OFFER you a BLESSED HOPE!  You DON’T need TO FIND yourself in THE MIDST of that TERRIBLE TIME!

Don’t be IGNORANT about Jesus, and the WAY to TRUE SALVATION.  ACCEPT Jesus (and invite Him into your heart) in this TIME of GOD’S GRACE--and you’ll NEVER experience the DAY OF THE LORD!

The Prophet Amos tells us that the DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS and NOT LIGHT.  He REPEATS--“Shall NOT the DAY OF THE LORD be DARKNESS, and NOT LIGHT?  Even VERY DARK, and NO BRIGHTNESS in it?”

Let’s compare it to a PROMISE for the CHURCH.  Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 (LOOK at this passage CAREFULLY NOW, especially since I DRILLED you about the TRIBULATION, that DAY OF DARKNESS).

“But you, brethren--(members of the BODY of Jesus Christ through being BORN AGAIN) are NOT in DARKNESS, that THAT DAY (the TRIBULATION) should overtake you as a thief.  You are CHILDREN of THE DAY; we ARE NOT of the NIGHT, nor of DARKNESS.  Therefore, let us NOT sleep (or be in IGNORANCE) as do OTHERS, but let us WATCH and be SOBER--(NOT being in a STUPOR).  For they that sleep, sleep IN THE NIGHT; and they that are drunken, are drunken in the NIGHT (which means THEY are UNAWARE--or in IGNORANCE).  But let us, who ARE of THE DAY, be SOBER, putting on the BREASTPLATE of FAITH and LOVE; and for an HELMET, the HOPE of SALVATION.”

Amos said that the DAY OF THE LORD was DARKNESS.  Let me ask you, can BORN AGAIN children, who have THE LIGHT of Jesus inside us, enter into that time of EXTREME DARKNESS?  The answer is “NO,” because Paul assures us that we will NOT be CAUGHT in THAT DAY, when DARKNESS overtakes the world (and Israel) like a thief.  We’re NOT in DARKNESS, so therefore, THE TRIBULATION (the DAY OF THE LORD) will NOT overtake us like a thief.  (IN THE LIGHT OF JESUS, we’ll be TRANSLATED into the KINGDOM OF GOD in heaven!--where TRUE and PURE LIGHT resides!)

Paul continues, telling the BORN AGAIN in the CHURCH, that we are to PROTECT ourselves.  HOW?  By putting on a BREASTPLATE which PROTECTS our HEARTS. This BREASTPLATE is FAITH and LOVE.

Faith and love will PROTECT our hearts.  What is Paul talking about?  It’s the FAITH we have in Jesus (the very FAITH OF JESUS HIMSELF), and our LOVE for Him.  As we have FAITH, as we LOVE the Lord Jesus--with ALL our hearts, minds, souls and strength--we’re KEPT SAFE from that TIME of APPROACHING DARKNESS.  The TRIBULATION will NOT catch us, or rob from us, like a thief.  WHY?  Because our FOCUS remains steady--upon our FAITH and LOVE of Jesus.

We see yet another element in what Paul writes to the BORN AGAIN in the CHURCH. He said, “Putting on an HELMET (which PROTECTS our THINKING and our MIND)…the HELMET is the HOPE of SALVATION.”  We can be GREATLY DISTRESSED in our minds IF we DO NOT have that HOPE OF SALVATION!

CASUAL READING causes people to think that THE HOPE OF SALVATION is the message of ACCEPTING Jesus as SAVIOR and LORD, and gaining the SALVATION from hell fire.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE!  Paul is addressing people who are “OF THE DAY.”  THESE PEOPLE are NOT of the NIGHT, nor of DARKNESS.  THEREFORE, this is A CHURCH who has ALREADY obtained the SAVING of OUR SOULS by ACCEPTING Jesus Christ as the ONE who CLEANSES us--and makes us a NEW CREATION.  We don’t need to HOPE for that SALVATION, because we ALREADY possess it!

The HOPE talked about in the CONTEXT of 1 Thessalonians 5 is DELIVERANCE from the DARKNESS of the DAY OF THE LORD!  The HOPE is NOT just to WISH FOR salvation or to THINK it MIGHT happen.  It's much deeper than that!  This HOPE is to ANTICIPATE and EXPECT the salvation (or deliverance) which is promised.

The HOPE of SALVATION--is ALSO the BLESSED HOPE of the CHURCH.  How can I say this?

Look at the CONTEXT of the passage!  Paul teaches the BORN AGAIN in the CHURCH that since we’re OF THE DAY, then THAT DAY (the DAY OF THE LORD--the TRIBULATION) will NOT overtake “us” like a thief.  This MEANS that we WILL ESCAPE the DAY OF DARKNESS, that DAY OF THE LORD (the TRIBULATION). ESCAPING that horrible TIME of trouble is our HOPE OF SALVATION!  In our HOPE (or expectation) OF SALVATION, we LOOK FORWARD to being SAVED FROM entering that AWFUL TIME.  The HOPE of our SALVATION is the PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE!

[Back up even FURTHER in this LETTER that PAUL wrote--and carefully read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (TO SEE THE WHOLE CONTEXT)--and WE KNOW he’s speaking about a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE.]

There’s NO REASON for anyone to be TRAPPED in the DARKNESS and the JUDGMENTS of the DAY OF THE LORD.  There’s a way to GAIN SALVATION, the ESCAPE and RESCUE, “from” that TIME.  Ask Jesus TO COME and LIVE inside your hearts RIGHT NOW--while the TIME remains DAYLIGHT!

WHAT CAN WE SAY, CONCERNING WHAT WE’VE SEEN SO FAR?

We KNOW the CHURCH will “NOT BE PRESENT” in ANY of that “TERRIBLE TIME” of TRIBULATION JUDGMENT.


WHEN DOES THE WRATH OF GOD START?


Now, I’ll FOCUS upon what we see in the book of Revelation, and in some parallel scriptures. I’ll be answering THESE questions.

(1.) WHEN does THE WRATH of God START?

(2.) WHY does the WRATH of God FALL?

(3.) Who PERFORMS the WRATH of God?

SOME OF THE ANSWERS MIGHT SURPRISE YOU:  We’re ABOUT to EMBARK upon a JOURNEY, where we’ll eventually SEE a PICTURE of our SAVIOR, JESUS, in a ROLE we DON’T usually ASSOCIATE with Him.

We CAN be ASSURED that we’ll NEVER face Jesus as He performs THIS ROLE--IF we RECOGNIZE the WORK He COMPLETED for us at THE CROSS, IF we SEE our NEED of Him, CONFESS our sins, and INVITE Him to LIVE INSIDE our hearts.  “Born again” Christians are COMFORTED by the PEACE we have WITH GOD through THE WORK of Jesus.  We ARE NOT terrified concerning His righteous JUDGMENTS.

We MUST UNDERSTAND, however, that IN ORDER for Jesus to return and ESTABLISH His KINGDOM on earth, an AWESOME purging of a SINFUL world must happen.  Jesus will be INSTRUMENTAL in doing THAT CLEANSING.  We see THIS PICTURE all through the book of Revelation and in portions of Old Testament prophecies.  This is GOD’S JUDGMENT--and BEFORE God POURS out HIS WRATH, He REMOVES His RIGHTEOUS BELIEVERS.  ALWAYS!!!

I’m NOT WATCHING for the START of the TRIBULATION (that time of “Jacob’s trouble”--see Jeremiah 30:7).  I DON’T EXPECT to see the Antichrist when he’s REVEALED as He signs the SEVEN YEAR peace TREATY with Israel, the EVENT which STARTS the SEVENTIETH WEEK.

Instead, I EXPECT to SEE JESUS at ANY INSTANT as He appears and RAPTURES His TRUE CHURCH “before” that TERRIBLE TIME begins.  I write these blogs, with the HOPES that you may have the same JOY and ANTICIPATION.  Yes, indeed, THIS is our BLESSED HOPE.

When does the WRATH of God START? 

The book of Revelation shows that the WRATH begins WHEN Jesus rips off the FIRST SEAL on a seven-sealed SCROLL in Revelation 6.  The opening of the FIRST SEAL reveals the Antichrist.  It is PARALLEL to the RIDER OF THE WHITE HORSE in Matthew 24.  It FULFILLS a SENTENCE from Daniel’s prophecy--“And he (the prince that shall come) shall CONFIRM the COVENANT with many (Israel) for ONE WEEK (SEVEN YEARS).”

People who adhere to a PRE-WRATH RAPTURE theory, say that the Antichrist is NOT revealed until he BREAKS the COVENANT with Israel, performs the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, and starts THE GREAT TRIBULATION.  They also claim that the FIRST three and a half years will be a TIME of RELATIVE PEACE under the Antichrist so therefore, the WRATH of God has NOT yet appeared.  They claim that the WRATH of God BEGINS with the SEVEN BOWLS in Revelation 16.  Are these assumptions true?  NO! AND HERE’S WHY:

First, I’ll mention Revelation 15:1.  “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, SEVEN ANGELS having the SEVEN last PLAGUES, for IN THEM is FILLED UP the WRATH OF GOD.”

What is the MEANING of “FILLED UP”?  The word, in the Greek, is defined as COMPLETE.  If the WRATH is COMPLETED in those bowls, how can it be STARTING?  The definition also INCLUDES ideas of CONCLUDING, of ACCOMPLISHING and being FINISHED, of SUMMING UP, of MAKING AN END, of TO THE LIMIT, of being FINAL and UTTERMOST.  THE BOWLS are NOT a BEGINNING of God’s WRATH--it’s a POURING out of God’s WRATH which IS FULL to the BRIM, COMPLETE and FINAL!

WHEN is the Antichrist revealed?

Is he REVEALED WHEN he performs the ABOMINATION of DESOLATION after three and a half years of the TRIBULATION?  NO!  At “the abomination which makes desolate,” Israel will RECOGNIZE that they’ve been FOOLED, and they’ll be required to run for their lives.

The Antichrist is REVEALED when he SIGNS the PEACE TREATY with Israel, at the START of the SEVEN YEARS--NOT MID-WAY through the trouble.  His confirming the COVENANT with Israel “BEGINS” the WRATH of God and the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION.  It STARTS the 70th Week, a time to which the Church is NOT appointed. 

This SUMS UP the ANSWER to question number ONE at the top of this blog--“WHEN does THE WRATH of God START?”  CLEARLY, the wrath BEGINS at the START of the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION!  It’s the BEGINNING of Jacob’s Trouble, known elsewhere in scripture as THE DAY OF THE LORD--that time of God’s WRATH, TROUBLE, DISTRESS, WASTENESS and DESOLATION. (Zephaniah 1:14 to 17).

[When I started writing this blog, I listed THREE questions, and thought I could answer them QUICKLY within ONE short article. Once I proceeded into this subject, drawing PARALLELS from OTHER SCRIPTURES, I discovered this WILL NOT be a brief essay!  THEREFORE, I’ve sub-divided the topic again.]

I’ll ALLOW this installment to SUFFICE for now, having answered question number ONE at the top of this installment.  “WHEN does the WRATH of God START?”


WHY DOES THE WRATH OF GOD FALL?


Now, I move forward to answer question TWO from under the previous heading--“WHY does the WRATH of God FALL?”

First, let’s look at what Jesus said in John 5:43 as He talked to the Pharisees.  He offered a SOMBER WARNING upon an unbelieving religious majority.

“I AM COME IN MY FATHER’S NAME, and you RECEIVE ME NOT: if ANOTHER shall come IN HIS OWN NAME, him you WILL RECEIVE.”

In this passage, Jesus told UNBELIEVING Jews how He came in His Father’s name and they DID NOT BELIEVE Him.  He told them how “unbelieving Jews” (plus any others who refuse to believe in Jesus) WILL INDEED RECEIVE a MAN who comes IN HIS OWN NAME!  Israel REJECTED Jesus as their Messiah, but they WILL ACCEPT “the Antichrist” as he comes to them with his LYING PEACE TREATY.  For that reason, JUDGMENT must FALL!

Let’s look at another scripture. This time, Isaiah 28:14-18, where God grants a warning to Israel.

“Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, you SCORNFUL MEN, that RULE this people which is in JERUSALEM. Because you have said, ‘We have made a COVENANT WITH DEATH, and WITH HELL we are at agreement; when the OVERFLOWING SCOURGE shall pass through, it shall NOT come unto us: for we have MADE LIES our REFUGE, and UNDER FALSEHOOD have we HID ourselves’: Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation A STONE, a TRIED and TRUE STONE, a PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE, a SURE FOUNDATION:  he that believes shall not make haste.  JUDGMENT also will I LAY to THE LINE, and RIGHTEOUSNESS to THE PLUMMET:  and HAIL shall sweep away THE REFUGE of LIES, and the WATERS shall OVERFLOW the HIDING PLACE (compare to Revelation 12:15-16).  And your COVENANT WITH DEATH shall be disannulled, and your AGREEMENT WITH HELL shall NOT stand; WHEN the OVERFLOWING SCOURGE shall pass through, THEN you shall be TRODDEN DOWN by it.’”

In Isaiah’s prophecy, we see WHAT God THINKS of the coming PEACE TREATY with the “Antichrist”!  He calls it a COVENANT OF DEATH and an AGREEMENT WITH HELL, which will USHER in His JUDGMENT!  God SAYS the PEACE TREATY with the “Antichrist” is LIES and FALSEHOODS.

As a result of that TERRIBLE COVENANT, and because of the UNBELIEF in ISRAEL (concerning Jesus as their TRUE MESSIAH), an OVERFLOWING SCOURGE will pass through THE LAND.  The OVERFLOWING SCOURGE is an OBVIOUS reference to the FALLING of God’s WRATH!

WHEN does the WRATH of God BEGIN?

WHEN Israel and “the Antichrist” SIGN the PEACE TREATY!  It STARTS the SEVENTIETH WEEK, the whole SEVEN YEARS of the TRIBULATION, when the OVERFLOWING SCOURGE (God’s WRATH) will pass through the world.

In Revelation 6, the PEACE TREATY (COVENANT of DEATH, AGREEMENT with HELL) with the “Antichrist” is revealed UNDER the FIRST SEAL of the SCROLL (which is written on BOTH sides, within and without [Rev. 5:1]).  “Antichrist” is the RIDER UPON THE WHITE HORSE.  When Jesus OPENS that SEAL, the WRATH of God STARTS!  It FALLS because of Israel’s UNBELIEF in Jesus as their Messiah! Instead, they’ve accepted a FALSE CHRIST (DEATH and HELL)--NOT their true LORD!

The SCROLL itself is a DOCUMENT which holds the JUDGMENTS and the WRATH of God.  Can this be PROVED as SCRIPTURALLY CORRECT?  To answer that question, let’s look at Ezekiel 2:8-10--and the message continues in Ezekiel chapter 3.

“But you, son of man, hear what I say to unto you; ‘Be you NOT rebellious like that REBELLIOUS HOUSE (Israel):  open your mouth and EAT what I give you.  And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, A ROLL OF A BOOK (a SCROLL) was therein; and he SPREAD IT before me; and it was written WITHIN and WITHOUT (BOTH sides):  and there was written therein LAMENTATIONS, AND MOURNING, AND WOE.”

LAMENTATIONS are cries of SORROW, a DIRGE, the BEWAILING of hardships and suffering, loud sounds of GRIEF which are INTENSIFIED by BEATING UPON one’s BREAST.  MOURNING is GRIEF and LOSS.  WOE is GRIEF that’s caused by HEAVY AFFLICTIONS, INTENSE CALAMITIES and OVERSPREADING DISASTERS.

If the ABOVE definitions are NOT a picture of God’s WRATH, then WHAT are they? The ROLL OF THE BOOK (the scroll) is FULL of INTENSE GRIEF, written on BOTH sides--(SAME description as THE SCROLL in Revelation).

Ezekiel chapter 3 CONTINUES the PICTURE as the prophet EATS the “roll of a book.” In his mouth it tasted so sweet--because the book declares THE GLORY and THE VICTORY of God, PLUS the RESTORATION of Israel (and the ENTIRE WORLD).  On the OTHER HAND, the “roll of a book” carried all that WOE, because, IN ORDER to SEE the COMPLETED REDEMPTION and the GLORY of God, HARSH JUDGMENTS must FIRST TRANSPIRE!

[There’s a PARALLEL in Revelation 10:2 and in continued in Revelation10:8-11.  The Apostle John was ALSO asked to EAT a “little book” (which is DEFINED in the Greek as a “SCROLL,” but SMALLER IN SIZE than the one in chapter 6.)  WHY SMALLER?  By Revelation chapter 10, the scroll LAY OPENED and TWO-THIRDS the JUDGMENTS WITHIN IT had ALREADY transpired!  (There WILL BE an EXPLANATION for this STATEMENT in my NEXT blog.)]

So far, we’ve seen SCROLLS in scriptures (they are THE SAME--foretelling the time of God’s WRATH).  These SCROLLS are FULL OF exceedingly BAD NEWS--judgments, lamentations, mourning and woe.  In the mouth these SCROLLS tasted “sweet”--because the KINGDOM of Jesus is so SOON to arrive (joyful news).  The BITTERNESS in the BELLY refers to “DIGESTING” some really DISTURBING predictions--AND A SAD REALIZATION HITS, curdling inside the belly.  In order for CHRIST’S KINGDOM to come, horrendous JUDGMENTS must happen FIRST.  The SCROLL is a DOCUMENT proclaiming those JUDGMENTS!  Those JUDGMENTS are God’s WRATH which MUST fall upon the unbelieving nation of ISRAEL, and upon a REBELLIOUS WORLD.

We see another scroll in scripture. It’s found in Zechariah 5:1-4.

“Then I turned, and lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a FLYING ROLL (an unfurled SCROLL--sort of like a “flying carpet”).  And he (the angel) said unto me, ‘What do you see?’  And I answered, ‘I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof is ten cubits.’”

(WHY this measurement?  It’s the same DIMENSIONS as the HOLY OF HOLIES in the Jewish Temple!  The HOLY OF HOLIES is a MODEL--a REPRESENTATION of GOD’S THRONE--which EXISTS in heaven.  So therefore, the flying roll COMES FORTH from GOD’S THRONE and, as we’ll see, it brings JUDGMENTS.  Likewise, the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL is AT GOD’S THRONE in Revelation 6, and WHEN Jesus OPENS it, JUDGMENTS containing the WRATH of God emerge.)  Let’s continue with Zachariah’s prophecy.

“Then he (the angel) said to me, ‘This is the CURSE that GOES FORTH over THE FACE of THE WHOLE EARTH:  for every one that STEALS shall be cut off as on THIS SIDE according to it; and everyone that SWEARS shall be cut off as on THAT SIDE according to it.”

“I will bring it forth, says the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter INTO the house of THE THIEF, and INTO the house of him that SWEARS FALSELY BY MY NAME, and it shall REMAIN in the MIDST of his house, and shall CONSUME it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.”

We see that the flying SCROLL contains JUDGMENTS on BOTH sides.  One side, STEALING, shows mankind’s sins against other men.  The other side, SWEARING falsely by God‘s name, shows mankind’s sin against God Himself.  The “flying SCROLL” reveals BREAKING the WHOLE TABLET of God’s ten commandments.

In these scriptures, which OFFER PARALLELS and DEFINITIONS concerning THE SCROLL in Revelation 6 (and also the OPEN ONE in Revelation 10), we see JUDGMENTS are contained within ALL these SCROLLS.  The JUDGMENTS are God’s WRATH, which goes FORTH over the WHOLE EARTH--and in those JUDGMENTS are LAMENTATIONS, MOURNING AND WOE.

Does the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 6 contain God’s JUDGMENT and WRATH?  According to THE RESULTS that OCCUR when these “books” are opened, the answer is “YES.”

I still have much more to say about the SCROLL in Revelation 6.  We understand that it’s IN the HANDS of Jesus.  ONLY Jesus is WORTHY to open the SCROLL.  The OPENING of the SEALS brings forth SCENES ON EARTH which are NOT good--and that INCLUDES Israel’s COVENANT OF DEATH, their AGREEMENT WITH HELL--with the “Antichrist,” which lies HIDDEN underneath that FIRST SEAL.

WHY does the WRATH of God FALL?

(1.)  Because Israel refused to acknowledge that Jesus is their Messiah.  They RECEIVE the “Antichrist” instead.  (2.)  Because sin and abominations INCREASE upon an UNGODLY WORLD which views God as a CURSE WORD, and which MOCKS Jesus--Who is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.


WHAT HOPE IS THERE IN THE SEALS, TRUMPETS AND BOWLS?


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 this segment, 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!


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 section, 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!


IS JESUS A JUDGE?


Here’s a very important question--“WHO performs the WRATH of God?”

The answer is JESUS.

Since this idea MAY seem REPUGNANT to a few, I’ll lay a scriptural FOUNDATION for you to consider. (If there’s a sense of revulsion, it MIGHT stem from a MISUNDERSTANDING of God and His attributes.) Let’s begin.

How can the GENTLE and MILD, the LOVING and FORGIVING Savior of our souls, be a JUDGE Who carries out the WRATH and FURY of a God Who acts in VENGEANCE?  This idea SEEMS in error at best, and APPEARS blasphemous at the worst.  YET the PICTURE is ACCURATE.  God works in conjunction with His Son, Jesus, and has done so since the beginning.

First of all, let’s look briefly of what Jesus said of Himself.  In John 10:30, Jesus declared, “I and My Father are One.”  In John 14:7, Jesus REPEATS that TRUTH for emphasis, “If you had KNOWN Me, you would have known My Father also; and from HENCEFORTH you KNOW Him, and have SEEN Him.”  In John 14:11, Jesus adds, “Believe Me that I am IN the Father, and the Father IN Me:  or else believe Me for the very work’s sake.”

Jesus declares that He and His Father are ONE.  Jesus said He is God, the second PERSON of the Godhead, Who is One with, and the SAME as His Father in heaven.  He told His disciples that since they SAW Jesus, then ALSO, they have SEEN the FATHER. The WORKS which Jesus DOES is ONE and the SAME as the WORKS of God, the Father.  God and Jesus are ONE--ONE GODHEAD--in unity, agreement, character and action!

What is God’s character?  I won’t go into a long teaching on this topic, which is extensive.  Suffice it to say--God is holy, righteous, pure, good, gracious, kind, loving, merciful, compassionate, patient and longsuffering.  God is ALSO a JEALOUS GOD.  He will have NO OTHER gods before Him!  He works in JUDGMENT against those Who REJECT Him.  He performs in ANGER and VENGEANCE upon those who are His ENEMIES.

We think of Jesus in His WORK of the Gospel, in His ministry of love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy.  He reaches out to those who walk in darkness, and draws them in, pleading with them by the Spirit to “COME UNTO ME, ALL WHO LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.”  Yes, Jesus is LOVE and He offers God’s GRACE, especially in the AGE OF THE CHURCH.

But that’s NOT ALL.  There WILL COME a TIME (the TRIBULATION) when Jesus will ACT in the RIGHTEOUS VENGEANCE of a WRATHFUL God, who POURS OUT recompense upon the enemies.  For Jesus to be ONE with God, He will indeed ACT that way in the near future.

But what about the GOSPEL? (we might ask).  What about all those times Jesus said He comes NOT to CONDEMN (or to JUDGE), but instead SAVES?  I’ll mention two scripture passages, John 3:16-21 and Romans 8:1-2.  (I’m NOT quoting them in their entirety, so please take the time to read them.)

In John 3:16-21, we have the most FAMOUS proclamation of the GOSPEL in scripture.  “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall NOT perish…”  The message DOESN’T stop there.  It goes on to say “He that believes NOT is CONDEMNED ALREADY, because He has NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Romans 8:1 declares that NOW there in NO CONDEMNATION to them which are IN CHRIST JESUS.  (Yet there’s a CONDITION!)  Those who are NOT CONDEMNED are THOSE who WALK NOT after the FLESH, but according to the SPIRIT.

Further along, in Romans 8:6-8, ANOTHER CONDITION is seen.  On one hand, to be carnally (fleshly) minded is DEATH--and in CONTRAST, those who are SPIRITUALLY-MINDED have LIFE and PEACE.  Those of a CARNAL (fleshly) mind are at ENMITY AGAINST GOD--meaning they make themselves GOD’S ENEMIES.  They that are in the flesh CANNOT please God.  The ONLY WAY to please God is through Jesus.  Any WORKS (done by CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS) must be ACCOMPLISHED by a YIELDING to the Holy Spirit, Who PERFORMS the WORK within and through us.  By GRACE (God’s free gift) we ARE SAVED through FAITH, and THAT is NOT our OWN WORKS, lest any of us should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-10.)

These SCRIPTURES (I quoted) are GIVEN to the CHURCH!  If these CONDITIONS and WARNINGS apply to us (the CHURCH), HOW much MORE do they APPLY to the ones who REJECT JESUS?

In fact, that question is asked in 1 Peter 4:17-18.  “For the TIME HAS COME that JUDGMENT must BEGIN at the house of God (the CHURCH):  and if it FIRST begin at us, what shall THE END be of them that OBEY NOT the GOSPEL of God?  And if the RIGHTEOUS scarcely be saved, where shall the UNGODLY and the SINNER appear?”

GIVE that QUESTION ample thought!  How can JUDGMENT happen FIRST at the HOUSE OF GOD (the CHURCH)?

We must decide if we are WALKING after the flesh, or after the SPIRIT.  We must decide if we’re PERFORMING RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, or whether we’ve been BORN AGAIN.  We must decide whether we’re just CHURCH-GOERS, or whether we have a LIVING RELATIONSHIP with Jesus by ASKING Him into our hearts.  We must decide whether we are doing Christian WORKS in a FLESHLY ATTEMPT to be GOOD ENOUGH to PLEASE GOD (and thus to be ACCEPTED by Him)--or whether we DO GOOD WORKS because the Holy Spirit has PROMPTED us, and we YIELD to Him to HELP us.  There is a difference in all these things!

Those who are CHRISTIAN in NAME only, who TRUST in ceremonies, rituals, doctrines and traditions of a DENOMINATION to SAVE THEM had better place their TOTAL RELIANCE upon Jesus.  Those who SAY they ARE CHRISTIAN, but who do NOT obey Jesus’ words, must REPENT.  The letters to the CHURCHES in Revelation 2 and 3 are full of INSTRUCTIONS for Christians to JUDGE themselves.  Where do we stand in our relationship with Jesus?  Judgment (a CORRECT decision FOR or AGAINST) MUST BEGIN at the HOUSE OF GOD!

The greatest JUDGMENT will come upon the CHURCH (as a denominational whole) in the RAPTURE.  Now, that’s A BOLD and SCARY statement, but it’s the TRUTH.  It’s a STATEMENT which is based upon SCRIPTURE.  It’s a STATEMENT based upon WHERE a person places their FAITH (their TRUST, their RELIANCE, their CONFIDENCE).  Is it upon Jesus?  Or upon SOMETHING ELSE?

Did you really ACCEPT Jesus as SAVIOR and LORD?  Are you truly BORN AGAIN? Do you have CONFIDENCE in Jesus?  Do you TRUST Him?  Do you have TOTAL RELIANCE upon Him?

Or are you trusting IN SOMETHING else?--Church membership in a denomination, rituals, traditions, good works, or the IDEA that God is LOVE, so therefore, He will accept YOU regardless of where you stand?

If YOU do not have TOTAL RELIANCE upon Jesus, if YOU are NOT BORN AGAIN, the RAPTURE will be a JUDGMENT which BEGINS at the HOUSE OF GOD!  If YOU are NOT born again (when the TRUE CHURCH is CAUGHT UP to be with Jesus), you’ll be LEFT BEHIND.  And that’s INDEED a JUDGMENT.

After the RAPTURE of the CHURCH, those who DIDN’T KNOW and ACCEPT JESUS (because of IGNORANCE, or worldly distractions, or outright REJECTION), will find themselves facing “the DAY of VENGEANCE of our God”--that terrible TRIBULATION period.  In THAT time, Jesus will indeed ACT in the POSITION of JUDGE, bringing forth God's punishments upon a world in rebellion.

Can I verify that idea by scripture?  Is Jesus REALLY going to be a JUDGE in the TIME of TRIBULATION which shall come upon the whole world?  Let’s look at Acts 10:40-42.

“HIM God raised up the THIRD DAY, and showed Him openly, NOT to ALL the people, but unto WITNESSES chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to TESTIFY that IT IS HE which was ORDAINED OF GOD to be THE JUDGE of the QUICK (those ALIVE) and the DEAD.”

THE ONE who ACTS as JUDGE is THE ONE who rose from the dead.  He will JUDGE the QUICK (those who are ALIVE) and the dead.  Of course, JESUS is THE ONE Who rose from the dead!

In case we THINK God meant that Jesus will JUDGE those ALIVE and DEAD at THE FINAL JUDGMENT just PRIOR to ETERNITY when the NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH are revealed, let’s look at another scripture, Acts 17:30-31.

“And THE TIMES of this IGNORANCE God winked at (speaking of the Gentile heathens who THOUGHT OF GOD as gold, silver, stone and graven idols); but NOW (God) commands ALL men EVERY WHERE to REPENT.  Because He HAS APPOINTED A DAY, in the which He WILL JUDGE the world in RIGHTEOUSNESS by THAT MAN whom He has ORDAINED; whereof He has GIVEN ASSURANCE unto ALL men, in that HE HAS RAISED HIM from the dead.”

Who is to be THE JUDGE in the TRIBULATION?  Jesus!  JESUS is THE ONE Who rose from the dead.  JESUS is God in the flesh of A MAN, in a resurrected and glorified BODY, Who sits at the right hand of God, the Father, in heaven.  God DECLARES that JESUS is THAT MAN (Who God Himself HAS ORDAINED).  JESUS will JUDGE the world in RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Jesus will PERFORM this JUDGMENT in a special DAY, a TIME that God HAS APPOINTED.  What is THAT APPOINTED DAY?  The TRIBULATION!

[In a future blog on this subject, I’ll ADD some insight from Revelation 5, where we see Jesus as God (in the resurrected and glorified BODY of A MAN)!  This MAN (Jesus) is found WORTHY to take the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL from His Father, and OPEN IT. That’s ANOTHER PICTURE of Jesus PERFORMING a RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT upon a world which IGNORED or REJECTED Him.]

In 2 Timothy 4:8, in the middle of scripture which shows CROWNS being given to THE CHURCH, Jesus is CLEARLY CALLED “the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE.”  Let’s look at it.

“Henceforth, there is laid up for me a CROWN (the STEPHANOS) of RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord (Jesus), THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, shall give me at THAT DAY; and NOT to me ONLY, but unto ALL them who LOVE HIS APPEARING.”

The FACT I want to FOCUS UPON is that JESUS is CLEARLY called “A RIGHTEOUS JUDGE.”  In this EXAMPLE of Jesus JUDGING a RAPTURED CHURCH, He GIVES REWARDS to ALL those who LOVE His APPEARING (to those who EAGERLY LOOK FORWARD to the RAPTURE).

Why is Jesus, in this EXAMPLE (for the CHURCH), said to be JUDGING?

In the original Greek, the word for JUDGMENT is DEFINED as the ACT of deciding, determining, distinguishing (mentally or judiciously) concerning a SENTENCE or a REWARD.

The ACT of JUDGING can be for THE GOOD (as in THE REASONS for giving a RAPTURED Church CROWNS).  The ACT of JUDGING can also have BAD consequences--such as DECIDING what PUNISHMENTS the ENEMIES deserve.  In ALL the scriptures I’ve cited, we see JESUS as THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE.  He will give FAIR REWARDS to THE CHURCH.  But also, He will bring the PROPER PUNISHMENTS upon those who have IGNORED or REJECTED Him.  It can go either way.

Which SIDE are you on?  THE GOOD SIDE--getting your reward of a CROWN?  Or THE BAD SIDE, being reserved for PUNISHMENT in THAT DAY of the TRIBULATION?

If you’re on the WRONG SIDE of JESUS, as He comes with JUDGMENT, don’t delay! Ask Him to forgive you and invite Him into your heart!


JESUS, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE


Now, we’ll looK at an important scripture that Jesus QUOTED when HE BEGAN His earthly ministry--at His FIRST COMING.  Wondrous truth is REVEALED for us.

To SEE it, let’s COMPARE two scriptures. First, we’ll look at what Jesus said of His MINISTRY in Luke 4:18-19.

After Jesus had been tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He journeyed to a Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath day.  There, He took a scroll of the Prophet Isaiah and unrolled it to a particular passage, a portion of scripture with which HE STARTED His earthly ministry.

He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has ANOINTED Me to PREACH the GOSPEL to the poor; He has SENT Me to HEAL the brokenhearted, to preach DELIVERANCE to the captives, and the RECOVERING of sight to the blind, to SET at LIBERTY them that are bruised, and TO PREACH the ACCEPTABLE year of the Lord.”  AND HE CLOSED THE BOOK.

That’s wonderful! Jesus CAME as a GIFT from God to mankind. By His FIRST coming, Jesus USHERED in the GRACE of God.  He brought RECONCILIATION by His death at the cross.  He brought VICTORY by his RESURRECTION from the dead.  The CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST is founded upon the OUTWORKING of God’s GRACE through Jesus.

But that’s NOT ALL.  When Jesus QUOTED Isaiah’s prophecy, He stopped RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of a sentence!  An INTERRUPTED SENTENCE has REMAINED INTERRUPTED--for TWO THOUSAND YEARS!  What ELSE SHOULD HAVE been SAID by Jesus (in order to QUOTE Isaiah totally)?  Why didn’t He FINISH reading that scripture?

Let’s look at Isaiah 61:1-2.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to PREACH good tidings unto the meek; He has SENT Me to BIND UP the brokenhearted, to proclaim LIBERTY to the captives, and the OPENING of the prison to them that are bound; TO PROCLAIM the ACCEPTABLE YEAR of the Lord, AND THE DAY OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD…”

Why DID Jesus NOT finish the sentence in the Luke version of this propehcy?  WHY did He NOT say “THE DAY OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD.”?

BECAUSE Jesus’ FIRST COMING was NOT the TIME for God’s VENGEANCE!

Jesus’ FIRST COMING was to PERFORM God’s GRACE.

We, in THE CHURCH, have BENEFITED from God’s GRACE for TWO THOUSAND YEARS.  We have the GOSPEL, the GOOD TIDINGS preached to us.  We are the BROKENHEARTED who receive God’s HEALING.  We are the CAPTIVES who have received God’s DELIVERANCE.  We are BRUISED PRISONERS who have received God’s LIBERTY.  We’re LIVING in THE AGE of the CHURCH, which is THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR of the Lord!

Jesus NEVER uttered the words “AND the DAY of VENGEANCE of our God” when He STARTED His MINISTRY at His FIRST COMING.  This is BECAUSE the CHURCH is NOT UNDER God’s VENGEANCE (or WRATH).  In fact, the DAY OF VENGEANCE will NOT appear until THE TIME of the TRIBULATION!

What does God say about THE CHURCH in relation to His DAY OF VENGEANCE? Let’s CAREFULLY read 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.

“Seeing it is a RIGHTEOUS THING with God to RECOMPENSE (repay) TRIBULATION to them that TROUBLE you; and TO YOU who are TROUBLED “REST” with us, WHEN the LORD JESUS shall be REVEALED from heaven with His mighty angels, in FLAMING FIRE taking VENGEANCE on them that KNOW NOT God, and that OBEY NOT the GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

In this passage, the Apostle Paul tells us (THE CHURCH) that God will REPAY TRIBULATION (intense trouble) upon those who HASSLE the CHURCH.  When that TIME of RECOMPENSE (repaying) occurs, we (the CHURCH) will BE AT REST with the Apostle Paul and OTHER TRUE Christians.  Earlier, in 1 Thessalonians, we’re assured of THE RAPTURE, and WITH it the ADDED COMFORT of knowing we’re NOT APPOINTED to the WRATH (which DEFINES the Tribulation).  Our RAPTURE will happen PRIOR to that intense TIME of JUDGMENTS.

WHILE we’re AT REST (in our MANSIONS promised by Jesus--AFTER the RAPTURE of the TRUE CHURCH), Jesus is THE ONE Who will PERFORM the VENGEANCE of God.  HE will REPAY the enemies WITH TRIBULATION.  JESUS will be REVEALED from heaven WITH His MIGHTY ANGELS (just like it’s pictured in MANY PLACES in Revelation 6 through 19).  With FLAMING FIRE, Jesus and His ANGELS will TAKE VENGEANCE upon PEOPLE who DO NOT know God, and who DO NOT obey the gospel.  It’s within THAT TIME (the intense TRIBULATION)--that JESUS will PERFORM the LAST PHRASE from Isaiah’s prophecy, FULFILLING “the DAY of VENGEANCE of our God.”  Jesus will do it!  Jesus will perform it!  Jesus BRINGS the WRATH of the LAMB as He opens a SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 6.

Yes, Jesus will be THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE during the “DAY OF THE LORD,” the HOUR of the TRIBULATION, also known as the SEVENTIETH WEEK.  (Daniel 9:24-27--a PROPHECY which is DETERMINED upon ISRAEL and upon their HOLY CITY--Jerusalem).

Now, let’s look at some good news:

I’ve HEARD a WARNING--which goes like this: “If you DON’T WANT to SEE Jesus as the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE bringing GOD’S VENGEANCE, then ACCEPT Him by faith NOW, in the ACCEPTABLE YEAR of the Lord.”  This statement parallels the thought in 2 Corinthians 6:2.

“(For He (God) says, I have heard you in a TIME ACCEPTED, and in the DAY of SALVATION have I SUCCORED [helped, aided, relieved] you:  behold, NOW is THE ACCEPTED TIME; behold NOW is the DAY of SALVATION.)”

The scripture ABOVE is another QUOTE from the Prophet Isaiah, SO let’s ALSO look at Isaiah 49:8 (first part of the verse).

“Thus says the Lord, In an ACCEPTABLE TIME have I heard you, and in a DAY of SALVATION have I helped you:  and I will PRESERVE you…”

If you DON’T want to SEE Jesus as RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, acting in the VENGEANCE of God, then TURN to Him now, and RECEIVE Him, in this ACCEPTABLE YEAR of the Lord, in this TIME of SALVATION, when God’s GRACE is YET predominant.

Once the TRIBULATION’S JUDGMENTS begin, you “MIGHT” be SAVED, but it WILL be like COMING THROUGH a FIRE.

[In a PREVIOUS blog, I mentioned some TRIBULATIONS SAINTS who STOOD on a sea of glass MINGLED with FIRE as they SING the SONG of MOSES.  (Revelation 15:2-3.)]

During the TRIBULATION--God will no longer OPERATE in a TIME OF GRACE, the ACCEPTABLE YEAR of the Lord through THE CHURCH.  Instead, God RESUMES dealing with (and WORKING THROUGH) His NATION of ISRAEL during THE DAY of His WRATH.  God’s RECOMPENSE (repaying His enemies with punishments) will occur.  In THAT TIME, the Holy Spirit will NO LONGER “indwell” believers, but He will FALL upon VARIOUS individuals like He did in the Old Testament--for specific TIMES and PURPOSES.  The TRIBULATION is “the DAY of VENGEANCE of our God.”  God’s MANNER of operation (His DISPENSATION) will be DIFFERENT then.

Yes, God will show MERCY on SOME people in the MIDST of His VENGEANCE, but it will NO LONGER be an ACCEPTABLE YEAR of the Lord (as it HAD BEEN DURING the CHURCH AGE.)  The FOCUS will have CHANGED.  God will DEAL harshly, with WRATH and VENGEANCE, punishing the WORLD of CHRIST-REJECTORS, SATAN, ISRAEL and ALL OF THOSE who were INDIFFERENT and NOT READY during the FINAL PART of the CHURCH AGE.

In the MIDST of this PUNISHMENT, Israel, plus those who were INDIFFERENT or IGNORANT about Jesus (therefore MISSING the RAPTURE), will RECEIVE MERCY mingled WITH JUDGMENT.  One-third of Israel, plus a Great Multitude of Gentiles, will be saved--like coming though a FIRE.  (Many will be MARTYRED, because this will be the WORST time of VIOLENCE and UPHEAVAL since the “days of Noah!”)

Therefore (you who read this) while THE CHURCH remains on earth, ACCEPT Jesus NOW. Receive Him as SAVIOR and LORD in this ACCEPTABLE TIME, in this AGE of God’s GRACE!  Yes, NOW is the TIME of SALVATION!


JESUS PERFORMS THE WRATH OF GOD


Certainly, what I TEACH here is NOT how many people THINK of Jesus!

How can the loving, compassionate and merciful SAVIOR be THE ONE Who PERFORMS the WRATH of God?  Indeed, WITHOUT a whole KNOWLEDGE of WHAT the Bible proclaims, the IDEA of a wrath-performing Jesus could be RECKONED as false.  But let’s look deeper!

First, a brief amount of background.

In order to understand what I’m going to PRESENT, you need to be familiar with the CONSTRUCTION of the book of Revelation.  Chapter One introduces THE PROPHECY (in verse 3) and includes a VISION of a RISEN and GLORIFIED Jesus. Chapters Two and Three give THE PROPHECY of SEVEN CHURCHES (a picture of the AGE of the CHURCH--from its beginning to HOW it ends).  Chapter Four STARTS with a PICTURE of the Apostle John being called by Jesus, “Come up here” and immediately, John found himself at God’s THRONE in HEAVEN (the ACTIONS a TYPE of the RAPTURE).  At God’s throne, there’s 24 Elders.  The SYMBOL (and the DESCRIPTIONS) of these ELDERS offers a picture of THE CHURCH in heaven AFTER being caught up to God’s throne in a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE.

In Revelation 5, a DILEMMA arises. A SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL is introduced.  But, NO MAN was found in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, who was WORTHY to OPEN that SCROLL.

A question surfaces:  WHO can OPEN the SCROLL and BEGIN the JUDGMENTS of God?  No MAN in heaven (souls redeemed from the Old Testament--still waiting for their resurrection, plus A RAPTURED and RESURRECTED CHURCH), no MAN on the earth trapped in sin and rebellion, and no MAN under the earth (lost souls in hell)--NONE of these MEN could OPEN the Scroll.

So WHO was found WORTHY?  What MAN could HE be?

BEHOLD!  “The Lion of the tribe of Judah” has PREVAILED, and He CAN take the SCROLL, and He CAN UNSEAL the SEVEN SEALS thereof.

Jesus (God in the FLESH of a MAN--our KINSMAN REDEEMER) OVERCAME and CONQUERED sin, death and the devil!  Therefore He’s WORTHY to OPEN the JUDGMENTS of God!  Jesus is also shown as a LAMB as it had been SLAIN--Jesus, with the MARKS of His crucifixion upon His resurrected body!  He’s THE MAN (at the throne of God) who is ABLE to take the SCROLL from the HANDS of His Father. (Later, I’ll teach Revelation FIVE in DEPTH.  The TRUTHS about our KINSMAN REDEEMER are AWESOME!)

In Revelation 6, Jesus BEGINS opening THE SERIES of SEVEN SEALS.  One by one, the SEALS are STRIPPED from the SCROLL, and UNDER each SEAL, a more severe and terrible JUDGMENT EMERGES.  When the SIXTH SEAL is opened, godless (and blind) people on the earth RECOGNIZE a FACT that they had NOT realized BEFORE.

Revelation 6:15 to 17--“And the KINGS of the earth, and the GREAT men, and the RICH men, and the CHIEF CAPTAINS, and the MIGHTY men, and every BONDSMAN, and every FREE man, HID themselves in the DENS and in the ROCKS of the MOUNTAINS; and said to the MOUNTAINS and ROCKS, ‘Fall on us, and HIDE us from the FACE of Him that sits on the throne (God), and from THE WRATH OF THE LAMB:  for the great day OF WRATH is come (is present), AND WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND?’”

Who is THE LAMB?  We recognize the LAMB OF GOD as none other than Jesus Himself!  Remember when John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching the River Jordan on THE DAY He was to be BAPTIZED?  John the Baptist declared, “Behold, the LAMB OF GOD Who takes away the sins of the world!”  (John 1:29.)

Now, in Revelation 6, we see Jesus take the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL.  He opens it. The OPENING of the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL is the START of the WRATH of the LAMB (the WRATH of JESUS!).  By the time the WRATH progressed to the OPENED SIXTH SEAL, “blind” people on earth RECOGNIZE they are indeed in a TIME of God’s JUDGMENT.

The nail-scarred HANDS of Jesus RIP away those SEALS!  Why?  BECAUSE people on the earth have IGNORED or REJECTED Him--and the SALVATION He OFFERED!

Yes, the HANDS of Jesus RIP away those SEALS.  Nothing could be clearer than that!

The scroll REVEALS the WRATH OF THE LAMB!  Jesus is ACTING in ANGER at this point!  (Should that SURPRISE us?  NO!  Jesus ACTED in RIGHTEOUS ANGER and ZEAL when He overturned the money-changers’ tables in the temple.  Matthew 21:12-13Mark 11:15-18John 2:13-22.)

This is NOT the ONLY picture of Jesus PERFORMING God’s WRATH and FULFILLING “the DAY of VENGEANCE of our God.”  Let’s look at Revelation 14:14-16.

“And I (John) looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud ONE sat LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN (Jesus), having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple (in heaven), crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud.  Thrust in Your sickle, and reap:  for the time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”

Obviously, in this picture, the ONE doing the REAPING with His SHARP SICKLE is THE SON OF MAN (Jesus).

The SYMBOLS used--the SHARP SICKLE for the harvest, CUTTING the harvest, and REAPING an earth which is RIPE and READY--all these IMAGES are those of WRATH, JUDGMENT and THE ACT of God’s VENGEANCE upon THE WORLD OF THE TRIBULATION.  (This portion of the prophecy [in Revelation 14] points FORWARD to what’s YET COMING, when Jesus ACTUALLY RETURNS to the earth at the scene of Armageddon.  He will come with FORCE in the FINAL and COMPLETED WRATH of God!)

Let’s look at a PARALLEL PROPHECY in Jesus’ “Kingdom Parables” in Matthew 13.  In this scripture, Jesus INTERPRETS the PARABLE of THE TARES.  Matthew 13:37-43.

“He (Jesus) answered them (His disciples) and said unto them, “He who sows the good seed is the SON OF MAN; the field is the WORLD; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the TARES are the children of the WICKED ONE; the ENEMY that sowed them (the TARES) is the DEVIL; the HARVEST is the END OF THE WORLD; and the REAPERS are the angels.  As therefore the TARES are GATHERED and BURNED in the FIRE; so SHALL IT BE in the END OF THIS WORLD (AGE).  The SON OF MAN shall SEND FORTH His angels, and they shall GATHER out of His Kingdom ALL things that OFFEND, and THEM which DO INIQUITY; and shall CAST THEM into a FURNACE of FIRE:  there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then shall THE RIGHTEOUS shine forth as THE SUN in the KINGDOM of their Father.  Who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”

When the scripture speaks of HARVESTING, using the concepts of SICKLES, REAPING of TARES, the ENEMY (devil), children of the WICKED ONE, things that OFFEND, those who DO INIQUITY, cast into a FURNACE of FIRE, with WAILING and GNASHING of teeth, at the END OF THE WORLD (at the end of the current AGE of GODLESS GENTILE GOVERNMENTS)--we get a CLEAR IDEA of God’s WRATH, His VENGEANCE, His JUDGMENT.  JESUS oversees this PUNISHMENT and PARTICIPATES in it.

By now, it should be abundantly clear as to who PERFORMS God’s JUDGMENT.  The SON OF MAN (Jesus) works in CONJUNCTION with His HOLY ANGELS in FLAMING FIRE!  Just LIKE we SAW in a previous blog (explaining 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).  “And to you (CHURCH) who are troubled REST with us (in a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE)--WHEN the LORD JESUS shall BE REVEALED from heaven WITH HIS MIGHTY ANGELS, in FLAMING FIRE taking VENGEANCE on them that KNOW NOT God, and that OBEY NOT the gospel.”

Putting all these scriptures TOGETHER makes it ABUNDANTLY OBVIOUS!  Jesus is THE ONE Who will PERFORM the WRATH of God--and it will happen during the ENTIRE seven years of the TRIBULATION!  It can be no other way!

Even though this series of teachings have been HEAVY upon the JUDGMENT angle, I hope you’re being blessed and strengthened by it.  When we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, inviting Him to come DWELL inside our hearts, we’re SAVED from the WRATH to come!


JESUS JUDGES THE ENEMIES AT ARMAGEDDON


I believe that, by now, you can see HOW MUCH Jesus is INVOLVED with God’s WRATH that’s poured out in the “Days of VENGEANCE of our God.”  This SEVEN YEAR time-frame is an ERA like NONE other before it.  As Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 24:21-22, the events of the TRIBULATION will INTENSIFY to such a degree that it will be MORE DEVASTATING then the FLOOD in the days of Noah.

Jesus said, “For then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION (specifically the LAST three and a half years of Daniel’s SEVENTIETH WEEK), ‘great tribulation’ such as was NOT since the BEGINNING of the world (making it WORSE than the FLOOD)--(and I REPEAT)-- “…since the beginning of the world TO THIS TIME, no, NOR EVER SHALL BE (there will NEVER be another TIME as TERRIBLE as the TRIBULATION).  And EXCEPT those days BE SHORTENED, there should NO FLESH be SAVED:  but for the elect’s (Israel’s) sake those days shall be shortened.”

I’ve been striving to show you, by scripture, that the WRATH OF THE LAMB starts when Jesus RIPS the SEALS from the SCROLL in Revelation 6.  The WRATH OF THE LAMB, therefore, covers the ENTIRE seven years of the “days of VENGEANCE of our God.”

There’s MORE.  This segment will FOCUS UPON the WRATH of Jesus at the Armageddon Scene.

When Jesus arrives upon the world scene to make an END of the “Antichrist,” plus ALL the armies that are gathered WITH that “son of perdition” in the Middle East (especially in the vicinity of Jerusalem), Jesus WILL COME with FORCE and ZEAL, with the kind of RIGHTEOUS ANGER that He used against the money changers in the Jewish temple.

Let’s look at Revelation 19:11-12, verse 15, and verses 19 to21.

“And I (John) saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse:  and He (Jesus) that sat upon him (the horse) was called Faithful and True, and in RIGHTEOUSNESS He DOES JUDGE and MAKE WAR.  His eyes were as a FLAME of FIRE (judgment), and on His head were many CROWNS (diadems); and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself…And out of His mouth goes a SHARP SWORD (the SPOKEN word of God), that with it He should SMITE the NATIONS:  and He shall rule them with a rod of iron:  and He TREADS the WINEPRESS of the FIERCENESS and WRATH of Almighty God…and I saw the BEAST (the Antichrist), and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the BEAST was taken, and with him the FALSE PROPHET that wrought miracles before him (the Antichrist), with which (miracles) he (the false prophet) DECEIVED them that received the MARK of the BEAST, and them that worshiped his (the Antichrist’s) image.  These both were cast into a LAKE OF FIRE (hell) burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were SLAIN with the SWORD (the SPOKEN WORD) of Him that sat upon the horse, which SWORD proceeded out of His mouth:  and all the fowls were filled with their (the armies’) flesh.”

I don’t need to ELABORATE with additional comments, concerning this portion of scripture.  The language is POTENT, pointing out the WRATH, the VENGEANCE, the “just and righteous” PUNISHMENT that Jesus PERFORMS.  The imagery is VIVID and the MEANING is OBVIOUS.  Jesus will deal ZEALOUSLY and SWIFTLY with THE ENEMIES who are about to TOTALLY destroy Israel and the whole world!

I do want to point out a parallel passage, Revelation 14:18-20.  This ties into yet another scene of Jesus PERFORMING a POWERFUL JUDGMENT and BRINGING FORTH the WRATH and the VENGEANCE of God Almighty.  In this scripture, Jesus WORKS in CONJUNCTION WITH His holy angels.

“And another angle thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the GREAT WINEPRESS of the WRATH of God.  And the WINEPRESS was TRODDEN without the city, and blood came out of the WINEPRESS, even unto the horse bridles (about 4 feet in depth), by the space of a thousand and six furlongs (describing a river of blood, an abhorrent flood).”

As we compare Old Testament prophecies SHOWING the SAME PICTURE, we gain the UNDERSTANDING that it’s NOT “just” in the vicinity of Jerusalem (and NOT “just” in the great valley of Megiddo) where the FINAL BATTLE occurs--the battle rages ACROSS the ENTIRE Middle East, involving the Euphrates River region, Iraq (Babylon), and Edom (which is Jordan).  Let’s look at Isaiah 63:1-6.

“Who is this that comes from EDOM (Jordan), with dyed garments from BOZRAH…?” (This is a REFERENCE to the RUINS of a city, also known as PETRA--where Israel will HIDE during the LAST HALF of the TRIBULATION.  When Jesus RETURNS, He goes to Petra (Bozrah) FIRST, rescuing His CHOSEN and SURVIVING nation, Who have REPENTED of their UNBELIEF by that time!)

Now let’s continue the Isaiah 63 passage--“ (Who is) THIS that is GLORIOUS in His apparel, traveling in the GREATNESS of His STRENGTH?  I, that SPEAK in RIGHTEOUSNESS, mighty to SAVE.  Wherefore ARE you RED in your APPAREL, and your GARMENTS are LIKE Him that TREADS in the WINEVAT?  I have TRODDEN the WINEPRESS alone, and of the people there was NONE with Me:  for I will TREAD them in My ANGER, and TRAMPLE them in My FURY; and their BLOOD shall be SPRINKLED upon My garments, and I will STAIN all My RAIMENT.  FOR THE DAY OF VENGEANCE IS IN MY HEART, and the YEAR of My redeemed is come.  And I looked, the there was NONE to help, and I wondered that there was NONE to UPHOLD; therefore MY OWN ARM brought SALVATION unto Me, and My FURY, it upheld Me.  And I will TREAD DOWN the people in mine ANGER, and make them DRUNK in My FURY, and I will bring down their strength to the earth (utterly demolishing the enemy armies gathered to make war).”

This scripture USES many SYMBOLS and exceedingly STRONG LANGUAGE.  The “DAY OF VENGEANCE” in the HEART of Jesus is NOTHING we want to see or face!

Notice that Jesus TREADS the WINEPRESS of the Lord God Almighty--a DIRECT PARALLEL to Revelation 14:18-20.  Notice that Jesus has garments which are STAINED with the BLOOD of His enemies as He battles against them.  COMPARE that image to Revelation 19:13--“And He was clothed with a vesture DIPPED in BLOOD…” COMPARE the imagery also to Revelation 19:15, the last part of that verse-- “and He TREADS the WINEPRESS of the FIERCENESS and WRATH of Almighty God.”

As the scripture in Revelation 15:1, concerning the BOWLS of WRATH declare, it’s IN the FINAL ACTS of JUDGMENT that the WRATH of God is FILLED UP, OVERFLOWS and is MADE COMPLETE.  This POWERFUL picture of Jesus, working in WRATH and FURY, UPHOLDS that CONCEPT!

(I remind you. The BOWLS of WRATH are NOT the START of God’s FURY.  It’s the COMPLETION of it!  The “days of VENGEANCE of our God” BEGIN with the OPENING of the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 6, and is COMPLETED with the POURING OUT of the BOWLS of WRATH in Revelation 16.  These judgments END as Jesus returns with FURY to the Armageddon scene in Revelation 19.  The entire SCOPE of “the days of vengeance of our God“ is the SEVEN YEARS of Daniel’s prophecy that's given in chapter 9:24-27--a time APPOINTED to fall upon ISRAEL, and upon a WORLD which is in REBELLION.  I CANNOT repeat this OFTEN enough.  This is the SCENARIO placed in the scripture BY GOD for our DISCERNMENT, STUDY and UNDERSTANDING.  And I LABOR in TEACHING, hoping you’ll SEE the truth brought forward in all these parallels!)

In Isaiah 63, we find the MOST POWERFUL description of how THE WRATH OF THE LAMB will appear.  But BEFORE I close today’s blog, I’ll add several other Old Testament PICTURES of the Armageddon scene.

Joel 3:12-15--“Let the HEATHEN be WAKENED, and come up to the VALLEY of JEHOSHAPHAT:  for there will I SIT to JUDGE all the HEATHEN round about.  Put ye in the SICKLE, for the HARVEST is RIPE:  come, get you down, for the PRESS is FULL, the vats OVERFLOW, for their WICKEDNESS is GREAT.  Multitudes, multitudes in the VALLEY of DECISION:  for the DAY OF THE LORD is near in the VALLEY OF DECISION.  The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.”

Zechariah 14:12-13, also verse 15-- “And this shall be the PLAGUE wherewith the Lord will SMITE all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall CONSUME AWAY while they stand on their feet; and their eyes shall CONSUME AWAY in their holes, and their tongue shall CONSUME AWAY in their mouth.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that a GREAT TUMULT from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise against the hand of his neighbor…And so shall be the PLAGUE of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and all of the beasts that shall be in these tents, as THIS PLAGUE.”

There’s many other places where the DAY OF THE LORD is shown and DEFINED. However, I have offered enough scriptural evidence to SHOW that it’s WOE to those who DESIRE to be WITHIN that terrible time.  (See Amos 5:18.)  The only REASON that SOME sincere Christians think they will be INSIDE that TERRIBLE TIME OF TROUBLE, is because they DO NOT have a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of what the scripture teaches.  They have NOT studied the WHOLE COUNSEL of God, but have JAMMED bits and pieces TOGETHER which they say SUPPORT their views (and OBVIOUSLY, they have made mistakes).

[A great RULE of INTERPRETATION is this:  If what you believe CONFLICTS with what God has said ELSEWHERE in scripture, your OPINIONS CANNOT be correct!]

With the PICTURE of Jesus ACTING as a JUDGE made clear, bringing the WRATH of God during the ENTIRE seven years of the TRIBULATION, we who are TRUE CHRISTIANS of a FAITHFUL CHURCH can be ASSURED that we’ll NEVER be WITHIN that DREADFUL TIME of TROUBLE!  WE won’t SEE or EXPERIENCE any of God’s WRATH!  BELIEVE IT!

Now I'm ready to offer a SOLID REASON why we, the BRIDE of Jesus Christ, the BLOOD-BOUGHT members of HIS BODY, will NOT be cast into the HORRENDOUS JUDGMENT of the TRIBULATION.  The whole IDEA is ANATHEMA to those of us who have ACCEPTED Jesus as our SAVIOR.


SAVED FROM THE WRATH TO COME


We, the TRUE CHURCH, are NOT APPOINTED to WRATH. (1 Thessalonians 5:9Romans 5:9.)

(1.)  When that TRUTH is mentioned, some people JUMP TO THE CONCLUSION that the WRATH being spoken about IS WHEN God sits on His Great White Throne and sentences people to HELL--because they have REJECTED Him. 

(2.)  Others INSIST that the WRATH being talked about IS THAT which occurs WHEN the SEVEN BOWLS are poured out, CLOSE TO the END of the TRIBULATION.

In the FIRST INSTANCE, people are correct to claim that the TRUE CHURCH is NOT destined for HELL--but, they ADD that, FOR SURE, we’ll NEED to suffer ALL the HORRORS of the TRIBULATION!!

The SECOND belief THRUSTS the CHURCH into MOST of the TRIBULATION, with THE RAPTURE happening at the BLOWING of the 7th TRUMPET--just BEFORE the BOWL JUDGMENTS begin.

So much CONFUSION abounds!  As I visit various CHRISTIAN websites, I find MANY who ARGUE over the TIMING of the RAPTURE.

I’ve CALMED myself on many occasions, saying that I REFUSE to ARGUE.  If people are TRULY “born again,” what they THINK about the RAPTURE doesn’t matter.  When the EVENT OCCURS, they’ll be CAUGHT UP (harpazoed--Pre-Tribulation)--based upon THE FACT that they’re TRULY SAVED.

I’ve recently had a change of heart!  I now speak up concerning the mistaken conclusions.

One motivating factor is that I HATE error.  A second reason is that I want OTHERS to know the BLESSED HOPE which is GIVEN to the CHURCH--(and PERHAPS a few will read about these things--and change a their minds).

A THIRD factor truly BOTHERS me. These people (who argue against a Pre-Tribulation Rapture) DO NOT focus upon the APPEARING of Jesus in the air (which is definitely promised)!  Instead, they look for ALL the TROUBLES of the TRIBULATION and are expecting the REVEALING of the “Antichrist.”  Perhaps I’m a trifle harsh, but, somehow, this feels a little BLASPHEMOUS to me, ESPECIALLY since I know ALL that Jesus has SUFFERED to MAKE His people READY to MEET HIM!

Many (who teach that THE CHURCH must enter and SURVIVE the TRIBULATION) display a certain DEGREE of FEAR in their postings, saying things like, “I know it will be TERRIBLE, but I HOPE Jesus will help me through it,” or “I EXPECT Jesus to give me what I need when the ‘Antichrist’ arrives to KILL ME.”

In my “next series” of blogs, I hope to offer refreshing and inspiring GOOD NEWS!  I’ll FOCUS upon what Jesus has DONE to SAVE us.  I’ll SHOW our SPIRITUAL POSITION in Jesus, and WHAT it INCLUDES [this was done in my “The Church’s Position (in Jesus) And The Pre-Trib Rapture” series].  I pray that these TRUTHS open a few eyes to the AWESOME WORK Jesus has ALREADY accomplished FOR us!

Are you prepared to RECEIVE this blessing?

I’ll begin with the ENCOURAGEMENT given by the Apostle Paul to the CHURCH in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11.  (REMEMBER the CONTEXT of this scripture--Paul has been INSTRUCTING the Thessalonians about meeting Jesus in the air, in the clouds, at the RAPTURE.  He goes on to SAY…)

“For God has NOT APPOINTED us to WRATH, but to OBTAIN SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who DIED for us, that whether we WAKE or SLEEP, we should LIVE TOGETHER with Him.  Wherefore COMFORT yourselves together, and EDIFY one another, even as you also do.”

That scripture is QUITE PLAIN and EASY to understand.  The SALVATION spoken about here is a RESCUE, a DELIVERANCE in order to experience SAFETY, and quite simply, to be SAVED.  What are we to be DELIVERED and KEPT SAFE from?

In the CONTEXT of the TWO Thessalonian epistles, we are to be RESCUED FROM the DAY OF THE LORD (the coming HOUR of TRIBULATION), by being CAUGHT UP (RAPTURED--whether AWAKE or ASLEEP).

It’s ALSO of IMPORTANCE to RECOGNIZE this--Paul writes about those in the CHURCH who are either AWAKE or ASLEEP.  (This reference is NOT talking about the SLEEP of UNBELIEF as shown in 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7!)  INSTEAD, Paul is directing us BACK to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 where the PASSAGE is in THE PROPER CONTEXT of COMFORT to the CHURCH!  It’s WHERE Paul defines the ONES who are “SLEEPING.”  They are those believers Who have DIED (during the AGE OF THE CHURCH) having their FAITH placed upon Jesus.  Those AWAKE, in this context, are those who are “ALIVE and REMAIN unto the COMING of the Lord” (in the RAPTURE).

(We must ALWAYS keep a message WITHIN its PROPER CONTEXT.  This is KNOWN by Bible scholars as DOING a correct EXEGESIS.  In Scripture it’s called--“RIGHTLY DIVIDING the Word.”)

The RAPTURE of the CHURCH is another manifestation of God’s GRACE (which is a FREE GIFT, or a PRESENT from Him, IN JESUS.)  The SALVATION (that DELIVERANCE from the TIME of the TRIBULATION) is something which CANNOT be EARNED by performing GOOD WORKS.  It’s something which God GIVES His people THROUGH GRACE.  God has shown His GRACE toward us by SENDING His Son, so that we “OBTAIN SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ, WHO DIES FOR US.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:10.)  Our PREREQUISITE for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is to be FOUND in FAITH in Jesus--trusting in WHAT He did for us at the cross!

We’re so familiar with this CONCEPT!

“For God SO LOVED the world, that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVES in Him should NOT perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE.”  (John 3:16.)

By the shed blood of Jesus, our SINS are forgiven, and by our ACCEPTING this GIFT, and INVITING Jesus to LIVE in our hearts, we are BORN AGAIN, made RIGHTEOUS and READY to LIVE in God’s VERY PRESENCE in His HEAVENLY ABODE.

In the RAPTURE (as PART of God’s GRACE), we’ll be CAUGHT UP and taken to our HEAVENLY MANSIONS!  It’s ALL a FACET of God’s GIFT to us in Jesus!  A true and believing CHURCH is gifted with God’s amazing GRACE--in our PROMISED RAPTURE!  (Remember, too, the AGE of the CHURCH is God WORKING according to His ADMINISTRATION [dispensation] of GRACE toward His true CHURCH! See Colossians 1:25-27.)

We, the TRUE CHURCH, are NOT APPOINTED to the WRATH of God! We ARE the BENEFICIARIES of His GRACE!  A powerful and awesome truth!  We should NEVER lose SIGHT of this WONDERFUL fact!

Have a wonderful and AWESOME day, focusing upon Jesus, the SAVIOR of our souls.

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.

We welcome JESUS in the RAPTURE.  We look forward to His KINGDOM of PEACE in the Millennium!  YES, EVEN SO, COME…our AWESOME and MAGNIFICENT LORD JESUS! 

1 comment:

  1. Sharon, I have only recently found your blog and have printed out many things to feed upon. For, it seems in my scanning, that you and I have similar background and foundational beliefs. Angels of Light -- wow! That dear brother was one of the saints God used to first give me the understanding of the blessed hope and the conditions to be in that company who would receive this promise in fulness. I have been in a backslidden, complacent state for several years now. But it seems always that this promise is what God uses to put me back in the narrow way. If you would please pray for my restoration and illumination to be restored, I would be grateful. For, I know from whence I fell and I know that God is speaking His promise to me again -- "Draw near to me and I WILL draw near to you."

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