Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My attention has been elsewhere

Lately I have been concentrating on my other blog:

Shoes Off at the Door, Please

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Apologies to my Pre-Trib brethren for this post

Often you hear Christians gasp with amazement when they hear about the peculiar doctrines of cults like the Mormons and JWs. They often exclaim "How can anybody believe that?"

Typically, they have not read enough of the cults material too understand the reasoning behind some of these false doctrines. Hence, when they actually meet real live cult followers, they are confounded and have no idea how to answer them.

These false doctrines have not been plucked from the air. They are supported by twisted readings of scriptural passages. They are invariably based on wrong methods of eisegesis. Yet the reasoning behind them makes sense. When they present their arguments, you can see where they are going.

Yet despite the smart arguments, you are still left with the thought in your head "How can anybody come to that conclusion?"

For all the great theology that has come from Dispensationalist theologians, my thoughts on the Pre-Trib rapture are still exactly the same as my reaction to the odd doctrines of the cults- "How can anybody come to that conclusion?"

I have read book after book by Pre-Trib theologians. Yet I am still baffled as to how people come to think that there is a pre-trib rapture. The more arguments that Pre-Tribbers raise, the more implausible there proposition seems to me.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Be Prepared!- Ron Wallace

by Ron Wallace

BE PREPARED!

A motivational article in view of the pre-wrath rapture.

Jesus taught his disciples the things concerning the kingdom of God. This of necessity included the subject of His return to the earth in fulfillment of the OT Day of the LORD prophecies as well as the signs of the end of the age.
1. He taught the FACT of His return.
2. He taught about events preceding His return.
3. He taught about the physical signs preceding His return.
4. And a little bit about what would happen after His return.

The disciples as the seed pod for the church of Christ, were taught information pertinent to them; and through them, as representatives of the church, information pertinent to the whole church.

The church therefore received as its heritage the teachings of Jesus to the disciples. And as its heritage, those teachings are pertinent to the church and applicable to the church just as if they had been directly taught to each member.

The significance of this is seen when we discuss the Olivet Discourse. What Jesus taught the disciples was pertinent to them and applicable to them as representatives of the church, and through them, it was pertinent to and applicable to the church as a whole.

So what we see in that passage is the history of the church, as taught with the disciples in mind and through them, with the whole church in mind. And that the history of the church is viewed without interruption until the tribulation of those days is cut short by the Day of the LORD arrival of Jesus and the angels of God are sent forth to gather His elect from the four winds of heaven.

The eleven disciples and Paul, as the 12 apostles of the lamb, were then used by God to pass on this heritage of doctrine to the church and to add to it as the Holy Spirit provided amplification. And in the amplification of that eschatological heritage we have only clear confirmation that the history of the church will progress without interruption into and to the end of that great oppression of the antichrist and be raptured out from this world at the Day of the LORD, when God the Father will pour out His wrath and the wrath of the Lamb upon the kingdom of the beast and upon the unbelievers of the whole world. Luke 21.28
But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and
lift up your head, because your redemption is drawing near.

Some people say that an understanding of prophecy and the rapture is not important. Let me adamantly disagree. If the Lord shall return for His church before that 7 year period of time known in the bible as the 70th week of Daniel or indeed prior to that oppressive reign of antichrist known as the great tribulation, then the church can continue about its business with little concern about the awesome suffering and oppression that will occur on the earth when they are gone.

Christians can continue in their apathy and indifference to spiritual values and continue to live in misery, frustration and stress during the time of their stay here on the earth. For the sad reality of it all is, that most Christians are indeed, living a life far removed from the quality of life of peace and joy that Jesus promised us.

HOWEVER, if Christ shall return at the end of the great tribulation as He said He would in Matthew 24, then it should be clear to most, that the church is ill-prepared to face the nature of that persecution which will come upon them from the oppressive reign of the antichrist.
It is one thing for Christians, here in America, to be living with an abundance of material possessions and still be miserable and frustrated with life. But it is quite another thing to face the economic controls of the beast which will place all Christians in a category worse than the homeless, being unable to conduct ANY financial transactions without the mark of the beast.

It is then that the reality of their inner misery will be open and made clear to them for they will no longer have the possessions of this life to hide in as an escape from the emptiness in their soul. And they will be unable to take the mark of the beast in an attempt to alleviate those economic woes, for God will not allow any of His children to accept that mark once they have trusted in Christ as savior.

Thus, their life will be one of wandering or martyrdom or death by divine discipline. And if it is a life of wandering, the believer needs to be prepared with bible truth in his soul. God's word in the soul is the only thing that can provide true peace and joy now as well as during the time of oppression.

But preparation must be accomplished NOW; before the time of oppression arrives, for then it will be too late to stock pile the truth in your soul. We are exhorted to redeem the time because the days are evil. This is a plea to learn what the will of the Lord is and saturate our souls with truth. God's system for doing this is through a pastor-teacher in a local church. And it is within this context that the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some us, but we are to be encouraging one another and to a much greater degree as we see the DAY approaching. We should follow the example of Moses that we find at Psalm 90:12, So teach us to assign our days so that we might gain a heart of wisdom.

The urgency for spiritual growth - growth in grace and knowledge is pressed upon us NOW. There will come a time when such growth will be difficult to experience, "for a famine is coming upon the whole land - not a famine for bread or thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD. And the people will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it. In that day, the beautiful maidens and the young men will faint from THIRST." (Amos 8.11-13) They will weaken and faint from "spiritual" thirst, because of a hunger and need for the word of God in the soul, but they will find no strength - either within themselves to be at peace or to be a testimony for the truth of the gospel to the many unbelievers who will be faced with the decision to take the mark of the beast or not.

The issue then for a proper understanding of the prophetic program as God has revealed it to us in His word is the issue of preparation. Christians know so little about God and about His word, the bible. And their quality of life is an inferior quality of life in comparison to the abundant life of peace and joy that Jesus promised us. But what will happen when the crisis is upon them and they are not prepared to deal with it? Then the experience of Proverbs 1:24-29 will be a sad reality for the vast majority of Christians even as it is in fact a very present reality for so many today.

"Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand,
and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel,
and did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes; When your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer (remember the famine); they will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled up with their own solutions."



"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard, lest being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him - the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
2 Peter 3.17-18



©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Watchman Nee on the Four Judgments

by Watchman Nee

Having differentiated between reward and salvation, we can now touch upon a related problem—the subject of judgment. Without judgment, how can it be determined who is saved and who is unsaved? Without judgment, how can it be known who will be rewarded and who will suffer loss? The Bible unfolds to us four different kinds of judgment: (1) the Lord Jesus was judged for us on the cross; (2) the believers will be judged as to their works before the judgment seat of Christ; (3) the nations will be judged on earth (Matt. 25.31-46); and (4) God’s judgment of the dead (or, of the great white throne) (Rev. 20.11-15). Of these four judgments, one has already passed, but three are coming in the future. All who are willing to believe in the Lord Jesus as their Savior will have their problem of sins forever solved due to the effect of Christ having been judged for sins on the cross. They are therefore saved, they have received eternal life, and they will be judged no more (see John 3.18, Rom. 8.1). They will not be judged for sins anymore because the Lord Jesus has suffered for them on the cross.

But although believers will not be judged for sin, the Bible nonetheless indicates that they will still be judged (2 Cor. 5.10; Rom. 14.10-12; Matt. 25.14-30; 1 Cor. 3.10-15; etc.). What judgment is that? Not the judgment as to whether one is saved or perishes, since this issue has already been resolved for the believer by the cross. Moreover, 1 Corinthians 3.15 states that in this judgment there is no danger of perishing. Hence this judgment is that judgment of the works of saints. The judgment of the cross concludes our lives as sinners. The judgment seat of Christ concludes our lives as believers.

Before the judgment seat of Christ we are going to be examined as to our lives lived from the day we first believed in the Lord and onward. Sins which have been confessed will not be brought up. Some believers will have served the Lord faithfully—having sufferedmuch and forsaken all things, having done the will of God without any ulterior motive except to please Him. These people will be rewarded and will reign with Christ in unspeakable glory. How great and good this will be! For the Lord’s heart will be pleased, and they will receive glory. Let us seek for it! Some others may have faltered at times, but if they have confessed their sins, they will be washed by the precious blood so that they may renew their pursuit and follow the Lord along the narrow path of the cross. These too shall receive His reward. As to others, however, they may not have sinned, but their works were like wood, hay and stubble since they sought after the approval of men and worked with a double motive. These shall not be rewarded at all but will suffer tremendous loss. And then there will be still others who after being saved will have continued to commit many sins—unconfessed and unrepented of; such people will be punished instead of rewarded. Although their eternal salvation is an unshakable matter, they will nonetheless be severely disciplined by the Lord. Revelation 1-3 discloses the attitude of the Lord Jesus in judging His saints. It is the prelude to the judgment seat of Christ.

The third of these four judgments—the judgment of nations—will be determined according to how each nation will have treated the Jews during the Great Tribulation. This judgment will take place at the end of the Tribulation but before the commencement of the millennial kingdom. What is to take place as described in Revelation 16.12-16 and 19.11-21 has reference to this judgment.
The fourth and final judgment is that of the great white throne—that is to say, God’s judgment of the dead (see Rev. 20.11-15).

Since the book of Revelation speaks so much of judgment, an awareness of these four judgments to be found in the Scriptures will help us to understand the different judgments spoken of in this final book of the Bible.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Watchman Nee on the New Jerusalem

by Watchman Nee

21.9-27 “THE NEW JERUSALEM”

21.9 Now the name of the wife of the Lamb is given. Many people consider the church to be the wife of the Lamb since, they say, there cannot be a literal New Jerusalem in the future. Many are the proofs, however, that the New Jerusalem is a literal new city:

(1) At that time the church as we know it today no longer exists, for she now becomes only a part of all the redeemed.

(2) Being a book of revelation, its chapters 2 and 3 plainly point out the churches quite clearly and specifically; why then should the New Jerusalem mentioned in chapter 21 of this same book be something other than the clearly stated and specifically mentioned New Jerusalem?

(3) According to 3.12 the New Jerusalem is what the church hopes for. If New Jerusalem is indeed the church, how could the church hope for the church? It would be senseless and illogical.

(4) In 19.7-13 the New Jerusalem is seen as the bride whereas the church is a guest, thus showing that the church is not New Jerusalem.

(5) How can there be no new city in the new heaven and the new earth? Where will people stay if they come to worship God? Did not our Lord expressly say that “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14.2)?

(6) If the woman mentioned in 12.1 refers to Jerusalem and the great harlot cited in 17.1 points to the city of Rome, how can the wife of the Lamb spoken of in 21.9 not be a reference to an actual city?

(7) After the blowing of the seventh trumpet the kingdom has arrived and the mystery is fulfilled. Since New Jerusalem subsists in the new heaven and the new earth, it cannot be considered a mystery, and therefore it must be literal.

(8) At the time of chapter 17 when John sees Babylon, he cannot cease wondering because it is a mystery which must be explained by an angel to him. Here, though, John is not amazed at all, neither does he need an angel to interpret to him. Hence what is here before us must be an actual city.

(9) People deem the wife of the Lamb to be the church because they adopt a totally spiritual view of eternity. Who knows, though, but what in the new heaven and the new earth everything is real and substantial? If God chose to use gold and silver in the building of Solomon’s temple, why can there not be gold and silver in the building by God of a new city in the new heaven and the new earth?

(10) Since many at that time are to be resurrected bodily, that is, they are to have a spiritual body, will they not need a place to stay?

(11) Here we are told the structure, dimensions, and materials of the city of New Jerusalem. These can hardly be applied to the church.

(12) 21.27 plainly implies that many will enter the city. If the city is the church which is itself made up of people, how can people enter into people? Furthermore, 21.25 says that the gates of the city are not shut by day. How can this fact be something related to the church?

(13) Here in 21.9 the wife of the Lamb is shown to John. Now if the wife of the Lamb is a mystery and the New Jerusalem is an explanation, how can an explanation not be taken literally?

(14) The New Jerusalem is contrasted with the Old Jerusalem. As Old Jerusalem is a literal city, so New Jerusalem must also be a literal city. It therefore cannot be taken as the church.

(15) Galatians 4 distinctly tells us that “the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother” (v.26). This Jerusalem is quite different from the church, so Paul says it is our (that is, the church’s) mother. Thus we cannot maintain that New Jerusalem is the church.

(16) Hebrews 11 says that Abraham “looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (v.10). The New Jerusalem is a true city with foundations. Did Abraham look for the church? He could not have known the church at his time.

(17) Hebrews 12.22 mentions the heavenly Jerusalem and the innumerable hosts of angels. Verse 23 of the same chapter speaks of the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven (this means the church), speaks also of God who is the Judge of all, and of spirits of just men made perfect (the saints of old). There are altogether five classes enumerated here; namely, (1) God, (2) angels, (3) saints of the Old Testament time, (4) the church, and (5) the heavenly Jerusalem. The church and the heavenly Jerusalem are listed separately, therefore they cannot be the same.

[Translator’s Note: When Mr. Nee first gave these Bible readings on Revelation in the early days of his ministry he adopted a more literal interpretation of the holy city, New Jerusalem. In his later work, already quoted from earlier in this study and first entitled in Chinese as Holy and Without Blemish (but subsequently published in Chinese under the title The Glorious Church), the author took a more spiritual approach to its interpretation. What follows below are some highlights from this approach, translated directly from the first Chinese edition of Shanghai, 1953, pp. 133-155.]

21.10 “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high”—If we wish to see the eternal vision of God we need to be brought by God to a great and high mountain. Unless we stand on a spiritual high mountain we cannot see anything. Those who live on the plain will not be able to see the New Jerusalem—the finality of God’s work.

“The holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”—The wife of the Lamb whom John saw was the holy city Jerusalem. The description of the city is allegorical. By its description we are told of the corporate body which God from eternity has purposed to obtain.

This is a city which comes out of heaven from God. God pays attention not only to where this corporate man will go but from whence he comes out as well. Not only the destiny but also the source. The wife of the Lamb comes out of heaven, not from earth. God does not show us here the man who has a past history of sin but is now saved by grace. This does not mean of course, that we do not have a history of sin, therefore needing neither repentance nor salvation. This passage of Scripture simply reveals to us that portion which comes out of God, which is the glorious church of Ephesians 5 that is to be presented to Christ.

One characteristic of this new Jerusalem is holiness. Among Christians, some look for greatness, some look for holiness. The former is the principle of Babylon, whereas the latter is the principle of New Jerusalem. What is holiness? We may say that only God is holy; therefore, all that comes out of God is holy: “For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one” (Heb. 2.11).

21.11 “Having the glory of God . . . a jasper stone”—The God on the throne whom John saw was like a jasper stone (see 4.3). In other words, jasper means the God who is seen. The God whom we know as we stand before His throne is like jasper stone. Our knowledge of God today here on earth is at best termed “darkly” or “in a riddle” (1 Cor. 13.12 mg.); but in the city which has the glory of God like a jasper stone we shall then see Him as He is—“clear as crystal” (v. 11).

21.12-14 “Having twelve gates, . . . and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: . . . And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”—Whom does this corporate man include? Having the twelve names of the tribes of Israel on its gates and the twelve names of the apostles on its foundations, this city includes all the Old and the New Testament saints. At the time of the new heaven and the new earth, all who have the life of God are to be included in the New Jerusalem.

21.15-17 “And he that spake with me had for a measure a golden reed to measure . . . the wall thereof”—Besides the glory of God, the next thing mentioned is the wall of the city. Separation—as depicted here by a wall—is an important principle in Christian living. Lack of separation devaluates the Christian’s worth. A line must be drawn between what is spiritual and what is carnal. New Jerusalem has its boundary, its wall of separation. From this we learn that whatever is of Babylon must be rejected and whatever is of God must be protected. Building a city wall is not an easy task; it is greatly hated by Satan. For example, when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to build the city wall, he was opposed vehemently by Sanballat and Tobiah. Consequently, with one hand he held his weapon and with the other hand he built. Let us ask God to teach us how to take up spiritual weapons against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies and how at the same time to maintain the principle of separation.

Having the names of the twelve apostles on the foundations means that everything in the city is based on the principle of the kingdom of God as proclaimed by the apostles. “Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2.20) simply means that the revelation which the apostles received from the Lord is the foundation of New Jerusalem.

Why are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on the doors? The answer is supplied by the words of the Lord Jesus himself, who declared that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4.22).

The Bible employs gold to represent all that is of God. To measure with a golden reed suggests that this city is measurable by God’s standard, for it meets His standard.

“And the city lieth foursquare, . . . the length and the breadth and the height thereof are equal”—In the Scriptures we find that only the holiest of all things in the temple and the New Jerusalem are in perfect cubes. This is thus to imply that in the new heaven and the new earth the New Jerusalem will be the holiest of all to God.

“According to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel”—Why at that time is the measure of a man equal to the measure of an angel? In resurrection, men shall be equal to the angels (Luke 20.36). In other words, all that is in the city is on resurrection ground. That which cannot be bound and retained by death is called resurrection. Whatever comes out of us will be finished at the cross; that which is of God cannot be touched by death.

21.18-21 “And the city was pure gold, like unto pure glass”—One special feature of New Jerusalem is that the gold therein is pure. Everything is wholly of God; there is not a speck of mixture. Whatever is not of God is dross. No one can say to God that he has something in himself to give to Him. What God wants is nothing but pure gold.

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones”—There is a basic difference between gold and precious stone. The first is a single chemical element, but the second is a compound. Gold is directly created by God, whereas precious stone is the result of the fusing together of several elements under the earth after they have gone through extremely high temperature accompanied by pressure. In other words, what the precious stone represents is not that which God gives directly to man, rather it stands for the refining work which the Holy Spirit has done in man. The life which God gives to us is gold, the life which God forges in us is precious stone. God does not stop with merely imparting the life of Christ to us; He goes on to incorporate or work into us that life in us.

“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls”—Pearl is formed by the secretion of a mollusk in the sea after it is wounded by a grain of sand or other foreign matter. Hence pearl signifies that life which comes out of death. It represents the life which the Lord Jesus Christ has released in His death on the non-atoning side.

“And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass”—A street is a place for fellowship. Inasmuch as the street of the city is pure gold, all who walk on it will never have their feet defiled. Today all who are bathed still need to wash their feet continually (John 13.10) in order to maintain their fellowship with God. For as long as we walk on this earth we cannot help but be contaminated by the dust of the earth, thus affecting our fellowship with God. But the day shall come when nothing will defile us nor hinder our fellowship with God. In eternity nothing defiles us, therefore our whole life shall be holy.

“As it were transparent glass”—Today many situations are opaque, but in the future everything shall be transparent before God. If that is the case, then we must begin to learn even today to be true and transparent, not attempting to pretend to be what we are not.

[Here ends the translated portion of highlights of the author’s spiritual approach to an interpretation of the holy city, New Jerusalem, taken directly from Mr. Nee’s Holy and Without Blemish (Shanghai, 1953, pp. 133-155).—Translator]

21.10 “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high”—This is in contrast to the words “And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness” found in 17.3.

21.11 This city especially has the glory of God. Formerly, in the old temple, the glory of God was not too obvious since it appeared like a cloud.

“Her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal”—Crystal is transparent. Today even the light of the sun is opaque, but the light of New Jerusalem in the future will be transparent.

The Gates of the City

21.12,13,21 “Having twelve gates”—According to 21.21 the street of the city is singular in number. Since there are twelve gates we would naturally assume that there should be twelve streets. Why though, is there only one street? It may possibly be that the street is like a city plaza which is open to the gates on every side.

“And at the gates, twelve angels”—The angels here are guarding the gates of the new city, not reigning over the city.

“And names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel”—Israel represents the law of God. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls” (21.21)—Pearl stands for the righteousness of God. Together they show that the entry into the city of God is according to God’s law and righteousness.

The Height of the City

21.14-17 “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations”—According to 21.16 an angel measures the city with a golden reed: “And the city lieth foursquare, . . . twelve thousand furlongs: the length and the breadth and the height thereof are equal” (21.16); but then it is said that “he measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits” (21.17). How are these calculations to be reconciled? The total height of the city is 12,000 furlongs (1500 miles), while the height of the wall is 144 cubits (72 yards). The total height is measured from the bottom foundation to the throne of God. The figure of 12,000 furlongs is a multiple of 12 which is the eternally perfect number.

The wall of the city has twelve foundations. It is quite likely that they are built one upon another and that the upper level is smaller than the lower level, similar to the structure of the Egyptian pyramid. Hence all twelve layers are visible.

“And on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”—The apostles represent the grace of God, therefore it is the grace of God which forms the foundations of the city wall.

City and Wall

21.18 “And the building of the wall thereof was jasper”—The city itself is of pure gold. Hence the gold is transparent, something quite different from ordinary gold.

21.19,20 “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones”—There are twelve precious stones with twelve various hues.

Some suggest that the colors of these precious stones are: (1) Green, (2) Blue, (3) Blue, (4) Green, (5) Red, (6) Red, (7) Yellow, (8) Sea-green, (9) Yellow, (10) Golden green, (11) Purple, and (12) Purple.

The blending of these colors must be of exquisite beauty. The merging of the colors from (5) to (12) above will produce a rainbow-like appearance.

21.22 There is no temple in the new city. During the Old Testament period only the temple was holy, the rest of the land was not reckoned holy. At the time of the Lord Jesus the temple was still on the earth. During the church period there is a temple in heaven but none on earth. In the millennium, however, there will be a temple on earth as well as one in heaven. In the new heaven and the new earth there will no more be a temple, since there will be no need to offer sacrifice for sin. The entire new city is most holy. Formerly, men communed with God through the temple; now, all who live in the city can commune with God directly because He and the Lamb have become the center of this new city.

21.23 It is said here that there is no need for the sun and moon to shine upon the new city. It does not say, however, that there will be neither sun nor moon in the new heaven and the new earth. Having the glory of God to lighten the city and the Lamb as its lamp, the new city certainly has no need for the sun and the moon to shine upon it.

21.24 “And the nations shall walk amidst the light thereof”—All who live in the city have a resurrected body, but those who dwell on the new earth still possess a body of flesh and blood. These are the nations dwelling on the new earth, though they are no longer divided by race or tongue or tribe. These are the people who live at the end of the millennium and who are not deceived by Satan at the last revolt.

The saved in the city include all who believe in the Lord and trust in His precious blood—both during the Old and the New Testament times; for the gates of the new city have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the foundations of the city have the names of the twelve apostles.

All who live in the new city are sons (21.7), and they reign as kings (22.3). All who dwell on the new earth are those people who are transferred livingly from the millennial kingdom to be the peoples (21.3) of the new earth.

“The kings of the earth” are those who rule among the nations in eternity. They are higher in rank than the rest of the people, yet they are not the same as the kings in the city. Our Lord is the King of all kings, and we believers are kings of these kings of the earth.

“Walk” means travel. During the millennium the earthly Jerusalem will be deemed the capital of the world. The nations will travel to it once every few years. Now, in eternity, the nations will also travel to the New Jerusalem. They will be guided in their travel by the light of the city, thus they need no other guidance. (The light of the city will guide them just as the star mentioned in Matthew 2.9 guided the magi from the East.) The city itself needs no earthly light, yet the people on earth depend on the light of the city.

“And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it”—The “glory” mentioned here probably means, according to the Old Testament understanding, the best products of the lands. It is quite evident from Genesis 31 that the word “glory” there applies to property or good things on earth. In bringing their glory to the city, the nations bring in the best from their lands as offerings to God (cf. also Esther 1.4).

21.25 According to this verse there will still be night and day in the new heaven and the new earth. The kings of the earth may travel towards the new city in the daytime. In the new city, however, there is no night.

The conditions of the people in the new heaven and the new earth will be somewhat similar to the conditions of Adam and Eve before the fall. They still have a body of flesh and blood.

Five times in this book “day and night” or “night” is mentioned in connection with eternity (7.15, 14.11, 20.10, 21.25, 22.5). Therefore, there must be day and night in the new heaven and the new earth. Nevertheless, in the city there is no night, and hence the people who live there can serve God day and night. Since they have a resurrection body, they will never grow tired; thus can it be said that they are able to serve God day and night.

21.26 The peoples of the nations will follow their kings in bringing glory and honor to the city. Things work out most harmoniously.

21.27 “Anything unclean” can also be translated “anything common”, which means things that are worth nothing.

“He that maketh an abomination” refers to idol-worshipers. “A lie” points especially to witchcraft and sorcery. This does not mean that there will still be idol-worship and sorcery in eternity. It only reflects upon the fact of how clean, how solemn, and how noble is the city.

“They that are written in the Lamb’s book”—In the new heaven and the new earth dwell two kinds of people. One kind of people are those of us who have been saved through the blood of the Lord Jesus and are privileged to live in the new city; the other kind of people are those who are removed livingly from the millennial kingdom into the new heaven and the new earth, thus becoming the inhabitants of the new earth. Our names being written in the book of life, we may permanently live in the city. The inhabitants of the new earth have their names also written in the book of life, but they can only go in and out of the new city.

The style of living of these inhabitants of the new earth is very much similar to that of Adam before the fall (except that there will not be any sinning in eternity). This view of the similarity to Adam prior to the fall is backed up by the following proofs:

(1) “In the resurrection”, said the Lord, “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage” (Matt. 22.30). Only those with a resurrection body are not engaged in marriage. The inhabitants of the new earth do not have a resurrection body, therefore they will still be involved in marriage.

(2) The situation in the new heaven and the new earth is similar to that in the garden of Eden before Adam’s fall. Consequently, the inhabitants of the new earth will live and multiply as Adam did of old.

(3) Of the Ten Commandments one in part says this: “Showing loving-kindness unto a thousand generations of them that love me and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20.6 mg.). If mankind does not propagate itself over a thousand generations, how can God ever make such a promise? From Adam to the Lord Jesus there were only 76 generations (Luke 3.23-38 counts God in the genealogy, thus adding up to 77 generations). The time from Adam to Christ was about 4000 years, and in such a long period there were only 76 generations! How many generations can there have been from Christ to the present? Computing scientifically and taking 30 years as one generation, then in 2000 years there can only be 70 to 80 generations. During the millennium people will live long, hence there will be fewer generations. Now granting that there might be as many as 50 generations during the millennium, the total for these three periods will only account for 200 to 300 generations. Subtract 300 from only a thousand, we still have 700 left. How will these remaining generations ever be fulfilled? Doubtless the inhabitants of the new earth will continue to be fruitful and to multiply, except that there will be no more death.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reasons why unfaithful believers might spend time in hell during the Millennium

Traditional Free Grace theology tends to be a bit vague about the eschatological consequences for unfaithful believers. In contrast, Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and Joseph Dillow make a powerful case that unfaithful believers will suffer loss of privilege and co-heirship with Christ.

While I think that Hodges/ Wilkin/ Dillow make a compelling case, a weakness of their position is the assumption that non-overcomers will be either in heaven or on the earth during the Millennium. The older Millennial Exclusion view holds that non-overcomers will be excluded from the Millennium and will be incarcerated in hell (Gehenna) during that period.

The idea of born-again, justified believers spending time in hell seems shocking, but there are some good reasons why this might be the case.

1. They have enjoyed the pleasures of this world. In hell they will see the consequences of the world's activity.

2. They have received the benefits of Christ's death yet have neglected to live out the implications of the cross in their lives. Experiencing hell temporarily will teach them the reality of what Christ saved them from.

3. The unfaithful lives of these saints prevented them from being a witness to their neighbours. In hell they would see those that they neglected to witness to.


This is not a nice idea, but I do think we should consider it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET, by Ron Wallace

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET

by Ron Wallace


"And the 7th angel sounded, and there arose loud voices in heaven,"

The 7th trumpet sounds at Revelation 11:15 and serves as an "announcement" of the final stage of God's wrath on the kingdom of the beast and the unbelievers of the world.

The section, 11:14-19 picks up from chapter 9:21 which is the 6th trumpet.

Revelation chapter 10 is a parenthetical section that reaffirms John's commission to proclaim truth throughout the remainder of his life. But in the middle (at verse 7) there is a reference to the 7th trumpet and the fact that when it sounds, "the mystery of God is finished."

The mystery of God is that which was proclaimed by the prophets. The fact that this revelation is assigned specifically to "the prophets" and not the "apostles and prophets," as at Ephesians 3:5, strongly suggests that Old Testament revelation is in view. In that case, "the mystery of God" refers to God's 6-point plan for the nation of Israel as outlined at Daniel 9:24.

The completion of that plan revolves around the final 7 years of Daniel's 70th week and the end of that 7 year period. It is at that time that the last 3 points of God's plan for Israel will be carried out as the Messiah begins -

(1) His righteous reign and "brings in everlasting righteousness."

(2) Fulfills the Old Testament "vision and prophet."

(3) And "anoints the most holy" in the Millennial temple which temple is described in Ezekiel chapters 40 through 43.

(Refer to discussion on Daniel's 70 weeks in the PROPHECY PERSPECTIVE index.)

Since Rev. 10:7 introduces the end of the week, the vision of John next records that end by focusing on the specific 1260 day ministry of the 2 witnesses who prophesy from the mid-point of the week until its end.

The passage in view (Revelation 11:1-13) is thus, parenthetical as it "back-tracks" to the mid-point of the week and moves to the end, at which time (actually 3 1/2 days later) the 7th trumpet will sound (Revelation 11:15).

The ministry of these two witnesses begins at the 2nd half when the beast begins his reign and they minister for the duration of the 2nd half of the week, exactly 1260 days. The end of the ministry of the witnesses and the "mystery of God being finished" is the same point in time, ie, the end of the 70th week.

Chapter 12 and 13 are also parenthetical and cover the persecution activity of Satan from the midpoint of the week, when he is physically kicked out of heaven and down to the earth. Chapter 12 introduces the two objects of his attack during the great tribulation.

1. The Jewish race as the Messianic people.

In order to identify this "victim" of Satan's oppression, the vision gives us a history lesson in v. 1-5. The lesson covers the history of Israel from the creation of the 12 tribes until the resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Messiah in 30 AD.

Then at v. 6, it reveals the final period of persecution which is the last half of Daniel's 70th week, during which time the "orthodox" Jews in the land, who refuse to take the mark of the beast, flee into the mountainous wilderness for protection. This corresponds with the warning that Jesus gave to "THOSE (not 'you') who are in Judea" to flee into the mountains at Matthew 24:16.



2. At verses 7-17, the vision relates the reason for the more intensive persecution that takes place at this time. It results when Satan is physically defeated and kicked out of heaven by God's angels. Therefore, "knowing that he has only a short time," he intensifies his aggressions not only against the "orthodox" of Israel (verses 13-15) but also with any church age believers he can "get his hands on" as indicated at verse 17, those "who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

This refers to the persecution against the church "before" the rapture and not against the 144,000 after the rapture. The main reason is that the 144,000 are clearly identified as Jewish and that identifying factor is significantly NOT used in Revelation 12:17 in reference to those who trust in Jesus.

The two groups in view are the "physical" nation of Israel and a body of believers known as those who "hold to the testimony of Jesus."

Since the "woman" is clearly contrasted with those who trust in Jesus, she represents the nation of Israel in unbelief, and not the 144,000 Jewish converts of Revelation 7.

Furthermore, the activity of the beast is unrestricted which is characteristic of his reign "before" the Day of the Lord. Whereas, after the Day of the Lord, the activity of the beast will be much hindered by the administration of the Day of the Lord judgments.

Chapter 13 refers to the same period of time as that which is in view at chapter 11:6-17 but amplifies the persecution by telling of the religious and economic controls the beast seeks to institute. It also provides insight about the beast's "right hand man," the false prophet or "beast out of the land." This "2nd beast" is a Jew ("out from the land") and represents and promotes the policies of the 1st beast, basically testifying with words and miracles that the 1st beast is indeed the promised Messiah and should be worshiped as God.

Chapter 14, then gives us a summary of the high points of the 2nd half of the week beginning with the "sealing" of the 144,000 Jewish "servants" of the Lord after the rapture and concluding with the gathering of the nations to Armageddon which is the 6th bowl.

Chapter 14 does not begin with the mid-point of the week, but later, after the tribulation has been cut short and the 144,000 "servants," begin their evangelistic function as representatives of the nation of Israel. However, this chapter concludes just beyond the end of the 70th week, at the end of the 30 day time of "final" wrath which immediately follows the end of the week. Ie, the battle of Armageddon (Verse 14:20).

THE LAST TRUMPET

The 7th trumpet is not the "last trumpet" spoken of by Paul.
They should not be equated but are separate and distinct.
Paul's use of "last trumpet" refers to the call to assembly in the context of the Roman games; or even in a military context. Either of these would be Paul's frame of reference. In both of these cases there was a preliminary trumpet (sometimes 2) and then the last one which was a call to assembly. This is the call to assembly for the gathering of the saints.

He would have no knowledge of John's vision and the 7 trumpets.
Even though the Holy Spirit "melds" all of scripture, it is not advisable to interpret Paul's use in any other way than the cultural context of the day which speaks of the "call to assembly."

That is what will occur at the rapture. It is called THE trumpet of God at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, because it is at this time that he will "call" for the gathering of his people to meet Him in the clouds of the sky. Nor does it require the "actual" occurrence of one or two trumpet blasts before it, for the image in Paul's mind is simply focusing on the final blast which is the "call to assembly."

The 7th trumpet, on the other hand, is an announcement of judgment and not a call to assembly.

DETAILS concerning the 7th trumpet:

FACTOR #1: The Mystery of God is finished. Revelation 10:7

As previously discussed, this refers to the fulfillment of the Old Testament revelation about God's plan for the nation of Israel before Messiah's kingdom is established. The mystery of God in this case is the restoration of Israel to the place of "true" evangelistic activity as the 144,000 Jews trust in Messiah and become "servants of God."

This is the mystery that Paul mentioned at Romans 11:25-29 which relates two primary issues:

(1) a "partial" hardening of Israel

(2) "all Israel will be saved"

This begins with the conversion of the 144,000 Jews immediately after the rapture of the church which is when "the fullness of the Gentiles" comes in.

FACTOR #2: the announcement of Messiah's reign. (Revelation 11:15-17)

Revelation 11:15, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

This indicates that the reign of the beast has come to an end and that the Messiah is about to set up His own earthly reign.

However, that "official" kingdom does not occur for at least 30 days. It is preceded by the 7 bowl judgments recorded at Revelation 16:1-21.

According to Daniel 12:11, it will not be until 30 days later that the "defilement" of the temple is cleansed.

"And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished (at the mid-point of the week) and the abomination of desolation is set up (at the same time), there will be 1290 days."

This is 30 days more than the designated 1260 days (3 1/2 years, 42 months) of the 2nd half mentioned at Daniel 12:6-7.

We must not be confused by the praise-language at Revelation 11:16-17,
For indeed, He "begins" to reign at this time since the reign of the beast is over and God's power now pours out the final judgments upon the unbelieving world which will culminate in the battle at Armageddon. But His earthly kingdom is not "established" until 30 days later, after the victory at Armageddon.

"And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God saying, "We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who is and was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."

The 24 elders are responding to the future vision that John is seeing rather than this being part of that future vision.

Through the Spirit, John is having a vision of heaven (Revelation 4-5) in which he sees what is actually IN heaven at the time of the vision in 96 AD. Then, from the "vision" location in heaven, he is shown a series of "future" visions (like on a movie screen) and those beings who are in heaven are observing them as well.

The "future" visions begin in chapter 6 and when the 24 elders and the living creatures are mentioned again (Revelation 11:16-17 and 19:4) they are shown to be giving a response to the same thing that John is seeing.

My point is that the 24 elders and the living creatures are not part of the "future" visions but are in the audience with John as the future is previewed before them.

FACTOR #3: Your wrath came. Revelation 11:18

Since chapters 12, 13, and 14 are parenthetical, we do not see any discussion of the chronological progress of "your wrath came" until the beginning of chapter 15, where it is designated as, "seven plagues which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished."

Chapter 14, the parenthetical chapter which gives a summary of events from the rapture until the end of this 30 day period of "final wrath," does indeed end with the final military confrontation between the world's forces and Christ at Armageddon. But it should be viewed as a "summary" of events rather than the chronological development that chapter 16 presents.

Chapter 14 ends (verses17-20) with the "reaping" of those world forces as Christ wields the sword of His mouth and destroys them all as described at Revelation 19:11-20, and it is the 6th bowl which describes the "gathering" of these forces to Armageddon for this final confrontation.



FACTOR #4: Judgment of the dead

"And the time came for the dead to be judged,"

What is clearly evident is the fact that "the dead" are not "judged" until after the 1000 year reign of the Messiah which is mentioned at Revelation 20:4. The judgment of the dead is described later at 20:11-15.

Thus, although "the time came," it does not actually take place for 1000 more years. The reason the 7th trumpet is viewed as "the time" is because the judgment of the dead is "based" on Messiah's reign which does not "officially" begin until the beast is removed from his "throne." And it is the 7th trumpet which basically "announces" that the beast's reign has come to an end and he is about to be judged.



FACTOR #5: Saints receive rewards

"And the time to give their reward to Your bond servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Your Name, the small and the great,"

This refers to the evaluation of the believer's works which were done here on earth as is described at 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.

(See Doctrinal Archives R, for Rewards
and J, for judgment seat of Christ)

It is possible that these "personal" rewards are meted out as soon as the church gets to heaven at the time of the rapture. However, it is also possible, and more likely, that there is a delay of the "evaluation of works" until just before Christ's descent at Armageddon. I do not think that such a "delay" of the Justice seat of Christ violates the language which indicates that the church receives her rewards at the arrival of Jesus.

The reason is, that there are many things that are initiated at the "Day of the Lord" arrival of Jesus which do not take place until some time later. And yet they are certainly described as taking place upon His arrival. Furthermore, the language here, at Revelation 11:18, indicates that the reward will not be meted out until after the 7th trumpet sounds.

The recipients of this reward are mentioned in three categories. The intent seems to be to include believers from Adam until Armageddon.

Accordingly, I suggest that the first two words refers to the body of Christ, known as the bride, and would include all believers from Adam until the rapture. The word prophets refers to all of God's communicators from both the Old Testament times and the church age.

The word, saints, probably refers to everyone else who is a believer from all PAST generations. This division between the communicators and the "saints" is not foreign to Scripture, as we see such a division at Philippians 1:1, "to all the saints . . . including the overseers and the deacons."

The phrase, "those who fear your name," would refer to the believers from the time period between the rapture and the battle of Armageddon. This third group falls into two categories; (1) those who die between the rapture and armageddon, who are raised up at Revelation 20:4, at the beginning of the kingdom; and (2) the living believers still on the earth from both Israel and the Gentiles, who go alive into the physical kingdom as subjects to King Messiah as He reigns on His earthly throne in Jerusalem. The designation of these believers, using this phrase is based on Revelation 14:7, where the mandate of the everlasting gospel revolves around, "fear God and give Him glory."

Regarding the actual evaluation and rewarding of believers, there will be 3 separate administrations of the judgment of God on their behalf. But those three events do not correspond with this 3-fold division of the believers.

First, there will be the evaluation of the body of Christ which is His bride. This takes place between the sounding of the 7th trumpet and the announcement of the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-8), for it is there that we see her "ready" by being clothed with the righteousness of good deeds. That is, deeds that have been evaluated and recognized as honoring to God because they were accomplished according to His standards. The Greek word, dikaiƶma , in the plural should be translated as righteous acts or deeds and not as "righteousness," which the KJV does. This body of believers includes people from all generations prior to the rapture and is broken down into the "prophets" and the "saints."

The second group of believers who need to be evaluated and rewarded are those who are martyred between the rapture and the end of Armageddon. These are mentioned at Revelation 20:4, as being resurrected after Armageddon and reigning with Christ during His 1000 year reign on the earth. These are in view with the phrase, "those who fear your name."

The third group will be all the believers of the 1000 year kingdom. This group includes those believers who will be alive on the earth after Armageddon, and who go into the kingdom to be subjects of Jesus. From this group, many children will be born, so that by the end of the kingdom, there will be a massive population of both believers and unbelievers. The resurrection and evaluation of this group of "millennial" believers are not mentioned in scripture, but it is certain that such an evaluation must take place in view of what scripture teaches concerning the activities of people during the kingdom.

It is possible since Revelation 11:18 uses "reward" in the singular, that it refers to the ONE reward that they all share in common. That ONE reward is to reign with Christ during His 1000 year reign on the earth and for all eternity after that. In the book of Revelation, this is the "one" reward that has primary emphasis (Revelation 3:21; 5:10; 20:4).

And yet, the mention of the bride "having made herself ready," indicates a "cleansing" through evaluation so that all that remains of one's earthly production will be a "pure" garment of good works shared in common by all who are in the body of Christ. This, I would think could qualify as "reward" in the singular.

However, perhaps it is adequate to simply associate the "reward" of reigning with the other rewards. Reigning with Christ must be viewed from 2 aspects.

1. The "status" of reigning with Christ because of salvation relationship and positional union with Him.

2. The "function" of reigning which is based on faithfulness here on earth and will vary from believer to believer.

It is this "function" of reigning that will be determined based on the evaluation of the believer's works. Accordingly, it is best to include the evaluation of one's works for crowns with the evaluation of one's works for reigning at the reward seat of Christ which apparently occurs shortly before the the Lord's descent to the earth at Armageddon.

FACTOR #6: Destroy the destroyers

". . and to destroy those who destroy the earth."

There is only ONE "destruction" of people by God that takes place in the context of this end times scenario and that is at Armageddon.

Revelation 19:19-21, And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

The "destroyers" represented in this passage are,

1. The beast: A human who is empowered by Satan.

2. The false prophet: A human who also has Satanic powers.

3. The armies of the world: represented by the kings of the West, East, South and North.

4. All of these participate in "destroying" the earth because of their moral and physical oppression of others.

5. This could include Satan, indirectly, but he is only chained in the abyss for 1000 years and is not thrown into the lake of fire until after the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth. (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10)

The details of this judgment on mankind awaits analysis of the 6th bowl judgment where we find the movement of the world's military forces into the land of Palestine and specifically to Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

Immediately after the sounding of the 7th trumpet and this "announcement" of Divine intent, God's final wrath upon the kingdom of the beast is initiated by the opening of the temple of God which is in heaven. Revelation 11:19,

"And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm."

1. "And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened;"

This is the first mention of the temple of God in HEAVEN. The temple speaks of God's presence with man with the point of contact being the character of God as He reaches out to man through the Messianic promise.

2. "Opened," indicates a view inside. This of course is symbolic. Once the "top" of the temple is removed, the ark of the covenant is visible.

3. "and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple:" the appearance of the ark speaks directly of divine righteousness and justice as the key factors for God's interaction with man.

A. Righteousness: speaks of the fact that man is at enmity with God and comes short of God's righteousness.

B. Justice: speaks of the penalty for coming short and at the same time, speaks of the Divine payment of that penalty through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

C. The consequences for rejecting the divine provision for salvation as represented by the ark of the covenant is judgment from God.

D. Thus, we have the "storm" to portend the administration of God's final judgment upon the physical earth and those unbelievers who reside there.

4. "and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm."

This speaks of the administration of justice on the earth upon those who have rejected the grace provision from God for adjustment to God, ie, salvation through faith in Christ.

The specifics of this administration will be given through the 7 bowls of the "final wrath" of God which are discussed in chapters 15 and 16

Chapter 15:1-8, picks up from this point in the narrative, making chapters 12-14 parenthetical. The chronology is interrupted in this parenthesis and actually "backtracks" to the mid-point of the week and moves forward to the end of the week and to the 30 days of judgment which follows it.

11:1-13 - begins at the mid-point and ends at the end, 1260 days later.

11:14-19 - continues from the end of the 2nd half and introduces the final wrath of God via the 3rd woe.

12-13 - begins at the mid-point and ends at the end, 42 months; 1260 days later.

Chapter 14, begins during the 2nd half of the week (after the rapture) and ends with the 30 days which follow the 1260 days of the 2nd half.

Chapters 15-16 then picks up at the end of the 2nd half (at the last trumpet) and the administration of the final wrath of God for 30 days.

Revelation 15 begins with the 3rd sign of the book of Revelation.

The first sign is at Revelation 12:1 and pictures the nation of Israel as the chosen, Messianic people of God. That is, those whom God chose to be the source and herald of Messiah's arrival on the earth.

This sign is called, "great" (megas) and speaks of the character of the sign in the context of human perceptions.

The 2nd sign occurs at Revelation 12:3 and is simply called, "another sign."

This sign pictures the great adversary of God, Satan, who has always been active in seeking the destruction of the Messianic people. If Satan can succeed in destroying those upon whom God has set His seal, then he would actually accomplish a spiritual victory over God and prove Him to be imperfect. If God is imperfect, then He has no business placing an eternal judgment upon an imperfect creature. Satan would thus acquire a reprieve from his appointment to the lake of fire.

The 3rd sign is called, "great and marvelous," (thaumastos). This word speaks of the effect the sign has on John as a humble recipient of divine revelation. It causes wonderment and awe. The sign pictures the angelic administrators of the final stage of God's wrath upon the kingdom of the beast. "Because in them the wrath of God is finished."

This idea of "the wrath of God is finished," refers only to the context of judgment on the earth prior to Messiah's 1000 year earthly reign. After that 1000 years, there will be another expression of God's wrath at Revelation 20:7-10. Then after that, at the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, God's wrath will be expressed toward all spiritual rebels by assigning them to the lake of fire for all eternity. It is only then that God's wrath will once and for all be complete for the entire universe, although the "effects" of that wrath (existence in the lake of fire) will continue for all eternity (Revelation14:11).

Verse one simply gives the "title" for this 3rd sign. The details are given in verses 2-8. (In v. 1 they are said to have the 7 plagues but they are not "given" the bowls that contain the plagues until verse 7.)

Before the 7 angels begin to pour out the bowls, we are shown a group of saints in heaven who praise God for the expression of His power, righteousness and truth.

At verse 2, we see a sea of glass and upon it, the same group of saints who were seen at Revelation 7:9-17 who were delivered from the great tribulation through the rapture.

1. These have come off victorious from the beast.

2. At Revelation 7:14, they came out of the great tribulation.

3. At Matthew 24:15-21, Jesus tells us that the great tribulation begins when the abomination of desolation is set up in the holy place of the temple.

4. It is the beast who sets himself up as God and places his image in the temple (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). This correlates with the activity of the beast described at Revelation 13:11-15 and Daniel 7:25; 8:23-25; 9:27

5. Thus the ones who are victorious over the beast are delivered at the end of the great tribulation and taken to heaven where they are seen at both Revelation 7:9-17 and 15:2-4.

Revelation 15:2 does not tell us "when" they got there, but their presence in resurrection body is indicated by two factors.

1. When first we saw the sea of glass at Revelation 4:8, it was empty.

2. Now it is occupied and the ones there are "standing," which would suggest resurrection body as it does at Revelation 7:9.

3. The sea of glass is "before" the throne and at Revelation 7:9, the saints are standing "before" the throne.

Revelation 15:3-4 tells us that these saints sing two songs. The song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb. And yet it appears to be one song which embraces both titles.

The significance of the song of Moses might simply be that they sing "about" what Moses song about as recorded at Deuteronomy 32. Ie, the character and deeds of God, The Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4) who was actually the Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

And the significance of the song of the Lamb is to make the correlation between the Rock, The God of Israel and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and will reign as king over the nations (Revelation 1:5; 19:16).

So this is a song of praise in anticipation of the righteous reign of Messiah after the final wrath of God is poured out on the earth.

Revelation 15:5-8 is preparation for the final outpouring of God's wrath.

"The temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened."

1. actually, this is the temple (which has) the tabernacle, etc.

2. Thus, in actuality, we have the same visual as at verse 11:19, when "the temple of God which is in heaven was opened."

3. Here, it is the same "heavenly" temple, still opened, but now with emphasis on the tabernacle of testimony.

4. There, John saw the ark of the covenant in the temple.

5. The tabernacle of testimony refers to the heavenly pattern God used for the physical sonctuary given to Israel as is described at Exodus 37 and 38.

The purpose of the symbols was to portray the divine plan of redemption for the human race.

The ark of the covenant was the most important item in the tabernacle and symbolized specifically the sacrifice of the Messiah in dying for the sins of all the world.

The divine character that is emphasized in this structure is righteousness and justice. Justice is not only the basis for "blessing" through salvation relationship with God, but justice is also the basis for judgment upon those who reject Jesus as savior.

That is the significance of this vision where John sees the tabernacle of testimony and the ark of the covenant "before" the final expression of God's wrath upon the unbelievers alive on the earth.

The same Jesus who died for the sins of the world is the one who judges, for "He gave him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:22-27).

The point of contact between Revelation 11:18-19 and 15:1-8 is two-fold.

1. The issue of the final expression of God's wrath:

11:18, "Your wrath came"

15:1, "seven angels who had the seven plagues which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished."

2. And the temple in heaven as the location from which this final wrath is administrated.

Revelation 16:1, "And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, 'Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.'"

11:19, "the temple of God which is in heaven was opened and the ark of His covenant appeared"

15:5, "And the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened."

15:6, "and the 7 angels who had the 7 plagues came out of the temple"

Notice that at verse 6, we see the angels clothed in linen clean and bright.

This is proof that the "armies" who come with the Lord Jesus to "mop up" at Armageddon (Revelation 19:14), do not need to refer to believers, but can easily and in fact, more reasonably, refer to angels.

15: 7, "And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels, seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever."

Revelation 15:8 tells us that the administration of this wrath of God, as an expression of His power, causes smoke to fill the temple to such an extent that the temple was uninhabited for the duration of the final judgments.

Revelation 16:1 is the command to begin the administration of the judgments:

"And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth."

And verses 2-21 gives the details of these 7 last plagues of divine wrath upon the kingdom of the beast and the unbelieving world.

These 7 judgments all take place within a 26 day period as they begin some time after the ascension of the two witnesses. Their ascension takes place on day 4 of the 30 day period which follows immediately upon the 1260 days of the last half of the week. By the end of these 30 days, the kingdom of the beast will be totally destroyed and the 45 days of preparation for the kingdom of Messiah will begin. Daniel 12:11-12.

Bowl #1, Revelation 16:2: massive skin cancer develops upon all who have the mark of the beast.

"And the first one went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image."

Bowl #2, Revelation 16:3: Salt water pollution that kills EVERY living thing in the sea.

"And the second one poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like {that} of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died."

I have come to realize through dialog with many different people that nothing should be taken for granted and that every point needs to be clarified. The "became blood," here and in other places where the image occurs, does NOT mean to literally become blood. It refers to the appearance of blood and communicates the severe pollution that discolors both water resources so that they are totally unusable.

Bowl #3, Revelation 16:4: Fresh water pollution which appears to extend to the entire fresh water supply in the world.

"And the third {angel} poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood."

Bowl #4, Revelation 16:8-9: Intensification of the sun's rays so that people are severely scorched.

"And the fourth one poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. (v.9) And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory."

NOTICE that at verse 9, those who are the recipients of the plagues do NOT change their minds (repent) about their rebellion against God and continue to reject any expression of thanks and praise.

Bowl #5, Revelation 16:10-11: This is an opposite effect on the sun which diminishes its light and heat so that there is extreme cold and even artificial heating techniques will provide no help.

(The reason for that is that both electricity and fossil fuels will be in very short supply.)

"And the fifth one poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, (v.11) and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds."

NOTICE again that the spiritual rebels continue to blaspheme God and continue in their deeds of lawlessness.

In fact, not only do these peoples of the world continue to blaspheme God, but they have also become quite dissatisfied with the beast's ineffectiveness in providing necessary resources to those who have sworn allegiance to him. The result is a massive troop movement against the kingdom of the beast and specifically into the land of Palestine where there exists a large supply of natural resources under the control of the beast and his armies.

Bowl #6, Revelation 16:12-16: The assembly of troops to Armageddon.
This takes place in two stages.

Stage one is the arrival of the kings of the East, verse 12:

Verse 12, "And the sixth one poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east."

This is specific reference to the movement of the kings of the East as they attack the king of the West (the beast) and his troops which are stationed in Palestine.

This incident is just briefly mentioned at Daniel 11:44 in the phrase, "rumors from the East . . . will disturb him."

The details of this maneuvering of troops before and at Armageddon are not directly pertinent to the "PreWrath" position so I will discuss them in a future article.

But as in the case of the other bowl judgments, this movement of the kings of the East is a direct assault on the kingdom of the beast.

The significance of the Euphrates River in this scenario is that, historically, it has stood as a barrier to the advance of the Far Eastern societies into the Middle East.

Today, the existence of the river does nothing to hinder the advance of armies. However, in a typical sense, it represents a deterrent to such advances and therefore when it is "dried up," we see the deterrent removed and the subsequent movement of Eastern troops into Palestine.

Stage two of this 6th bowl judgment is the movement of troops other than the kings of the East, verses 13-14, 16.

(verse 13) And I saw {coming} out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; (verse14) for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.

(verse 16) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.

This movement corresponds with the development discussed at Zechariah 12:1-3 and 14:2.

Zechariah 12:1-3

"The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. {Thus} declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,

Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.

And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. "

Zechariah 14:2,

"For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city."

Prior to this, the king of the North has been pushing against the King of the West at geographical locations all over the world as is referenced at the 6th trumpet (Revelation 9:13-19) and Daniel 11:44, "and the king of the North will storm against him."

Now at this time, the king of the North as well as other world powers are motivated by demon influence to move into the Middle East.

The "practical" reason for such movement would be the severe economic conditions which exist worldwide. The movement into the Middle East is an attempt to alleviate those conditions by physically confronting the King of the West (the beast) and taking possession of the natural resources which are controlled by him.

But the possession and control of resources that the world believes the beast possesses, is simply an illusion. Remember that the bowl judgments have almost totally depleted those resources:

Bowl #2: All sea life is dead.

Bowl #3: All fresh water is polluted.

Bowl #5: Heating resources are depleted (gas, oil, coal, wood)

The kingdom of the beast is in chaos and his reign has for all practical purposes, come to an end as was indicated at the announcement from the 7th trumpet.

Now, right in the middle of describing this troop movement, we find an exhortation from Jesus, addressed, probably to the readers of the book of Revelation (Revelation16:15) as a reminder of personal accountability.

("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.")

The phrase, "come like a thief," occurs only 5 times and always refers to the return of Jesus at the arrival of the Day of the Lord (1Thessalonians 5:2, 4; 2Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). The use of this term originated based on the parable Jesus taught at Matthew 24:43-44

"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
"For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect it."

Believers will thus, be reminded of the urgency for testimonial consistency throughout their lives that they might not "be ashamed, and shrink away from him in fear at His presence," 1 John 2:28.

Unbelievers will once again be reminded that if they are not spiritually prepared through salvation relationship with God, they will be left behind at the rapture and most of the men and women, if not killed by one plague or another, will very likely end up as part of this troop movement into the Valley of Megiddo where they will face the sword of Jesus.

At all times throughout history, God has been faithful to provide the information people need to enter into relationship with Himself. This time of great judgment from God is no exception. The 144,000 "servants" of God are still present on the earth representing the truth of God to all who will hear. The message of these "servants" is found at Revelation 14:6-7 and is called, "an everlasting gospel."

The quote from God at this point in the scenario, indicates not only, God's concern for His own people, that they be "prepared" through fellowship abiding with Him, but that He is still concerned that all who are willing come and and that all who "call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

The 7th bowl judgment takes place just before Jesus descends to confront the armies of the world in Jerusalem and at Armageddon. While armies are maneuvering in and around Jerusalem, being gathered to the valley of Meggido, the rest of the world is being destroyed by earthquakes and hail stones.

Bowl #7, Revelation 16:17-21,

(verse17) And the seventh one poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done."
(verse 18) And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake {was it, and} so mighty.

The result is that cities are destroyed, Islands sink and mountains crumble. Attendant with this will be huge blocks of ice falling upon the earth causing more death and destruction.

(verse 19) And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
(verse 20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (verse 21) And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

This is a judgment upon the people of the nations, whereas the "armies" of the nations will be judged separately as they are gathered at Armageddon.
Notice that there is still time for people to continue in their blaspheming of God and in their rejection of His salvation provision.

This is probably what Ezekiel described at Ezekiel 38:18-19,

"And it will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," declares the Lord GOD, "that My fury will mount up in My anger. "And in My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare {that} on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.

and 39:6,

"And I shall send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety;
and they will know that I am the LORD.

This is probably what Jeremiah spoke about at Jeremiah 25:32-37, which has a worldwide focus as judgment upon the "peaceful folds" of these nations.

And even Isaiah seems to mention this particular occurrence in a Day of the Lord context at Isaiah 13:13,

"Therefore, I shall make the heavens tremble
and the earth will be shaken from its place
at the fury of the Lord of Hosts."

Notice also that there are two cities which are signaled out as receiving special judgment.

1. The great city: Verse 19, "And the great city was split into three parts," This refers to Jerusalem as seen at Revelation 11:8,

". . .the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,
where also our Lord was crucified."

2. Babylon: Verse 19, "And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath."

This refers to the great influence of Babylonian evil as perpetuated throughout history and ultimately centered in the Roman Empire where it has wielded its perversion of Christianity to this very day.

The details of its history, character and identification are found in Revelation 17 and 18.
The chronology of events picks up again at chapter 19.

To restate:

Chapter 16 ends with a worldwide earthquake and hailstones, with special focus on Babylon.

Chapter 17 and 18 backtracks and reviews the history and character of Babylon.

Chapter 18 ends with the destruction of Babylon.

There has been much discussion as to the identification of this city of "Babylon." Two views have the greatest feasibility.

1. The city refers to an actual "restored" city of Babylon which the king of the west (the beast) possesses for his headquarters.

2. The city which carries all the "characteristics" of ancient Babylon and the "mysteries" of Babylonian evil, which would be Rome.

But the details of this issue have no direct bearing on the PreWrath position and will be discussed in a future article.

Now, even though there has been world-wide physical destruction from the earthquake and hailstones, still the spiritual rebels continue in their blasphemy and lawlessness. Later they will all be evaluated and the righteous will enter the kingdom while the unrighteous go to the place of torments in Hades.

Chapter 19 picks up from where both chapter 16 and 18 leave off.

We again have the response from the heavenly observers to the "vision" which they have all been watching. Revelation 19:1-5.

Verses 6-11 returns to the vision "screen" as we are told that the marriage of the Lamb has arrived. The use of the word, "arrived" indicates that it has not as yet taken place, but is now ready to be completed. Accordingly, "His bride has made herself ready" through the evaluation that takes place at the justice seat of Christ.

The "betrothal" period began for each individual believer at the moment of his salvation through personal trust in Jesus as the Messiah (2Corinthians 11:2).

During the time of the believer's stay here on earth, he is to cultivate God's righteousness in His life through growth and the filling of the Holy Spirit. It is fulfillment of this purpose which produces good works which are acceptable to God (Romans 14:17-18) and which will be rewarded at the Justice Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The positive result of the evaluation of all believers at this time will collectively constitute the wedding garment of the bride as "fine linen, bright and clean" which is "the righteous deeds of the saints," (Revelation 19:8).

Individually, of course, each believer will be personally rewarded according to the quality of his works as a Christian, whether they be good (agathos) or useless (phaulos), (2 Corinthians 5:10).

It is for this reason that Paul writes at 2 Corinthians 11:2, "that I might present you a pure virgin," and mentions his concern about their unfaithfulness at verse 3.

According to Revelation 19:9, there will be a marriage supper of the Lamb, which would obviously take place AFTER the wedding itself.

Now whether the marriage and/or supper take place before Revelation 19:11, is not clearly stated, but the implication is that Christ will first "destroy those who destroy the earth" at the battle of Armageddon and then participate in both the marriage and the supper at the beginning of His 1000 year earthly reign. There is no clear evidence that the marriage takes place in heaven and the supper, upon the earth. I suggest that both take place AFTER Christ's victory at Armageddon and at the beginning of the kingdom. Those who are invited to the supper will be those who are left alive after Armageddon (Zechariah 14:16-21) and who survive the evaluation of the nations of Matthew 25:31-46 as believers in Christ.

Accordingly, Revelation 19:11-21 now describes the actual physical descent of Jesus to the battle at Armageddon as also mentioned at Zechariah 14:3-4.

"Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east;
and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley,
so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south."


©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.

THE 7th SEAL and SIX TRUMPETS, by Ron Wallace

THE 7th SEAL and SIX TRUMPETS

by Ron Wallace


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As the world shrinks in fear from what is about to come upon them (Luke 21:25-26), those of the church who are "in fellowship" with God, will lift their head in expectation knowing that their deliverance has arrived (Lk. 21:27).

"But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption (physical resurrection) is drawing near."

Those who are "out of fellowship," and "walking in darkness," will be embarrassed and shamed (1 John 2:28).

"And now little children, abide in Him (walk in the light), so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His appearance."

A large group of "orthodox" Jews, who have been waiting for their Messiah, will recognize the signs as the arrival of the Old Testament Day of the LORD and will rejoice with great expectation . When He arrives in the clouds of the sky the first thing He will do is announce His presence with His own victory shout (1 Thes. 4:16) along with the victory shout of the Archangel Michael. And then the trumpet of assembly will be blown to gather His elect (Those who have trusted in Christ as savior) scattered throughout the whole world. Both those who are "in fellowship" as well as those who are "out of fellowship" will be gathered to meet the Lord. The requirement for "rapture" is simply salvation status, not fellowship (1 Cor. 3:15), "but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."



This "trumpet of assembly" is called the trumpet of God at 1 Thes. 4:16 and "a great trumpet" at Mat. 24:31. It is called "the last trumpet" at 1 Cor. 15:51 not because it corresponds with the 7th trumpet of Rev. 11:15, but because it is the "last" in a series for calling to assembly. Thus, it is at this time that the "catching out" of the church will occur as is described at 1 Thes. 4:13-18. Jesus will bring with Him the souls of those believers who have died since 30 AD and they will be given a resurrection body just like Christ's (Philip. 3:21). Then all the Christians who are physically alive at this time will also be given a resurrection body and be gathered by the angels to meet the Lord in the air and "forever be with the Lord."

The church will then be escorted to heaven to await the consummation of the Day of the LORD judgments and the establishment of Christ's 1000 year earthly kingdom. Thus we see in heaven immediately after the Day of the LORD, a large multitude from every nation, tribe, people and tongue standing before God and designated as having come out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17).

Left on the earth will be a large multitude of unbelievers, both Jew and Gentile as we have previously discussed. But almost immediately after the Lord's arrival, a large group of Jews who have been looking for the arrival of their Messiah will recognize that Jesus is indeed the Prophesied One for whom they have been waiting and will embrace Him as Lord and savior. This group is indicated by the 144,000 mentioned at Rev. 7:1-8 and are known as the "first fruits to God and to the Lamb" at Rev. 14:4. They are so designated because they are the first ones to believe in Christ after the Day of the LORD arrives.

Before God actually begins to pour out His wrath upon the world He will give these Jews a certain amount of time to trust in Christ. Those who do will be "sealed" and protected from the wrath of God which will be poured out only on the unbelievers. Once those initial "first fruits" are sealed, the wrath of God will be poured out through the 7 trumpets found at Rev. 8:1 through 11:19.

The 7th seal (Rev. 8:1) paves the way for God's wrath to be poured out on the world. This awesome event is prefaced by a 1/2 hour of silence in heaven which probably speaks of the intensity of what is about to take place. Rev. 8:1

And when He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

The activity at Rev. 8:3-5 answers the question of the believers who were martyred during the tribulation as found at Rev. 6:10 - - - - -

And they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
How long, O Lord, Holy and True
Will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood
on those who dwell on the earth?

Rev. 8:3-5

"And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.
And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake."

Fire, here represents the administration of divine justice and "altar" takes us back to Rev. 5:8, where we see the bowls of incense which are the prayers of the saints.

"throwing" the fire upon the earth speaks of divine wrath in perfect justice being expressed upon the world.



- - - - -and fulfills the fears expressed by the world at Rev. 6:17.

"For the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"

Although we do not know the day or the hour that the Day of the LORD will occur, we do know the "times and the seasons." We know that it will occur sometime after the mid-point of Daniel's 70th week, After the "man of lawlessness (the beast)" is revealed and during his oppressive reign. 2 Thes. 2:3

Let no one in any way deceive you
For it will not come
until the apostasy comes first
and the man of lawlessness is revealed

Once it does occur, those who have insight will know how many days remain until the 70th week will end and will know that God's wrath will extend for 30 days longer during which time God will pour out the 7 bowls of His final wrath which will culminate in the battle of Armageddon.

However, based on the length of time allotted to the 5th trumpet (5 months) it is certain that the period of time between the Day of the LORD arrival and the end of the week, will be at least that long. Furthermore, the nature of the 6th trumpet, which is a world-wide military invasion by the king of the North, should, by the nature of the invasion, take place over several months.

So for the sake of expediency I will operate on an "assumed" time frame for these trumpet judgments to take place. I will simply "arbitrarily" assign 2 years for the great tribulation, extending from the "mid-point" of the week until it is "cut short" by the return of Jesus at the Day of the Lord. This will leave approximately 1 1/2 years for the duration of the trumpet judgments which close out the 70th week, and then a 30 day period for the final judgment as represented by the 7 bowls and culminate in the judgment at Armageddon which is precipitated by Bowl #6 (Rev. 16:12-16) and recorded at Rev. 19:11-21.

REMEMBER! This is not setting the date. This is "approximating" the amount of time involved between the rapture and the end of the week in order to more efficiently correlate the many events that take place during that time period.

The 7 trumpets are divided into 2 parts; the first 4 are strictly environmental judgments designed to undermine the economic controls of the beast.

The FIRST trumpet: Rev. 8:7

And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

This is divine judgment on the agriculture of the earth.

The purpose is to put economic pressure on the world so as to aggravate the beast's implementation of his economic strategies.

What this judgment entails is a volcanic or meteoric occurrence that actually affects 1/3 of the vegetation on the earth. This will greatly affect the food supply and cause great disruption within the beast's kingdom for months to come. Incidentally, this is not a "natural" occurrence but a specific and direct act of judgment from God.

POINT of comparison between the trumpets and the bowls:

There are some who believe that the trumpets are not "followed" by the bowls in a chronological order, but that the bowls are simply restatements of the judgments represented in the trumpets.

A comparison of all of the trumpets and bowls will reveal the fact that, although there are similarities, the differences are significant enough to prevent me from holding to that idea.

Regarding the 1st trumpet and bowl, there are no similarities unless one thinks that the common word "earth" is significant enough to warrant equation, which it is not.

Trumpet #1 is a judgment on the "agriculture" of the earth and Bowl#1 (Rev. 16:2) is a judgment on "people"

The SECOND Trumpet: Rev. 8:8-9

And the second angel sounded, and {something} like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

This is judgment on the sea which, once again, will greatly affect the economic environment. This is very possibly the same event of Trumpet #1 but the greater bulk of a meteor that falls into the sea. The affect is that all life in a 1/3 area of the sea is killed and all shipping activity in that same area is shut down. Again, this could be a separate direct act of God and not be related to trumpet #1 at all.

POINT of comparison:

The 2nd trumpet is a "partial" judgment on the salt water resources, and Bowl #2 is a "total" judgment on the same.

In The trumpet, 1/3 of the sea creatures died.
In the Bowl, "every" sea creature died.



The THIRD trumpet: Rev. 8:10-11

And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

In this case it is not so much a "destructive" force as it is a major pollutant that affects 1/3 of the fresh water supply in the earth. This judgment as well seems to result from something falling from the sky. Whether this be a "natural" item or one of man's machines is not clear and does not really matter.

POINT of comparison:

Again, Trumpet #3 is "partial" and the language at Rev. 16:4 for Bowl #3 certainly implies "total."



The FOURTH trumpet: Rev. 8:12

And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

A massive atmospheric "blackout" which shuts down the light that reaches the earth. This will have an affect on agriculture, health and climate not to mention the resultant chaos and trauma.

POINT of comparison:

Trumpet #4 is a "darkening" effect on the light that reaches the earth which certainly suggests extreme cold.

Bowl #4 (Rev. 16:8) is an effect on the sun which causes an intensification of its heat and results in severe burns on people.

The Last Three trumpets entail "the 3 woes." Rev. 8:13

And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

Now, from the beginning of the beast's reign at the mid-point of the 70th week, he has been progressing in the implementation of the mark of the beast and accomplishing economic control over a large part of the earth.

He has also been progressing in his persecution of "Religious" Israel and the church as described at Rev. 12:13-17.

Once the church is removed through rapture at the inception of the Day of the Lord, and these "trumpet" judgments begin to pour out on the world, the ability of the beast to implement his economic and worship policies will be greatly hindered.

Not only that, but the peoples of the earth will become more and more disillusioned with his ability to fulfill the promises made, and with just a few months left in the beast's "allotted" reign there will be a large block of nations that take this opportunity to mount a military attack against the him and against his kingdom.

This massive military invasion begins with a campaign against the kingdom of the beast (king of the West) that extends worldwide, but culminates in the land of Palestine.

But before that invasion is launched, the 5th trumpet sounds and a horde of demons is released upon the kingdom of the beast to torment people for 5 months. This is the first woe.

Woe #1: Rev. 9:1-12

One thing is certain concerning this judgment. The creatures in view come from the abyss. This is not viewing a human military force that oppresses, but a demon horde released from a "prison" to express its violent aggressions on human victims. V. 2-4



"And he opened the bottomless pit; and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.

And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads."

One could speculate about the description of these creatures "forever" but let us simply recognize that they are "uggggly" and they hurt! In fact, that is all they are allowed to do and then, only upon those who have taken the mark of the beast. V. 5-6,

"And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.

And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them."

It also appears that God will not allow those afflicted to find relief through suicide. God can indeed prevent finite humans from exercising actions that He does not want to take place.

He will allow them to "think it" all they want, for that is what volition and free will is all about. But He will not allow them to execute the intent of their will in this case, just as He has done upon many occasions throughout human history.

The "origin" of these demon creatures is not really a factor for the study of the PreWrath scenario, but it is probable that they are the same "spirits" who were imprisoned in "Tartarus" to await final judgment. Jude 6; 1 Pet. 3:18-20; 2 Pet. 2:4

The release for a short time at this moment in history does not violate the nature of their imprisonment nor the designed destiny which they have been assigned. It is not any kind of reprieve but simply God using an awesome "weapon" to administrate convicting type judgment upon the world of unbelievers.

Rev. 9:1,

"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key to the shaft of the abyss (bottomless pit) was given to him."

They are thus released for a temporary time to express their pent up anger and frustration from living in the abyss of darkness.

The scripture records no other group of "spirit" beings which are being held in bonds. It is possible that they will remain "out" until the end of the judgments, at which time they will be returned to the abyss where Satan will be bound as well for 1000 years. Rev. 20:1-2

Rev. 9:12

"The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things."



WOE #2, Rev. 9:13-19, The SIXTH trumpet:

It is not "as clear" what the nature of the 2nd woe is, as it is so very clear as to the nature of the 1st woe. But it appears to be a "human" army that advances through the earth to plunder and kill in order to possess the material resources needed for its nation to survive. This perfectly corresponds with the Old Testament teaching that the king of the North will strive against the king of the West; a campaign that will extend world-wide but culminate in Palestine and with the destruction of all the armies involved.

This scenario is quite understandable when we recognize that after the Day of the Lord and the initial trumpet judgments, the kingdom of the beast will be in considerable chaos and he will be unable to fulfill the economic provisions he has promised through allegiance to him. It is within this context that a huge military force begins to move throughout the world plundering and killing almost at will and "striving" against the kingdom of the beast all the while.

Rev. 9:14-15

"one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet,
Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.
And the four angels, who had been prepared
for the hour and day and month and year, were released,
so that they might kill a third of mankind."

The "motivation" or influence upon this great military force is from 4 angels. Angels who have been bound (held in check) in a particular geographical location, Specially prepared by God until His perfect timing, "The hour, and day and month and year" (Rev.9:15).

The Euphrates River has historically been viewed as the "dividing point" between North and South, with the land of Palestine as the focal point. The significance of the 4 angels is that they will influence military force to move in all 4 directions which indicates the world-wide attack which is in view. This does not refer to the movement of an Oriental army (the King of the East) which is a popular viewpoint, for that advance is in view at the 6th bowl (Rev. 16:12) and is a "one way" invasion (into the land of Palestine), so the emphasis is on the river being dried up (symbolic of geographical restraints being removed) in order for the army to move Westward from the Orient.

Notice, this military monstrosity actually plunders and kills 1/3 of mankind as it moves toward its "ultimate" goal which I believe to be the land of Palestine. In fact, I view this military body as the armies of Gog (the king of the North) as recorded at Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Rev. 9:16

"And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them."

This multitude could easily account for the massive military machine which is described at Ezek. 38:4-6

"And I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company {with} buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;
Persia, Ethiopia, and Put with them, all of them {with} shield and helmet;
Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah {from} the remote parts of the north with all its troops, many peoples with you."

Before I go further, it is necessary to answer the question,

WHEN does the invasion of Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38 and 39 take place?

1. It must be in the "latter years" and "in the last days," based on v. 38:8, 16.

2. Some think that it takes place "before" the 70th week of Daniel.

A. They use V. 39:9, ". . .and for 7 years they will make fires of them."

B. And V. 38:8,

"After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, {whose inhabitants} have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them."

C. But the 7 years need not refer to the 7 years of Daniel's 70th week.

D. And Israel "at peace" will not take place UNTIL the 70th week BEGINS.

E. Furthermore, language in the chapters prevents this from taking place at any time other than the "final" invasion of Israel in connection with the Armageddon campaign.

Ie, V. 39:7, "I will not let My Holy Name be profaned anymore."
In other words, there will never again be such an attack and abuse upon Israel.

2. Another option is within the first half of the 70th week and prior to the beginning of the great tribulation. In fact, it is suggested that this invasion precipitates the breaking of the covenant by the beast in the middle of the week.

But again, the language of 39:7 does not allow for it.

3. It is also suggested that this is the same invasion of Gog and Magog which is mentioned in Rev. 20:7-9 and takes place at the end of Messiah's 1000 year kingdom on the earth.

A. However, that does not leave room for the "7 years" of Ezek. 39:9, for after the invasion of Rev. 20, the earthly kingdom is over and the "eternal state" begins.

B. Furthermore, the language of Ezek. 39:25-29 speaks of Israel being restored to her own land in an "earthly kingdom" context, AFTER this invasion.

C. The use of the same names is simply to designate the "same" geographical location as the origin of both invasions.

Therefore it is best to assign this detailed description in Ezekiel to the invasion of the king of the North into Palestine which follows upon his world-wide "push" against the king of the West who is the beast of the great tribulation.

In the end time, there will be an attack by the King of the North against the kingdom of the beast who corresponds with the king of the West described in Daniel 11:36-39. The king of the North will lead an alliance of nations not only from the Northern regions, but a few from the Southern area as well (Ethiopia and Libya, Ezek. 38:5, Cush and Put).

According to Daniel 11:40, there will also be an invasion upon the king of the West from the king of the South, which usually refers to Egypt, but could refer to these two Southern allies, Ethiopia and Cush. This Southern alliance is mentioned at Ezek. 30:5 in reference to its destruction in connection with this very invasion.

Ezek. 30:5, (v. 3, the Day of the LORD is near)
Ethiopia, Put (Libya), Lud, all Arabia, Libya (Cub),
and the people of the land that is in league
will fall with them by the sword.

Dan. 11:40,

"And at the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow {them,} and pass through."

Notice, "he will enter countries." This goes beyond the immediate context of Palestine and refers to the kingdom of the beast as a whole, ie, a world-wide invasion as described at Rev. 9.

Jeremiah speaks of this "world-wide" invasion, clearly in an "end times," Day of the LORD context. Jeremiah 25:30-38
Jer. 25:30,

Therefore you shall prophesy against them all these words, and you shall say to them, The LORD will roar from on high, And utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will shout like those who tread {the grapes,} Against ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH.

Observe the CAPITAL LETTERED areas.

Jer. 25:31, A clamor has come to the end of the earth, Because the LORD has a controversy WITH THE NATIONS. He is entering into judgment with ALL FLESH; As for the wicked, He has given them to the SWORD, declares the LORD.

Jer. 25:32, Thus says the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil is going forth FROM NATION TO NATION, And a great storm is being stirred up FROM the REMOTEST parts of the earth.

Jer. 25:33, And those slain by the LORD on that day shall be from ONE END OF THE EARTH TO THE OTHER. They shall not be lamented, gathered, or buried; they shall be like dung on the face of the ground.

Jer. 25:34, Wail, you shepherds, and cry; And wallow {in ashes,} you masters of the flock; For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions have come, And you shall fall like a choice vessel.

Jer. 25:35, Flight shall perish from the shepherds, And escape from the masters of the flock. (national leaders)

Jer. 25:36, {Hear} the sound of the cry of the shepherds, And the wailing of the masters of the flock! For the LORD is destroying their pasture,

Jer. 25:37, And the peaceful folds are made silent Because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

Jer. 25:38, He has left His hiding place like the lion; For their land has become a horror Because of the fierceness of the oppressing {sword,} And because of His fierce anger.

This is exactly what happens when the King of the North and his allies are "moved to action" by the 4 angels who are bound at the River Euphrates.

It is a judgment from God that allows the alliance of the King of the North to move world-wide with the end result that 1/3 of the earth's population will be killed.

After the king of the North distracts and weakens the king of the West (Beast's kingdom), he will turn his attentions to the Middle East. Daniel 11:41,

"He will also enter the BEAUTIFUL LAND, and many {countries} will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.

Ezekiel describes this stage of the invasion as being moved by God with this language, at 38:4,

"And I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out,..."

and at v. 8,

"After many days you will be summoned;
in the latter years you will come
into the land that is restored from the sword,
{whose inhabitants} have been gathered from many nations
to the mountains of Israel. . ."

This "influence" to move into Palestine corresponds with the 6th bowl at Rev. 16:12-16 and takes place during the 30 day period of judgment that comes immediately after the 70th week ends.

Since the same "northern" alliance is in view, we find a great similarity of language describing the army at three passages:

Here, at Rev. 9:17; Joel 2:3-8; and Isaiah 5:26-30.

As the king of the North moves through many "countries" (Dan. 11:40), he will produce great slaughter so that 1/3 of the earth's population will be killed (Rev. 9:18-19).

And as he attacks and moves on to his final goal of Palestine, the survivors of his brutality will be little impressed with the death that has claimed so many around them (Rev. 9:20-21). These people will continue in their rebellion against God through idolatry and immorality.

Rev. 9:20-21,

"And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts."

Revelation's chronological progression ends here and picks up again at chapter 11:14 which gives the conclusion of this judgment we have just studied.

"the 2nd woe is past, Behold, the 3rd woe is coming quickly."

Since the 3rd woe begins at the conclusion of the two witnesses' testimony which began at the mid-point of the week, John here summarizes the 1260 day ministry of these two men at chapter 11:1-13.

When their testimony is over, the beast actually kills them in the streets of Jerusalem where they lay for 3 1/2 days; The first 3 1/2 days after the week ends and the beginning of the 30 day period of final wrath. After that, they are resuscitated by God and then snatched up into the sky while the onlookers are struck with fear.

Almost immediately, a great earthquake occurs, destroying a tenth of the city and killing 7,000 people.

However, as a result, a large group of people express worship humility toward God and accept the gospel message which had been proclaimed so often.

"And the rest were awe struck and gave glory to the God of heaven."

This is the required response at this time based on the message that had been proclaimed. Rev.14:6-7; 16:9

It is at this time that God officially ends the reign of the beast and prepares to administrate the final judgments of His wrath as represented by the sounding of the 7th trumpet and then the pouring out of the 7 bowls. The 3rd woe is the pouring out of the bowls of God's final wrath on the unbelieving world.

SUMMARY of activities after the arrival of Jesus and prior to the sounding of the 7th trumpet:

1. The 2 witnesses of rev. 11 are still doing their "teaching" which they began at the mid-point of the week and continue their convicting ministry of "torment" (Rev. 11:10) upon the unbelievers.

2. The 144,000 "servants" who were saved right after the arrival of Jesus, are ministering probably in a world-wide context, although the place of their ministry is not specified.

3. The beast is still attempting to gain the "worship" allegiance of the world's population through the help of the false prophet, but their efforts are greatly impeded by the disruption caused by the trumpet judgments.

4. There are many people who trust in Christ during this time. Although we have only one place where humility worship toward God is expressed (at the end of the week, Rev. 11:13) yet after the wrath of God has been fully expressed, there will be a multitude of people still alive who populate Messiah's earthly kingdom as believers.

5. However the vast majority of humanity will remain in spiritual rebellion against God and will be experiencing the awesome judgments from the 6 trumpets.

6. And now toward the end of the week, a massive military machine is oppressing the nations of the world and undermining the reign of the beast.

7. It is at this time that the beast has finally "had enough" of the two witnesses and kills them in the city of Jerusalem. This act brings his reign crashing down around him as it paves the way for the FINAL outpouring of divine wrath via the 7 bowl judgments which are announced by the 7th trumpet.


©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.