Sunday, January 9, 2022

Why Wrath Comes

 God’s Warnings

We began by establishing a timeline using what Jesus said about Daniel’s prophecy that is connected to His second coming. In order to place the seals and trumpets in Revelation within this timeline, it was necessary to begin by looking at these prophecies: 

  • The World - Revelation 11 
  • Israel - Revelation 12 
  • Satan - Revelation 13

Each one of these chapters describes events that will take place in Daniel’s Week. The description is given after the final trumpet, which we now know happens after that week ends and is when the Bride of Christ will be removed from the Earth. 

The next event John witnessed was the 144,000 believers, who will be anointed for God's purposes. The 144,000 believers were commissioned after the sixth seal and before the trumpet blasts. Their fate is seen after the last trumpet when all 144,000 are in Heaven. This is another confirmation that the rapture happens at the seventh and final trumpet. Then John saw some additional events that will have repercussions on the Earth. 

The Three Angels 

And I saw another angel fly in the middle of Heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the Earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made Heaven, and Earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7 AKJV)

The first of three angels appears and speaks to people on a spiritual level after the final trumpet and all the 144,000 are in Heaven with the bride of Christ. The message is a warning to all of mankind. The fuller meaning of ‘fear” is “to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience.” 

We know this is the right interpretation because “give glory” follows after it, which is what you do when you venerate someone. The announcement of the “hour of judgment” means that Christians who are left on Earth should know that God is now pouring out His wrath. 

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Revelation 14:8 AKJV)

The second angel addresses what is happening in the world. What Babylon is and how it falls are discussed in chapter 18. Until then, it is good to note that the economic structure of the world changes at this point.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:9-12 AKJV)

The third angel warns the world not to come into agreement with Satan and what he is doing. We have seen this warning in chapter 11 where the enemy’s plans are revealed. The mark seems to begin somewhere after the middle of the Tribulation. Perhaps the full persecution begins to take place at this point. Up to this point, taking the mark may be a choice. Perhaps here, the entire world will be required to have it or be killed.

The pattern of the three angels is very familiar, it is exactly what we saw addressed in chapters 11, 12, and 13. We must take this warning seriously if we do not want to be caught in God’s wrath.

  1. We cannot take the mark of the beast.
  2. We cannot worship the beast.

One thing is now clear, if we do either of these, the consequences will be severe. We have already discussed the possibilities of the mark and what worship means, so we won’t go over it here. Instead, let’s focus on the new information:

  1. These actions will lead to eternal torment.
  2. A pronoun is used with each action, “who worship” and “whoever receives,” which indicates that either action will lead to the same punishment.

With this section of scripture, we now know that you cannot take the mark of the beast. We must do as this angel urges us to: keep the commandments of God and the faith in the Lord Jesus who is the Christ.

And I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from now on: Yes, said the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13 AKJV)

The first angel said to “fear God” and we must fear Him more than we fear man. This means when we know that something is opposed to our God, we choose God, even in the face of death. 

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV)

When we look at all that has happened, we know that God has given ample warning.

After the trumpets and the rapture, the whole world will be given a choice. We will not be able to buy or sell without the “mark of the beast.” When you hold to the Lord and do not take the mark of the beast, you may be beheaded. 

...and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands... (Revelation 20:4 AKJV)

It may sound grim, but at this point in time, death is actually a blessing. We get to Heaven through the sacrifice of Jesus, however, “our works follow us,” which means that our station in Heaven will be determined by what we have done here on Earth. The New Testament tells us that:

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV) 

She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. (Revelation 19:8 NLT)

Our salvation comes through our faith in Jesus, however, we should have works to go with that faith. Our works on Earth will still be counted to our credit for those who are left on Earth after the rapture. More about the different stations or positions will be discussed when we talk about the 1000 year reign.

The next scene that John witnesses should be read all together, although it is a bit long:

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud one sat like to the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the Earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the Earth; and the Earth was reaped. 

And another angel came out of the temple which is in Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the Earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the Earth, and gathered the vine of the Earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even to the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (Revelation 14:14-20 AKJV)

The “harvest” is the harvest of souls for the kingdom of Heaven because it is “clusters from the vine.” Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, bearing fruit (John 15:5). Those who miss the rapture will be on Earth for the wrath of God. 

The blood of Christians will be spilled during this time, but a rich harvest will be the result. So much blood will be spilled that it is several feet deep for 200 miles; a furlong is one-eighth of a mile. This is done “outside the city” and we know it began in Heaven, so it must be referring to the “New Jerusalem” or the “Heavenly Jerusalem” where God sits on His throne. This may indicate that access to God will be limited for those who do not go in the rapture.

Why Wrath Comes

Many people don’t want to talk about the Book of Revelation. They ask, “How could a loving God pour out wrath upon people?” If you read the Old Testament, you will find out why.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16 AKJV)

Paul is instructing his new young leader about scripture found in the Old Testament. When we follow Paul’s advice, it is easy to see a decided trend in the stories of God’s people. Our Father would let them continue in sin for a certain period of time. Then, consequences would come - sometimes hundreds of years later. Several verses in the New Testament seem to contradict this aspect of God. Let’s look at one of those very closely:

But to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5 AKJV)

At first glance this seems to say that we do not need to “work” for God. We must consider the topic Paul is addressing: the Jewish people wanted to continue working for their righteousness as they did under the Law of Moses. We should not apply this verse to anything but salvation which is confirmed as we continue reading this chapter:

For the promise to Abraham or his posterity, that he should inherit the world, did not come through [observing the commands of] the Law but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13 AMPC)

The Greek word dikaiosynÄ“ is translated as righteousness. It means “in a state acceptable to God.” Before Jesus, only God’s people could be in a right relationship with God through the yearly sacrifice of an animal. Without that sacrifice, they would go to Hell instead of Heaven. 

The eternal destination of each person was the singular curse of the Law which we are redeemed from when we take Jesus as Lord. It is this state of righteousness that is referred to when it says, through Jesus we are righteous. When you see statements about our “righteousness,” look at the entire chapter or perhaps the two verses surrounding it and you will see that the topic is our eternal salvation. 

The wrath of God is coming because of sin. The New Testament also addresses the sin that is in the lives of Christians.

Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? (Romans 6:16 AMPC)

Satan is the author of sin. When we sin we are surrendering to him. This is one of many scriptures in the New Testament, written after Jesus left the Earth, that urge us to leave sin behind because it gives Satan access to us in this life. Our Lord told us that if we really love Him, we will do what He tells us to do.

"If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15 AKJV)

If we don’t learn God’s ways, how will we know what the Lord is commanding us to do? God’s people, the Hebrews in the Old Testament, didn’t stop being God’s people when they disobeyed Him. When they refused to remove sin from their lives, God turned them over to their enemies until they repented (turned from that sin). 

God will be placing the world in Satan’s hands during the time of the seals and trumpets. It will be a time of great hardship and attacks upon Christians. This warning is to give us an opportunity to repent. When that doesn’t happen, then He will pour out His wrath. 

And I saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. (Revelation 15:1 AKJV)

This chapter begins by showing the last seven plagues, which are referred to elsewhere as the vials or the bowls of wrath. Between the mark of the beast and the vials of wrath, this is a time for Christians to make a decision. We will see the result of this next. 

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints.  Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before You; for Your judgments are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:2-4 AKJV)

There is a great reward for those who will give their lives instead of receiving the mark of the beast; they will worship the Lord at the Throne of God. 

And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in Heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave to the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. (Revelation 15:5-8 AKJV)

Once God’s wrath begins, His temple will be closed until the wrath is complete. If there was limited access before, now those on Earth will have no access. With this information, we can now place a new item on the timeline which may cause us to adjust our timetable of events in the future. 

Jesus’ Point of View

After completing this message, I had an interesting visit with the Lord in the Secret Place. When the vision came into focus, I was doing a fast-paced tango with Jesus. Are you familiar with this dance? It is commonly thought of as the “lovers dance” filled with precise, quick, flamboyant movements. The words "tango" and "tambo" around the River Plate basin were initially used to refer to musical gatherings of slaves as early as 1789. 

The Lord’s face was a bit stony, lacking the kindness I usually find in His eyes so I tested the vision asking, “Do you confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?” 

Jesus answered in the usual way, affirming that it was Him. 

“Then why are we not waltzing? This is so strong and fast, a bit harsh…” I asked. 

With the next step, we began to waltz. Gently, I floated along in His arms, responding to the barely perceivable pressure of His guidance. “This is so much better,” I breathed a sigh of relief.

Jesus began to explain, “Many wish to dance with Me, but they set the pace of the tango. In the guise of love, they rush to perform one task then the next. That is the way they see walking with Me.” 

“We determine the pace, not You?” This was surprising information. 

“I can only give them what they allow Me to.” With His words, I could sense His desire to take His bride in His arms to waltz as if floating on a cloud. 

I leaned into Him, resting my head on His shoulder. “My Love, it is the gentleness of the waltz, the rest that I desire. It refreshes my heart and reveals Your love for me.” 

I believe Jesus chose this specific moment to reveal the tango. Even though time is short and there are many unpleasant events coming, we must continue to rest in the Lord. If we see ourselves as “slaves” only, working hard to show Him how much we love Him, then we are missing out on the best part. It is a gentle embrace, as we rest in Him that He desires to give us. 

Please keep this in mind as we discuss the vials of wrath. 



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