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Good Friday morning. Another week has flown by.
Revelation 15: 5-8
5 “After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, with golden sashes across their chests. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever; 8 and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.”
The “tent of witness” is a common title in the Old Testament for the tabernacle in the wilderness. John is seeing this vision in terms of the ancient tabernacle, not the temple in Jerusalem. Here comes the seven avenging angels. They are coming out of the Holy Place in the tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was, where the tables of the ten commandments were kept, the Law of God. The angels are coming out to avenge all who did not keep God’s Law.
Their outfits are symbolic: they are priestly, royal, and gleaming white. They are inhabitants of heaven who have come to execute God’s decrees upon earth. Verse 7–remember the four living creatures from 4:7? The lion, ox, man and eagle. One of them hands the bowls of wrath to the seven angels. This may symbolize that nature is serving God’s purposes.
The smoke is a common symbol of God from the Old Testament. Exodus 40: 34-35 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Possibly, the plans and purposes of God will be clouded and obscured to humans because we cannot see into the mind of God. It appears that nothing can be done until the avenging angels have completed their mission. Nothing can halt the judgement! Yikes!
Blessings on your day,
Good Thursday morning. We had a good turnout at our Ash Wednesday service last night. It was nice to see people in person. Ashes imposed with Q-tips worked pretty well. I pray things begin to return to some sort of normalcy.
Revelation 15: 1-4
“Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations!
4 Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed.”
This is very typical apocalyptic writing. John has told of horrors and now he adds more horrors in the upcoming verses. The material is grouped in sevens and threes standing for completeness and perfection. The scene is in heaven. The martyrs who have come through the end times are looking at a sea of glass mixed with fire. This is the fire of judgment.
They sing the song Moses sang when the Israelites came triumphantly through the Red Sea. The martyrs died agonizing deaths, but they came through victoriously. Exodus 15: 1-19. This song was sung by the Jews at every Sabbath evening service in the synagogue. This song commemorated the greatest deliverance of God’s people in the history of Israel.
This song is almost entirely composed of quotations from the Old Testament, mostly from Psalms. When the martyrs wished to find words to praise God for His goodness and His greatness, it was in the Scripture that they found them. There is not one mention about their own victory in this song; it is all about God’s greatness.
Blessings on your day,
Good Wednesday morning. Any signs of spring, yet? Other than it is almost light out until 6:00 pm. Remember in December when it was dark at 3:30? There is hope in the air. This weekend, the temps will be in the 30’s again! Yay!
Today, we finish chapter 14 in the Revelation to John.
14 “Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand! 15 Another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and he threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse’s bridle, for a distance of about two hundred miles.
Such imagery! This is the final vision in this chapter and it is a vision of judgment. The images are very familiar to Jews. the first picture comes from Daniel 7: 13-14 “As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
14 To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed.”
Then, we have imagery of harvest using metaphors that would be familiar to the Jews.
Joel 3: 14 “Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.”
And Mark 4: 29 “But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
God’s judgment is also like the trampling of the grapes. See Lamentations 1:15 and Isaiah 63:3.
In this passage, the risen Lord would be reaping those who are destined for salvation and the angel would be reaping those destined to condemnation. The amount of blood seems to represent an amount in the tide of judgment that would cover the land. There is no other logical explanation for this. Judgment will be complete.
Blessings on your day,
Good Tuesday morning. Praying for all the people who are not used to the cold. Poor Texans called a National Emergency! Millions are without power; there were tornadoes and snownadoes! All across the East they are getting weather they are not accustomed to. We just go on like it’s Tuesday!
Revelation 14: 13
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”
This is a beautiful promise that follows all of that doom and gloom. It is a word of encouragement to those who are faithful. Everything in the ancient world was trying to separate people from Christ. Remember the encouraging words Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome. Romans 8:38-39
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What John is saying is that no matter what life was like on earth, there will be rest in heaven. The only thing we take with us in death is our character that we demonstrated during our lifetime.
Blessings on your day; stay warm!
Good Monday morning and happy President’s Day! Another frosty morning it is! We had a great turnout at church yesterday in spite of the cold. We are tough Minnesotans!
Revelation 14: 9-12
9 “Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, 10 they will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.”
This is a warning to all who fail in the time of trial. It is the fiercest warning of all dooms. In the days of John, the Church was righting for its life. If the Church was to survive, it was going to have to be prepared to face suffering, trials, imprisonment, and even death. This fate was dependent on each individual Christian being faithful until death.
In Genesis 19:28, we read of the same fate for Sodom and Gomorrah. Also Isaiah 34: 8-10 describes the same kind of vengeance from God. The wicked will be destroyed in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. Ezra 4 says, “There shall be shown the furnace of hell, and opposite to it the paradise of delight.”
To us modern Christians, this seems so harsh, but in ancient times, the persecution of the church was real and hellish. They were encouraged by the thought that some day, their tormentors would face judgement.
Blessings on your day,
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