THE SEVEN BOWL JUDGMENTS – CONTINUED

THE HEAVENLY PREPARATION FOR JUDGMENT

REVELATION 15:1-8

This is such an interesting study in the Book of Revelation.  As we saw in our last study, there is to be a terrible time coming upon the earth as we get closer to the actual end of time.  It will be a time so terrible that Christ Himself described it as the “GREAT TRIBULATION” (Matthew 24:21).

As we look through John’s eyes we see that Revelation uses some descriptive language to describe this period of time.  It is called the time of judgment, trumpet judgments, picturing the blast of trumpets.

There have been SEVEN trumpet judgments altogether.  But when the seventh trumpet blasted an amazing thing happened.  There was no blast of judgment, not immediately.  Instead an over-all picture of the end time was blown forth.  As we saw in our last study, there was an over-all picture of the end time.  We saw:

  • The picture of Israel being chosen as the nation through which God would send His Son into the world, the picture of Jesus Christ coming to the earth as the Savior of the world (Revelation 12:1-5).
  •  The picture of the dragon, that old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, working to get men to be ungodly and evil — all because he wants to cut and hurt the heart of God (Revelation 12:16-17).
  • The picture of the Antichrist and his right-hand man coming upon the earth, the picture of how they will gain and consolidate power over the whole earth and launch the worst holocaust the world has ever seen (Revelation 13:1-18).
  • The glorious picture of the very end of the world when Jesus Christ triumphs over all the ungodly and evil of this world, the picture of Jesus Christ harvesting the earth, of His taking believers to heaven with Him and judging unbelievers (Revelation 14:1-20).

Now, the seventh trumpet blasts forth its judgments.  And the judgments come fast and furious.  Why?

*Because they are the very last judgments.  God has decided to end human history.

*Because He has decided to stop all the ungodliness and evil of the earth.

*Because He can no longer take the rebellion, denial, cursing, immorality, stealing, drunkenness, sorcery, and murder of man.

*Therefore, Jesus Christ will destroy all the ungodly and evil of this world and do it quickly.

*Remember:  the whole Tribulation will last seven years.

*It will be divided into two parts or periods:

1. The first period will be 3 1/2 years and is called THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS.

2.  The last period will also be 3 1/2 years and is called THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

NOTE:

  • When the tribulation begins, during the first 3 1/2 years, there will be seven seal judgments that will take place upon earth (Revelation 6:1-7:17).
  • When the GREAT TRIBULATION itself begins, the final 3 1/2 years, there will be seven trumpet judgments that will take place upon earth (Revelation 8:1-14:20).
  • Then, at the very end of the Tribulation period, there will be seven more judgments, the SEVEN BOWL  JUDGMENTS.  The bowl judgments will end all the ungodliness and the evil of man upon earth.

NOTE – 3 things we have seen:

  1. The sign of judgment in heaven (Revelation 15:1).
  2. The reason for the judgment: believers will be martyred by the Beast or Antichrist (15:2-4).
  3. The Judgment of God will be sent forth (15:5-8).

Now notice Revelation 15:1 in which we see heaven and God’s judgement in heaven.  The scene in heaven strikes reverence in the human heart.

Note:  the scene in heaven is said TO BE A SIGN…

  • that is great and awesome.
  • of seven mighty angels or messengers prepared to go forth for God.
  • of seven plagues that are said to be the LAST PLAGUES.
  • of God’s wrath.

This awesome sign in heaven is intended by God to stir people to bow before God who is LOVE and JUST.  And His justice is ready to be executed upon earth.  His wrath against all the ungodly and evil upon this earth is ready to fall.  Therefore, man must PREPARE:  repent and get ready before it is too late.

“And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH” (Luke 13:3).

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

Now let’s move to Revelation 15:2-4.  Now we will see the reason for judgment.  Believers will be slaughtered by the Beast or Antichrist.  This explains why the wrath of God is going to fall upon earth in the last days.  The Beast, the Antichrist, will launch the worst holocaust the world has ever seen.  Literally millions of believers will be slaughtered during his rule upon earth.

These verses show the believers in heaven.

Please note four things about them:

1. The martyred believers will be on the sea of glass that stretches out before the throne of God itself (Revelation 4:6; 15:2).  Note that the glass is mingled with fire.  This symbolizes some important information:

  • the fire of persecution that believers were put through.
  • the fire of judgment that is about to fall upon the ungodly and evil of the earth.

2. The martyred believers will be victorious over the Antichrist.  They…

  • will not worship his image (Revelation 13:15).
  • will not receive his mark (Revelation 13:16-17).
  • will not receive the number of his name, the number 666 (Revelation 13:18).

FACT:  The true believer of the end time will not follow the Antichrist. They will refuse to worship the state and its leader.  Therefore, the leader and his government will prosecute and kill the believers as revolutionaries against the government.

Remember, the holocaust will not cover just a local nation or even several nations as all genocides have in the past.  The holocaust of the end time will be WORLD WIDE.

There will be millions more than ever before slaughtered in the most cruel and savage ways imaginable.   They will be slaughtered BECAUSE they are falsely accused of being enemies of the state.  The insult will be so bad that God can take it no longer.  He is going to step in and stop the foolishness and the evil of men.  He is going to stop the evil rule of man upon this earth.

3. The martyred believers will possess harps (Revelation 15:2).  The harps are symbols of being soothed and given rest and of praising and worshipping God.  God will soothe the hurt and pain of the martyred believers and give them rest, and they will praise and worship Him.

4. The martyred believers will sing two great songs of  victory (v. 3):  the song of the Lamb and the song of Moses that was sung by the children of Israel when they crossed the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-19).  Note what they sing.

a. They sing to the Almighty God, praising his works.

“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty;” (v. 3a).

b.  They sing to the King of saints or nations, to the justice and truth of His ways. (The more accurate Greek texts read nations or ages here.)

“Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (nations): (v. 3b).                                     

c. They sing to the Lord, to the fear and glory of His name. 

“Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?”  (v. 4a).

d. They sing to the holy and just God, for all nations shall come and worship Him because He is going to judge the earth.

“for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (v. 4b).  Note that the millennial reign of Christ is being referred to in this statement of praise.

FACT:  The persons who stand up for Jesus Christ against the temptations and trials of this life are the persons who will be in heaven (the truly saved, those who have believed passages like John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13 and have acted on it [applied it to their lives] and will reign with Christ!

Remember, to be in heaven one must stand up for Christ in this life.  We must NEVER accept the marks of this world or be identified among the number of unbelievers who are not saved.  We must be diligent and bear only the marks of Christ.

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that ENDURETH to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”  (I Corinthians 15:58).

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).

“For whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH THE WORLD: AND THIS IS THE VICTORY THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, EVEN OUR FAITH.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:4-5; Romans 10:17).

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that OVERCOMETH WILL I GIVE TO EAT OF THE TREE OF LIFE, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).

“And he that OVERCOMETH, and KEEPETH my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” (Revelation 2:26). 

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).                               

“Him that OVERCOMETH will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). 

“To him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcome, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

“He that OVERCOMETH shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:7).

In our next study we will look more at judgment of God sent forth, that is the wrath of God.  We will see:

  1. The door to the “temple of the tabernacle’ is opened (Revelation 15:5).
  2. The seven angels coming out from the Most Holy Place. In other words, from the presence of God.   We will also look at why this is a terrifying picture.
  3. Also we will consider the seven angels who are given seven gold bowls that are fitted with the wrath of God (Revelation 15:7).
  4. Also we will see the door to the temple of God, to heaven and salvation and the fact that it will be closed.  No one will be able to enter heaven any longer, not until the seven judgments are completed.  Perhaps this will cause the unsaved to consider God’s message of salvation while the door is still open to heaven. God says:

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:52). 

Are you ready to face the true and living God, the Lord Jesus Christ?  Only you can truly know if you are saved (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13).  He is coming back, no one knows when, He simply tells us to be ready.  So, are you ready to face Him, the eternal, true and living God?

If you are not ready, one must ask, “why?”  Why would you not want to go to heaven and spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ?

Think about this:  Having been born again (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13), the gospel believer can have intimate fellowship with God (John 17:3), which is the greatest of all human experiences (Psalm 63:1-8; Philippians 3:7-10; I John 1:1-3).

Good Question:  Having been born again (John 3:16), what must we who are saved do to maintain and deepen our daily personal fellowship with the living God?  Keep in mind that this does not concern our salvation relationship with God, which is divinely maintained and is unchanging.  We cultivate this fellowship by observing certain principles of ten interpersonal relationships with God and interacting with the person of the divine Trinity individually.

Later we may define the principles related to our daily and ongoing relationship with God.  Look for these principles later in a study dealing with the subject.

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