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Friday, November 27, 2020

The TTUF STUDY on The REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST – Chapter FIFTEEN & SIXTEEN

~ by James Fire

Introduction: Talk about “the judgment of GOD” and you’ll get many disapproving glares, scoffs, and, or ridicule from the world; or even among professing Christians. This world hates the idea of judgment from GOD, but let a judge dismiss someone that committed a crime against them, and they’d balk - - loudly!

Our GOD is a GOD of truth, and therefore also a GOD of justice; yet the idea of justice can be quite relative in this fallen world (just as truth has been for generations now). Commit the same crime in different countries and you’ll be judged with varying degrees of severity based on their own rule of law.
This is not the case with GOD’s justice however, which is the twin of GOD’s truth: both are immutable, both are eternal, both are resolute and represent His nature with absolute perfection. 

Without GOD’s judgment – murderers like Hitler, Stalin, and others, along with abortionists that have slain over 70 million babies in the USA alone; agnostics who fight fiercely to remove any mention of GOD, whether on our money or in our schools, and every other worker of lawlessness such that exalt evolution as science, and other ungodly philosophies, derailing the faith of professing Christians – would go unpunished.

The world likes to remind us that GOD is love and would never condemn anyone to an eternal punishment! Such is their perverse, lop-sided view of GOD. Yes, GOD is the very embodiment of love, a love unequalled anywhere: the Cross is evidence enough of this – where sinners find grace, forgiveness of sin and love. 

And it’s also at that same Cross where we see the holiness and justice of GOD – because Christ suffered the vengeful wrath of a Holy GOD on our behalf (ISAIAH 53), Who views any rebellion against Him as blatantly evil.
The world in the vast majority spurns the Cross of Christ, the Eternal emblem of the LORD’s love expressed for fallen humanity. I’ve heard atheists say that they wish they could see this ‘fictitious Jesus’ show up for real, just so that they could crucify Him a second time!

Since they reject this offer of salvation and escape “the wrath to come” through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on our behalf (1 THESS 1:10), they will meet the undiluted, unrestrained, unstoppable wrath that will be poured out upon the world that will be under the reign of anti-Christ.

Yet even this fierce wrath of GOD will be finally spent, never to be seen again (REV 20:11-15 – REV 21:1-2). Once these last seven plagues are administered to the anti-Christ and his followers, the Second Coming of Christ occurs, and there is the judgment of the Beast and the false Prophet, the consignment of Satan to the bottomless pit, and the judgment of nations (that will receive either commendation or condemnation based on how they treated Israel (MATT 25:32) during the time of Jacob’s Trouble (JER 30:7). 

There will, I’m sure, be episodes of sporadic judgment upon the nations during the Millennial Reign such as upon those who refuse to go up to Jerusalem to worship the Messiah King (ZECH 14:16-19), but the most awesome and terrible judgment won’t occur until after the Millennial Reign, once the old heavens and old earth pass away and all that is seen in the fathomless emptiness of space will be the Great White Throne (REV 20:11) commencing holy judgment, where hopelessly lost sinners will be condemned for eternity in hell, all because of their wholesale rejection of Christ!
REVELATION 15:1
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God
.

Even the judgment of GOD will know a final and ultimate end; afterwards, there will be only that which existed at the beginning: the singular and holy order of GOD and His adoring creation of men and angels, with not a trace of rebellion or sin in their midst. Harmonious holiness will reign supreme, along with peace of paramount proportions, and the limitless expanse of grace and truth.

Yet that time is not yet – the holiness of GOD demands judgment upon these who curse GOD in utter rebellion. Once done, “the wrath of GOD” will be “filled up.” Done. Complete (the number seven signifies completion)!!

REVELATION 15:2-4
2 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. 3 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; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest
.

This is a scene taking place in heaven; those mentioned who received the victory over the beast must then be martyrs. How strange (or not) are the ideas of this world compared to the truth of the Kingdom of GOD. In the world, he who dies in battle is predominantly considered the loser. Yet in the Kingdom of GOD, life and death are immaterial and indicate neither victory nor defeat. What marks victory here is the loyalty of these saints to the LORD Jesus Christ even at the point of death (REV 14:12-13). He Who is the Victor of victors will grant immortal, glorified bodies to all the saints and an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” in reward (2 COR 4:17)!

Imagine the spectacle of this scene! A sea shimmering with the reflective light of [golden] fire, and these overcomers are standing on it: fire representing the holy presence of GOD that at the same time refines His people in sanctification and ruins the unrepentant in condemnation. The sea representing the tumultuous, churning, even violent unrest of fallen humanity (ISAIAH 57:20) that is now at rest – as smooth as glass, as sedate as a sleeping babe – as are all of humanity that are in Christ!

No doubt that, while on Earth, surrounded by jeering, mocking reprobates under the rule of the Beast, armed with ample weapons of death, the fullest extent of the anti-Christ’s system of law on their side: the situation looked grim for the saints, that are overcome and slain by the Beast (REV 11:7). 

No escaping this fate of martyrdom, no rescue by the LORD whose coming these saints likely pleaded for – one would easily lose faith if not for the enabling and sustaining power (dunamis) of the Holy Spirit, Whose anointing emboldens the saints to stand fast and declare unabashedly their love and allegiance for JESUS (ACTS 1:8), though it would mean certain death – or worse.

Yet once loosed from their mortal coil, these beloved are met as Stephen was: by the LORD Jesus Christ, Who at the right hand of the Father, was not sitting, but standing (ACTS 7:56) – and ready to receive His faithful witness (martos in the Greek; REV 2:13).

We often see Renaissance pictures of fat baby angels with harps in their hands, but this instrument is common among the saints and among people in general), rather than the angelic race; even the anointed cherub who was once Lucifer doesn’t bear such an instrument among those that were gifted to him (tabrets and pipes were those instruments granted to him; perhaps actually incorporated into his very being?).

Vs. 3 “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God”

The song of Moses (EXOD 15:1-19) was one of celebration of YHWH’s victory over the enemy of Israel, Egypt (a type of the world), and so, it’s entirely fitting that these should sing this song, seeing how the LAMB of GOD has granted them the victory over the world in general (1 JOHN 5:4), and their persecutors specifically. 

Vs. 3b-4a “…Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy…”

This is the “Song of the Lamb” that extols His great and marvelous works which these faithful witnesses are wondering with astonishment at; now that they’ve crossed the portals of heaven to view their awesome glory, fashioned with artistic perfection by the Glorious Creator! 

Matchless in pure justice, rendering exacting judgment to one and all outside of the grace of GOD, that finds such fallen souls weighed in the balance and “found wanting” (DAN 5:27).

Not only is the fear of the LORD the beginning of wisdom, but it’s part and parcel of worship itself. One cannot worship without the fear of the LORD, and to express the fear of the LORD without worship is impossible. This fear is a godly fear, not an ungodly fear, which describes those who will be consigned to Gehenna along with the unbelieving, the liars, murderers, idolaters, etc. (REV 21:8). 

The fear of the LORD is to reverence Him above all others; the kind of fear that compels you to be on your best, Holy Spirit-empowered behavior – not out of duty, but because of a fervent, zealous, passionate, consuming love and adoration for the LORD!

The fear of the LORD longs to bring glory to His Worthy Name!
Vs. 4b – “…for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

The nations will come to fear the LORD in just this way; I can just see it now: people making the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, crossing landscapes of wondrous beauty, with new life by the Spirit of GOD breathed into this old, weary world. And upon entering in and beholding the glory of the LORD, prostrating down, and adoring Him we will have fellowship with our precious LORD!

ISAIAH 2:3
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem
.

The Millennial Reign of Christ will be thrilling beyond imagining, as will the New Earth and New Heavens (1 COR 2:9)!

REVELATION 15: 5-8
5 And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6 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. 7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8 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
.

The preamble of this judgment is completed; now the performing of it will be seen!
Note that there is a temple in heaven; that this building founded upon eternity was seen by Moses and used as a template for the tabernacle in the wilderness (HEB 8:5). It was this holy, heavenly temple that Christ entered into at His ascension and presented “His own blood” and “obtained eternal redemption for us” (HEB 9:12).

Since Chapter 15 is so short, it seems only fitting to continue on in Chapter 16, so the length of this study will be a bit lengthier than usual.

REVELATION 16:1
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth
.

As we will see, these last seven judgments are dialed way up; many of these sort were seen previously but resulted in a third of things being destroyed – but here, we will witness wholesale destruction!

REVELATION 16:2-4
2 And the first went and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. 3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. 4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood

The first vial – This terrible poisonous, rotten, loathsome, and pain-ridden ulcerating sore plagues one and all, the globe over, who received the mark of the Beast and worshiped his image. Some suggest these sores are a reaction to the insertion of this mark into human tissue and while I hold that out as a possibility, I think the plainer explanation is that GOD is simply plaguing those who are defiant to His Lordship. 

The second vial – Whereas previously, we saw hail mingled with blood (REV 8:7) and a third of the seas became blood (REV 8:8) and the two witnesses are granted power to turn “waters into blood” (REV 11:6), but here, it’s an all-encompassing plague that turns all the sea into blood, and every living thing in it died (vs. 3). 

The third vial – The same thing happened with “the rivers and the fountains” (vs. 4).

This world either by pagan governments or false religions through the ages shed the blood of the righteous saints of GOD, and now this world is reaping what it has sown, harvesting for themselves blood that is inescapable, and present everywhere! Read the following:

REVELATION 16:5-7
5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments
.

REVELATION 16:8-11
8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. 10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores and repented not of their deeds
.

The fourth vial – this plague affects the sun so that its power to scorch afflicts the earth-dwellers; imagine this affliction on top of those grievous sores that they’ve already received! Yet for all of these afflictions, that they know are from GOD, they still, in their sinful obstinacy refused to repent, but rather blasphemed the name of GOD Who held the control over these plagues!

This is the net result of GOD’s Judgment: it will either break a sinner of their stubborn sinful self and lead them to repentance or harden them even harder until they are devastated (like Pharaoh during the days of the Exodus).

One might say, “But it’s the goodness of GOD that leads to repentance” (ROM 2:4b), and you would be right! His grace, forbearance, and longsuffering are instrumental in leading us to repentance – yet if we harden our hearts against these virtues of GOD Who seeks to lead us to Himself with a meek and contrite heart, then He brings judgment upon the impenitent and “wrath against the day of wrath” (ROM 2:5).

We do know that as a result of these severe judgments in conjunction with the preaching of the Gospel by the 144,000 (REV 7), the two witnesses (REV 11) and even an angel (REV 14:6), that a multitude beyond count were saved!

The fifth vial – Here is darkness that covered the rule of the Beast so that his kingdom was full of darkness; many of these plagues mirror those plagues GOD sent down upon Egypt through His prophet, Moses. This is one of those:

EXODUS 10:21-22
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days
:

Except in the latter case during the Great Tribulation, this darkness follows the sores and the scorching sun – in such darkness, the tactile sensation of pain would be magnified greatly, so much so, to the point where these who are under GOD’s wrath “gnawed their tongues for pain”!

Contrary to this horrendous time of Great Tribulation and wrath and judgment, the Millennial period will be one of peace and prosperity under the wonderful rule of the beneficent and beautiful JESUS CHRIST our LORD! Yet in both instances, there are unrepentant sinners: in the tribulation they blaspheme GOD and in the Millennium, when given a chance to follow Lucifer who’s let out of the pit, they will rebel against GOD – thus showing, no matter the environment, it’s not circumstances or situations that cause wicked rebellion, but rather man’s own wicked heart!

The sixth vial – This vial unleashes incredible demonic entities from the, what’s been known as ‘the satanic trinity’ – the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, and they have the appearance of frogs (of all things), and are demonic spirits which work the miraculous (supernatural abilities), and are instrumental in gathering the rulers of this world to the final battleground of Armageddon (PSALM 2:1-3 is applicable here).

The river Euphrates was seen before in REV 9 and there, four (fallen) angels which were in some way, bound to this river were set loose and apparently what resulted was a vast army of some kind, probably demonic that crossed the globe, killing off a third of all humanity!

REVELATION 16:12-14
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty
(Again, PSALM 2).

As a side note, the idea of these demonic spirits that appear like frogs reminds me of another demonic manifestation known as alien abduction; people all over the world (about 3% of US citizens claim an abduction experience) believe that they were taken by aliens from another world, and they more often than not appear as these short, grey beings with small or no noses, slits for mouths and large bulbous eyes – very much like a frog. 

It’s also interesting, that on a number of occasions when the abductee is just about brought into the supposed ‘alien spacecraft’ but they cry out the name of JESUS, the entire experience ends then and there! In fact the entire UFO phenomena is a fascinating and quite tragic one: people are hapless victims, powerless against these ‘beings’ that take them at their will and force all sorts of gruesome and perverted acts upon them, leaving them devastated and broken for life.

We who know the LORD, understand the power that breaks such evilness; the holy and almighty Name of the LORD Jesus Christ!

For a series on E.T. = Extraterrestrial TERRORISTS? Check out the following from The RED PILL Consortium:
PART 1, PART 2PART 3PART 4 

REVELATION 16:15
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame
.

Behold the grace of GOD, where even here, in this highly climatic and heavily crushing judgment that we can hear from the lips of our LORD: “Blessed…” – even now, there is yet hope for those who will watch (for the LORD; MARK 13:33) “and keep his garments” that is, to hold fast to the hope of salvation that the LORD has offered; nakedness here entails the same idea as in the Garden of Eden: the first Parents of the Human race, after they fell into sin, and they saw that they were naked (GEN 3:7). Even more so, that the saints who have garments “clean and white” (REV 19:7-9) will remain steadfast and faithful to the Name of the LORD Jesus Christ (REV 2:10).

To not be naked, that is, to be clothed is to be adorned in “the garments of salvation” and covered with the robe of righteousness (ISAIAH 61:10). 

Always, in the midst of judgment, GOD tapers His righteous wrath with grace – one can see that all throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, most especially in the writings of the Pre- and Post-Exile prophets!

The LORD arrives as a thief, that is with a sudden, unexpected appearance – but only to those who are lost and refuse to seek Him (for those who do seek the LORD, they are promised to be found of Him; ISAIAH 55:6). Those who watch and pray are not caught off guard by the LORD’s coming, are not unprepared to meet Him, and with longing expectation, pray earnestly for His arrival (1 THESS 5:4-10).

REVELATION 16:16
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon
.

As in vs. 14, this describes the place of “the battle of that great day of GOD Almighty” when the grandeur and glory of GOD will be revealed in all His power, vanquishing the sum total of the power of the anti-Christ, indwelt by Satan himself. The battle of Armageddon is seen in literature as a fiercely contentious battle in the long war between good and evil, leaving anxious doubt as to who would conquer. Yet this is certainly not the case; it can hardly be considered a battle, but more of a rout, that is “a disorderly retreat of defeated troops”!

On the one side you have GOD made flesh, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent (all powerful, all knowing, ever present), Who with His spoken Word accomplishes all His will so that none can turn it aside and negate it (ISAIAH 14:24-27).
On the other hand, you have this fallen cherub, Lucifer (EZEK 28:12-15; ISAIAH 14:12); quite probably the most powerful, most intelligent, most beautiful creation of GOD, but is nonetheless a created being that is not Omnipresent, not Omniscient or Omnipotent, but finite in his power and knowledge and location.

Even with the hosts of hell, and every demon ever spawned, with the collective, conspiratorial companies of corrupt humanity, GOD outnumbers them on the basis of angelic power alone (only 1/3 of the heavenly host followed Satan in the rebellion, so nearly 67% of the angels remained loyal to GOD. Yet in this battle, the LORD Jesus Christ assumes the sole power arrayed against Satan and all the forces at his command (ISAIAH 63:3); this winepress of the wrath of GOD in which the LORD treads down His foes in His righteous anger (REV 14:19; 19:15).

REVELATION 16:17-18
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great

I have little doubt that the very voice of GOD, this “great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne” will be heard all over the globe; by this time there will be every doubt removed that this judgment is by the hand of GOD and with the pronouncement of these three words, “It is done” – we would say, “That’s all He wrote!” – that the people of Earth would understand what was declared earlier:

REVELATION 11:15b
…The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever
.

The Earth at this time will be under New Management! The old landlord, Satan, the god of this world (2 COR 4:4) is cast down, and He Who purchased (redeemed) the world with His own blood (1 JOHN 2:2) will take up His earthly government on His shoulders that once carried the cross (ISAIAH 9:6; 53:4) with the same certainty with which He governs heaven (MATT 28:18)! 

In MATTHEW 4:8, the devil showed to the LORD “all the kingdoms of the world” and the word for ‘world’ used here is kosmos, which includes the masses of humanity as well as the Earth itself and having redeemed that which was His from the beginning as He is the Creator of it, He earns the right to claim the title deed of the Earth (REV 5:6-10).

Once that Voice from heaven declares that it is finished, that is, the judgement of GOD upon this Christ-rejecting world, there is an unprecedented global (literally!) earthquake that levels entire cities, mountains and islands (which are underwater mountains really) flat:

REVELATION 16:19-21
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of [all] the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great
.

I think that this is not only the culmination of judgment on the nations, but also a preparation of sorts for the Millennium, in that the cities established by man will be overturned by the tremendous tectonic plates of the planet surface churning the very surface of the planet, like the tilling of the soil. Being thus buried, the LORD will ‘clean the slate’ so that which is built during the Thousand Year Reign of Christ will be fresh and new! 

The mountains disappearing could very well mean that the crust of the planet will be ‘stretched’ and the underwater land bridges (mountains submerged with only the tops above water – what we call islands) will be raised up, so that during the Millennium, the people of the world will be able to travel on foot to Jerusalem to worship the King (a long journey to make every year, one might think, but with lifespans being extended to several centuries (ISAIAH 65:19-21), there’s plenty of time for such pilgrimages!

Yet such terrifying shaking of the Earth that will reel to and fro like a drunken man isn’t even all of it: 

ISAIAH 24:19-23
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously
.

There is also the great hail from heaven that out does the hail seen in REV 8:7; these hail stones are the weight of a ‘talent’ which equals about 75 pounds falling from the heights of the atmosphere where typically hail is formed at an altitude of 11,000’). Falling at freefall speed, this would mean that these 75 lbs. boulders of ice would strike the Earth at 574 mph! 

What’s coming in the final six chapters of REVELATION:

REVELATION 17 & 18 focuses on BABYLON, Chapter 19 is the Show Down of the Ages between Jesus Christ the KING and all the forces of darkness, Chapter 20 introduces the Millennial Reign, Chapter 21 we have the Great White Throne Judgment wherein all unredeemed souls, from start to finish since the creation will be judged based on the books recorded of their lives and the Book of Life. Then the wrap up in REVELATION 22 with the New Earth, the New Heavens, the New Jerusalem and finally the end...
Or rather the Eternal Beginning!

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