How often do we, if we have gone to a play, think of an interlude as a break in the action. Things calm down for a moment and you get the chance to relieve yourself, and get a drink before the next scene begins. I cannot say that this is that, but this part of scripture takes us away from the destruction, and seems to be a sea of calm in the midst of the horror.
Some are unwilling to accept this time period immediately after the rapture as God’s wrath upon the nations and judgment against Israel for rejecting him. Allow me to play out a scenario; one that I have shared repeatedly, and have now seen played on television, and called “After Armageddon.” In it, widespread power loss was one of the main implications. It is surprising how damaging the lack of power can be, but who is to say what will happen almost simultaneously with the departure of the church. A large magnitude EMP blast will knock out power to everything. No water, sewer, banking, or the ability to even buy anything. And that is just one scenario. Out of the chaos, those with the most intimidating posture will attempt to overpower and control others. This might be a good time for Islam to pull out their swords and begin demanding allegiance to Allah. Mock me if you wish, but I am warning you, it is coming.
Revelation Chapter 7
Revelation 7:1 KJV And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
After these things – That should have a familiar ring to it. Look again at Revelation 4:1
Revelation 4:1 KJV After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The Greek words translated as after this, and “after these things” is the same for both verses, meta tauta. One of the methods of interpretation is to look at other passages that give us some definition. When discussing with other Christians how I feel that chapter 4:1 is the delineating marker between the church age and the tribulation, the concept of meta tauta, or “after these things” is an important aspect to the argument.
I have stated my perspective in several recent posts and I do not wish to go into that now, but I believe that our catching away has already happened.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 KJV (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
We are now looking at what happens to those left here on earth. If you are a believer, anxiously awaiting the bridegroom, then a horrid thought should be crossing your mind. What of those who now have to endure such horrors?
This possibility of being left behind is substantiated by Jesus in Matthew 25. Those who thought they would make it, along with the religious cults, each thinking they were right, now suddenly realize how wrong they were. They will have to go through extraordinary horrors and they will lose their heads as a gesture of their faith, for the time of grace is over.
What are the things
What are the things that have physically happened?
Revelation 6:12-16 NIV I watched as he opened the sixth seal.
- (12) There was a great earthquake.
- The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair,
- the whole moon turned blood red,
- (13) and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
- (14) The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up,
- and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
- (15) Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. (16) They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
Literal or figurative
John, seeing into heaven, views four angels holding back the wind of heaven. We can take this literally or figuratively. Why, since we know from reading ahead that destruction is coming, and that destruction is literal, should we take this any other way.
If the winds of earth are stopped the temperature will seem to rise primarily because we will lose one of the main causes of evaporation, hence skin cooling due to evaporation. Another possibility is that prevailing winds, and I believe that is what we are talking about, carry with them the temperatures of region they originate from. So I suspect my theory about a dramatic rise in temperature is quite possible.
Do not harm the land
Revelation 7:2-3 NIV Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: (3) “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
We have harmed the land already. Just today 10/08/12, several of the guys at work were discussing the Chernobyl accident. To my understanding this area is still deadly in terms of radiation.
A recent headline stated: “Air pollution will become a bigger global killer than dirty water”; the OECD report says pollution will become biggest cause of premature death, killing an estimated 3.6 million people a year by 2050. Author: Fiona Harvey guardian.co.uk, Thursday 15 March 2012
LiveScience.com writer: Andrea Thompson, in an article dated: 10 September 2007, stated: “Pollution may cause 40 percent of global deaths.” “Water, air and soil pollution, along with other environmental factors, contribute to 40 percent of deaths worldwide each year, a new study concludes.”
A second look
Revelation 7:9 NIV After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
What we do not have is a time frame, but I suspect this all happens relatively fast. If we can wrap a time frame around what is to happen we should start with the martyred saints in heaven. We know from scripture that the antichrist shows up immediately after the rapture. The Antichrist is in operation for seven years, but there are dramatic changes at the three and half-year mark. We also know that the two witnesses from God, testify in the streets for three and a half-years. This interlude, as I called it, begins right after (meta tauta) John’s seeing the martyred in heaven.
There is a finality to what John sees at this point, so we can assume that we have hit the mid mark. This should also be about the same time that God calls the two witnesses back home.
Revelation 7:13-14 KJV And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? (14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
This verse definitely implies an end to the slaughter of those that are to slain for the Lord.
Revelation 6:9-11 KJV And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Does that also mean an end to the violence? Not hardly. Islam is clearly against the Jews and bible believers, but their list of offenders includes anyone who subverts the will of Allah, according to them, by not worshiping him alone.
I will also mention here that I do not have a problem with the concept of the two witnesses showing up immediately after the rapture and here is why.
- Based primarily on Joel’s prophecy, which Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost; a prophecy about the end of time. Take a look at Joel chapter 2 and focus on the first two verses for a moment.
Joel 2:1-2 KJV Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (2) A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Keep in mind that “the day”, in Hebrew yom can mean a time period and not just a day. And look also at the associated descriptions of that time period as they parallel what happens during the “day of the Lord” in Revelation. Now consider that Peter pulled a portion of this scenario and spoke of the hope and strength that will be demonstrated during the tribulation years.
Joel 2:28-30 NIV “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. (29) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (30) I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
What will bring this about in them, when they did not have these attributes before?
Perhaps the two witnesses standing in the streets become a visual testimony of how the power of God works and what you are capable of doing. Survivors during this time may follow their lead. The two witnesses will testify of Jesus Christ during this time but who is to say that many do not emulate them, for the Holy Spirit, contrary to many opinions, is still here on the earth.
Worthy of consideration is that Peter spoke of these attributes prior to what we consider “the day of the Lord”, and therefore opened the door to people acting in the power and glory of God even now, but this is the primary thing that religion fights most actively, anyone demonstrating God’s power, or speaking out in power regardless of the life changes those words may bring.
- The timing of the death of the two witnesses and their removal from the earth. Although I am not so sure how closely we should follow Islamic prophecies, but we should take note. The primary reason that we should be concerned is that they parallel our end times events with a precision that only Satan could dream up. And what is his goal? To deceive as many as possible from following Jesus Christ to eternal life with Father God, something that eludes him. One of the characters of end times is the false prophet. When you compare the false prophet of scripture with the Jesus Christ that Islam is awaiting there is an alarming possibility of deception, and when examining the Jesus that Islam awaits, he comes not as the Son of God, but he comes as the enforcer of Sharia; a Jew that is a Muslim convert, and he is of the lineage of Aaron, making him capable of being a high priest. His advent coordinates with the death of the two witnesses which puts his arrival at about the three and half-year mark. That means the end of the martyred is over at this point or comes to an end in a very short time .
Revelation 7:14 KJV And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
When you look at the KJV you can clearly see the terminology great tribulation. The Greek does not support the word the in the sentence. To use the word “the” prior to the “great tribulation” gives it a specific time frame. To state it as coming out of “great tribulation” makes it open-ended and can easily apply to those that merely suffer horribly throughout this time period.
An obvious factor is that as of this date 10/11/2012 the Lord has not come back, triggering the onslaught of destruction associated with great tribulation, and yet Christians are being murdered in rapidly growing numbers. Pick any Muslim majority nation and you will find Christians suffering through dire tribulations.
This group of martyred before the throne puzzles me, and this is why: You spend your life caught up in cultist teachings, turning a blind eye to the truth which confronts you with every sunrise, or you blatantly live a life rejecting God, and now faced with a life or death decision, you muster the courage to squeak out a faint response in which you show, at the least, a refusal to bow to Allah. There are such quantities of people being pushed through the rapid decision-making process that the executioners won’t waste any time with coercion, they will just lop your head. At that point you win, for you will be ushered before the throne, changed in the twinkling of an eye, to a new home where you will understand God and his love like never before, and you will find yourself bowing in worship and awe, overwhelmed by love and mercy that you never understood or thought possible; the same God you spent your life rejecting; you and an uncountable number of Saints.
Think about that, changed instantly. God will not allow sin into heaven so something has to change, and it is not God’s policies. As I think about it two changes have to take place:
- An immediate change, as God accepts you as his own and you instantly become as one of his adopted children.
- The second happens almost as quickly as your spirit separates from your body.
Those of us who were caught up out of here in the rapture, were still living in broken bodies, subject to the sins ravages, but we too were subject to the same policies of Heaven, NO SIN ALLOWED! Fortunately we were changed, faster than you can change thoughts. I long for that day; the moment when my mind is free from this anguish I carry in my head.
I know I belong to him and where my eternal home will be, but I live with a daily awareness that my choices to indulge my flesh and sin, have caused tremendous harm. If there is a peace, it is knowing that I am loved eternally, regardless of my failures.
God shall wipe away all tears
Revelation 7:16-17 KJV They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. (17) For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
So many of us have no idea what is to hunger, but what if hunger implies a variety of things, like mental anguish. I struggle with a mild depression, more frequently than I want to admit, and I hunger for a freedom from the bars on this mental cell. Arrogance says, God has set you free and Jesus has stripped the chains off you. That is so much easier to say when you think your perfect and sinless. The problem with that kind of thinking is the arrogant spirit associated with it. Those who act this way set themselves up as gods, selfishly pushing God aside for they can do it themselves.
Who are the ones Jesus called humble?
Those who come like a child, humble and willing to learn readily, accepting so much of what they hear. As much as I long to be that humble, child like person, for some reason I fight it. I want to make some adult, grown-up decisions and have someone listen to me. To not have that happen frustrates me and I have to resist lashing out in anger. In truth, my anger is based in feelings of failure and inadequacy. Many times I have to fight off the lies from the devil that tell me I am a failure.
When you consider the two main examples we have of a pre-tribulation escape from wrath, they are the ones that Jesus himself gave us. I am hard pressed to find much fault in Noah, but a study of Lot’s life is filled with bad decisions, and do not really present him as that much of a righteous man from a human point of view. In the case of Lot, there are several striking things about him that scripture makes about him, if you will pay attention. God saw them. Here’s my point. I have loved God for a long time, and though I feel I failed him many times, He has never turned his back on me. So all my fears about having to go through the tribulation, which I suspect is mere minutes away, may well be unfounded because I tend to look through tainted human and religious eyes, and God does not. What does that say about the fifty percent of Matthew 25. I suspect they are those who merely carry on using religious titles, thinking they deserve something more. Christian science followers feel they are “good” people, and will use references to the bible if it evokes some euphoric feeling, but they give no honor to God, nor will they honor Jesus as the Son of righteousness, giving him no place in their hearts. This is typical for many; they carry on in a self-righteous manner because it makes them look better, and promotes good business with some people. It does not mean a thing without the life of Christ within you.
Ask Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God into your life. I am not asking you to change anything. I am telling you that even your gut tells you that you feel lost and hopeless without him, and you know something horrid is coming. What you really want is love, that you have never known. How would I know that? Because it is the downfall and nature of every man to want love, but without Christ we do not know what that love is. Be honest; every encounter you have may bring you some momentary relief because you were distracted long enough to not feel the loneliness (many find that relief in alcohol), but that person you used means nothing to you and has no intention of filling that void inside; only Jesus Christ can do that.
Allow him to change you from the inside out. Aside from the changes, he is your only hope.
- A response to my post, “A Short Course in Revelation” – part one. (omharris.com)
- Sermon Notes: Rediscovering the Purpose & Power of Bible Prophecy (flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com)