Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”(Revelation 16:1 NASB)
Make note of the words, “the wrath of God.” If you do not know my blog and how I think, then may I make something clear. This time, that is coming upon the earth, often called the day of the Lord, is not the tribulation; it is the time of wrath. Tribulation, as Jesus put it, is a way of life for the believer.
Even my mother asked me, will we have to go through the tribulation?
Because I see events already upon us that look and sound like aspects of God’s wrath during the seven-year period, it is possible that we are already there. Add to this the testimony of a young Jewish boy. Jewish only by nationality at the time of his testimony, he died, went to heaven, spoke extensively with Jesus – the Messiah, and one of the things he said as he was questioned by the rabbis, was that we are in the last seven years. I could take that information seriously, or I could dismiss it, or I could compare it with what I see around me.
What is the obvious problem with that?
Jesus took all the wrath upon himself, on the cross,
Isaiah 53:4-5 NASB Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
and that we, being in Christ, are not destined for wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NASB (9) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, (10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
Romans 5:9 NASB Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
All the wrath we see during this time period is meant for the nations and Israel in general for rejecting him.
Allow me to explain something. We are only looking at three people groups in the world today: the Jews; the Nations, and the Church. Once the church is caught up to be with the Lord there will only be those unbelieving (at that moment) Jews and the nations. The nations are a broad spectrum ranging from those we claim were unreached, to those who live in ignorant or blatant rejection.
Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
John 3:36 NASB “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
If God opened the windows of heaven and poured out his wrath upon the earth wouldn’t that mean that the church is receiving his wrath as well? And, that, is not right when I look at scripture.
What other explanations are there?
While it is clear to me that the removal of the church from the earth is the trigger to releasing God’s wrath upon the earth, there is nothing that tells us plainly when the church will get caught up.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-9 NASB (6) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
Sure, circumstantial evidence is mounting and we can see that. As a matter of fact, I can see many things happening as we speak. Just within the first three seals of Revelation 6 are things that are happening all around us.
Revelation 6:2-6 NASB I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (3) When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” (4) And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (5) When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. (6) And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
If I look at the first rider, it rides a white horse. The white horse is symbolic of peace and yet the rider has a bow in his hand, in opposition to peace, but you noticed that he has no arrows. This rider is representative of an entity that presents itself as peace but its motive is really a war. Islam nicely fits that description; the religion of peace is anything but peaceful.
The second rider removes peace from the earth. Have you been watching the news lately? Sweden is burning Mosques and Islamic terrorists have blown up the Belgium airport. Trump supporters are, in the majority, just a bunch of violent racist fools, while the group Black Lives Matter group has openly stated we will bring the violent confrontation to the streets of America if Trump is elected.
And thirdly, that loaf of bread that I can remember paying a quarter for is now as much $4.25. The general idea is that food has become expensive, and, in many cases inedible.
Another example of that evidence was the idea that the beast was thought to be a Middle Eastern phenomenon by some. And, up until just a few years ago, I would have told you that America would not be touched by Islam’s terrors. But that is not the case anymore as we have Al Qaeda training camps in the United States and feasible threats to American targets.
Is it possible that what we see in the sixth chapter of Revelation is not the wrath of God? Maybe. By the time you get to verse eight it sure seems like it:
Revelation 6:8 NASB I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
But who is keeping count of the number of people in the Middle East, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, slaughtered by Islamic related groups? How many have died as verses 9-10 describes:
Revelation 6:9-10 NASB When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; (10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
What’s my point? Things are not that clear are they?
If God saw fit to time events as he pleased then how do we keep the timing? You see, even that gets muddy as we wanted a clean delineation; one that allows us to precisely say, see, I told you so. But, that is not our job. Our job is spelled out the second chapter of Titus:
Titus 2:11-13 NASB For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, (12) instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (13) looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
We are to be looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
Grab hold of that for a moment. Believers will tell you, that under grace we have no laws, or perhaps another way of stating this, commands.
This sounds like some explicit instructions to me: Deny ungodliness and worldly desires, live sensibly, righteously, and, look for the appearing of Jesus.