Revelation 19 opens with the declaration that His judgments have come to pass; the logical assumption is that this is after the wrath of God has been poured out upon Israel for their rejection of God and upon nations – this should be thought of as the controlling bodies, for abuses committed against humanity. Apparently, evidence of this judgment is the smoke rising from “Babylon,” which is symbolical of Israel. The passages from Revelation 18 do not clearly explain, as I have stated in previous posts, why this is Israel, but it does emphasize Babylon’s burning and the speed with which it falls.
“And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:2 NASB)
“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.” (Revelation 18:9-10 NASB)
Why talk about judgment?
Well, if you have spent your life in the church, as I have, then you have heard about forgiveness and how Jesus took all sin upon Himself at the cross. Only to have someone, just minutes later, remind you of your sinful past. Unfortunately, this is the typical pattern among religious people. I am not telling you this to keep you out of fellowship, you need that, but they have to be safe people willing to address when you are perpetuating some sin.
Honestly, I am not positive about how this judgment stuff is supposed to work, seeing as my years of immersion in the Bible have demonstrated Jesus to be a merciful God. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5 how we, the believers, are immediately present with the Lord upon our death. If a person was driving drunk and had given their life to Jesus at some point and crashed into a pole. We often assume little more than Jesus took them to heaven if they die. If they lived, we would tell them what a sinner they are and that they are going to hell because of their sins, which we are sure would be many. Do you see something wrong with the logic here? Me too, and I do not think it can be both ways. Either the price Christ paid on the cross is valid and authentic, or it is not, and we have been duped. What God did through His Son was very real and valid. But I have people in my life that I struggle with. I suppose God’s answer to that is I am NOT the judge, He is, and His judgment is faithful and righteous.
Here is how I understand it.
If you have given yourself to God through Christ, then you are considered a part of the body of God’s Son, Jesus. God, through Jesus, has taken all of the wrath that we deserved because of sin upon Himself, and that is why we, the church, are NOT subject to the wrath that is coming (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Most of humanity has chosen to ignore the price Jesus paid to bring us back into the relationship and, therefore, fall under the category of those who have rejected Jesus. Because of your actions, you will be included with Israel in this retribution. If you merely warmed a church seat on sporadic Easter Sundays, this, in my opinion, does not qualify as a relationship with God, and you have simply fulfilled some legalistic motivation; and, therefore, might be included among the nations and have to suffer through the wrath that was meant for others.
The NASB and many other translations entitle this next section.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Over my many years in church, I have heard it said, multiple times, that we should find our gifting or calling. Paul covers these gifts of the Spirit extensively in 1 Corinthians 12, and you can read that information at another time. In my own life, and after much struggle to shed the legalism that comes through the church, I have learned that I have a gift of teaching, and hopefully, I make the Word of God understandable. I also have come to understand that my calling is to the body of Christ. I believe that because we, the church, have allowed ourselves to be misled by our own false teachers, and yes, the church is full of them.
Why tell you that?
Because while I can probably explain Biblical things to the degree that anybody with an open mind could understand what I am saying, one of the things I have heard repeatedly is preaching and conversation about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. If you search for the phrase, this passage below is the only place to find it.
Revelation 19:6-8 MKJV “And I heard as the sound of a great multitude, and as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns! (7) Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.”
Those there with Jesus during the seven years of God’s wrath may all be shouting Hallelujah!
Because the promised end has finally come. Again, we are about to see who brings that end and what it looks like. Those absorbed in protecting their masculinity may struggle with this, but we are the bride of Christ. When we accepted Jesus Christ, we accepted that His blood sacrifice was also poured over us, which caused us to be clothed in fine, white linen that was washed in His blood. This is also the description of the 24 elders, and they are deemed symbolic of the church.
(Read Revelation 4:4)
As for the crowns.
“Do not at all fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison, so that you may be tried. And you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 MKJV)
I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no man may take your crown. (Revelation 3:11 EMTV)
Although I occasionally struggle with the once saved, always saved concept, I can see multiple references that help to convince me. The problem I have is with the “Christian” that lives like Christ has little or no place in their life. Paul told us we can know the tree by its fruit; well, to be truthful, some people’s fruit is inedible.
“… for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33b NASB)
So, either God is a liar, or those people put on an excellent show. If it isn’t a show, then I will just have to let God sort out the wheat from the things that kind of look like wheat, but they are not.
Can you see now why I spent more than a few minutes talking about things that I don’t really understand?
Here is something I can understand.
How you judge is how you will be judged.
Having already experienced some of that judgment firsthand, I want NO part of my harsh judgments coming back at me. Instead, I want God’s mercy.
If some of us will be in heaven shortly, due to the catching away of the church, and since many play out the Revelation as though it is chronological, then wouldn’t we, the church, still have to wait seven more years to be married to Christ? Perhaps my question is more rhetorical, and perhaps scripture will answer the question. So with verse nine, we are encouraged as we have been waiting for such a long time for Jesus to return.
Revelation 19:9 EMTV “Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ “And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Look at those words, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”
I thought that we had already been invited back into a relationship with the Father and, therefore, invited to the marriage supper?
Indeed, both are true, but that relationship gives us the freedom to sit a the table with Him.
I was publicly accosted by a man I called a brother in Christ, as he called me a firebrand – one who tries to get people excited only to let them crash with disappointment because we, as a church, have been looking for Christ to come back for us, for over two-thousand years. Well, that is true that we have been looking for Him for a long time; but the Apostle Paul did not seem to be concerned about the expediency and emphasized that we are to live as though His arrival, for a waiting church, could happen at any moment.
A pastor that I listened to emphasized Jesus’ words when he said, “when you see these signs beginning to happen, then know that the time is near. Well, guess what? We have been watching the signs occur for the last couple of years (It is currently 03/15/22.)
“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars,
and on the earth dismay among nations,
in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world;
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
“Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27 NASB)
There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars.
This sounds like Joel 2:30-31. We have already seen many of those signs in the stars. An example of this would be the astronomical sign of Virgo giving birth.
“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30 NASB)
1 Thessalonians 5:3 tells us that they will be saying peace and safety.
While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3 NASB)
Just this morning, 03/16/22, I saw a report that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in addressing the congress (presumably the American version,) has called upon Joe Biden to be the leader of peace.
A March 1, 2022 headline from the UN states, “As Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine Creates New Global Era, Member States Must Take Sides, Choose between Peace, Aggression, General Assembly Hears.”
The cries for peace are out there, and if you are a purist and think that this conversation should only be about Israel, then know that Israel is telling refugees from Ukraine to come to Israel because there is peace.
So, the general theme is peace, just as the scriptures tell us.
Still in Luke 21:25. “and on the earth dismay among nations.“
The word dismay, in essence, means to fall, a loss of courage; a sinking of the spirits; or depression.
Dear Lord, have you watched what is going on with Ukraine and the retribution against Russia? Nothing can explain what we see any better than the word dismay. I know I am. And yet, the dangerous situation is heating up globally – North Korea is testing more missiles; China is siding with Russia, and this bully of a president we have in the US is telling China to keep out of Ukraine – like they are going to listen to him. And Russia has armored vehicles patrolling on Mount Hermon, which happens to be a part of the border between Israel and Syria.
“in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.”
Perplexity is the Greek word aporia. Some of the other usable words are doubt and uncertainty.
Today is Wednesday, 3/16/2022. Yesterday I would have said, how would something like an earthquake cause embarrassment?
In just the last few hours, there was a 7.3 earthquake in Northern Japan. Tsunami alerts have been going off everywhere, but the worst of it is that Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant once again had a fire alarm triggered off, as one of the spent rod cooling pools had to be temporarily shut down. Fukushima, because of the tsunami disaster of 3/11/2011, where the plant was damaged, and explosions practically demolished four of the reactors. This was embarrassment.
Men swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken and caused to totter. (Luke 21:26 AMPC)
The Amplified typically gives you an overabundance of definition; it almost needs no further explanation. I really cannot see such fear happening yet, but then I live in a quiet neighborhood in America and not in Ukraine or one of the other violence-filled nations, where the odds of you living to the end of the day are limited.
So, where are we in terms of Jesus’ return?
We are right there.
“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28 NASB)
Again, redemption is a matter of perspective, and dependent upon where you live, it makes more sense. But, the general idea is that we don’t have to be neck-deep in the things coming upon the world.
If you lean toward God removing His church body from the earth so that they do not have to experience His seven-year outpouring of wrath, you can consider yourself a pre-tribulation believer.
Should you allow others to convince you that we should endure God’s wrath, perhaps because of sin, you are ignoring that Jesus took all sin on Himself and purchased our redemption and lives back to God. Not everybody accepts that grace, and many will follow Satan to his reward, but that is their choice. This theological position is often deemed to be mid-tribulation.
If you are among those few who believe we must endure the same punishment as the nations and only gain anything close to salvation if you survive and enter the millennial reign, you can call yourself a post-tribulation supporter. These people, by their own standard, will not gain any relief from oppression until Jesus comes back and sits as the ruling Messiah during the thousand-year reign.
As a side note, you may have heard this already, but the things we are dealing with, though deadly for some, are NOTHING compared with the slaughter coming.
I had to laugh recently as I watched the news talk about police abuse with that thought in mind.
Do you think the Russian police give a thought to your personal freedoms and how they should NOT beat you up?
Not at all, and since the Ukrainian invasion, people in Russia, who thought they could, speak their mind about how Putin is running things, were rapidly and abusively hurried off to an awaiting prisoner bus. The day is coming; after the church has been removed, abuses will quickly reach deadly levels.
Amir Tsarfati frequently states how the scriptures tell us that approximately 4 billion people will be dead soon after the church is removed. The majority of deaths will come at the hands of humanity.
I like to focus on particular words, and redemption is good. It is the Greek word apolytrōsis and means deliverance, procured by a ransom payment. Wow, we just talked about that because Jesus’ actions on the cross purchased our ransom. So perhaps it would be a good time to ask Him into your life.