"THE WRATH OF GOD-HOW IS IT DESCRIBED?"
We left off in Part I discussing the sixth trumpet and its devastating results ending in Revelation 9. Chapter 10 brings a halt or interlude in the outpouring of God's wrath, for now we have reached the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week and one of the most significant events in history is about to take place for "there should be time [delay] no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished." (Revelation 10:7)
The phrase 'mystery of God should be finished' tells us where we are in God's timetable as described in Daniel 9:24: 'Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.'
Romans 11:25, 26 also refers to this time in history:
'For I would not, brethren, that ye should ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'.
Daniel gives an outline of God's progressive dealing with the Jews throughout history:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness..."
At this juncture in history, the 'seventy weeks' are complete, 'there should be[delay] time no longer', for now Israel (thy people) has been 'purged and purified' (Van Kampen) and we are at the focal point of much of Biblical history when God will "bring in everlasting righteousness" for "this mystery... (the mystery of God be finished)... until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in (also at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week). And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."(Romans 11:25.26)
The very last event of Daniel's Seventieth Week is the only recorded 'victory' of the beast/Antichrist:
"And when they (the two witnesses) shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." (Revelation 11:7)
Their 3-1/2 years of warfare with the Antichrist has ended, however, they will be victoriously resurrected 3-1/2 days later! (Revelation 11:11, 12) All of these significant Biblical events have met at this most momentous intersection of time!
1. The Death of the Two Witnesses
2. End of Daniel's Seventieth Week
3. The Mystery of God is Finished
4. Times of the Gentiles Fulfilled
5. God will bring in Everlasting Righteousness
6. The Lord Jesus Christ Delivers Israel
The triumphant return of the Deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ, to the devastated planet earth is here recorded as John "saw another Mighty Angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon His Head, and His Face was as it were the sun, and His Feet as pillars of fire: And He had in His Hand a little book open: and He set His Right Foot upon the sea, and His Left Foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars: and when He had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices." (Revelation 10:1-3)
This Mighty Angel is clearly identified as the Lord Jesus Christ as this description coincides with numerous Old Testament passages and Revelation 1:15 which record earlier appearances of the Lord. Compare Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 10:5, 6; Hosea 11:10, 11 where the pre-incarnate Lord appears with similar and, in some cases, identical characteristics.
He is the only one who is worthy to open the large seven sealed scroll of Revelation 5, 6 and therefore it follows that He will be the only one who also is worthy and has "in His Hand a little book (scroll) open"(Revelation 10:2). John is told to eat the little book, he obeys and it is sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach. (Revelation 10:10)
The future events, during the momentous days that follow the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week, will be both sweet (The Redemption of Israel) and bitter (The Vial/Bowl judgments). The final Vial/Bowl judgments of God's wrath/the Day of the Lord will be the most devastating of all that precede. Van Kampen in his most helpful and informative volume "The Sign" on p. 324 states, the bowl judgments, will be "the worst ever to be poured out".
These horrific judgments will occur after the close of Daniel's Seventieth Week, during the first 30 days of the 75 additional days, between Daniel's Seventieth Week and the Millennium as recorded in Daniel 12:11, 12:
'And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waits, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.'
Most of chapter 11 and chapters 12, 13 are not in chronological order, but are instead a parenthesis in the wrath of God. These three chapters provide a description of key people/personages of the Great Tribulation, and events which will take place during the last 3-1/2 years of the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
In chapter 15 & 16 John continues detailing the wrath of God with a vivid description of the painful and climactic Vial/Bowl judgments which begin after the Seventieth Week of Daniel has ended. "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." (Revelation 15:1)
The wrath of God/Day of the Lord judgment is about to reach its horrendous conclusion! As we have seen it begin with the opening of the Seventh Seal thereby giving access to the contents of the large scroll which contained the Seven Trumpet judgments and these final Seven Vial/Bowl judgments, we are now at the beginning of the end of God's wrath which will be poured out, dished out as it were, for these Vials/Bowls are described as large, shallow, dish-like vessels which will be quickly emptied upon the earth in rapid machine-gun like succession.
But, just prior to this final assault, the newly saved ones, "that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name" those who were in hiding during the last days of Daniel's Seventieth Week (Isaiah 26:20, 21), are seen in (15:2) standing "on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."
They triumphantly "sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb"(15:3) which refers to the Ultimate Servant of God (Isaiah 42:1), the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:12), the Lord Jesus Christ! This brief but powerful song is one of grand and magnificent praise hymns to the God of heaven and must be included here for its great blessing and powerful spiritual impact that it has on the believer:
"Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. 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."(15:4)
The scene immediately focuses on the Temple in Heaven opening (15:5) and "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. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels Seven golden Vials full of the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. 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." (15:6-8)
This magnificent scene rings of the glory days of Solomon when he dedicated the first Temple in Jerusalem (II Chronicles 5:13, 14) for it too was filled with the glory of the Lord! And now, after the prelude to the final wrath of God is completed in chapter 15, God directs His angels to "Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first (angel) 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."(16:1, 2)
This painful and grievous affliction upon those who are loyal to the beast/Antichrist is described as an evil, wicked thing which plagues and brings horrific suffering. The Greek word for "sore" is also used in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, to describe the "boils" inflicted upon the Egyptians by God in Exodus 9:9-11.
"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." (16:3). This universal judgment of intense water pollution upon all earth's oceans will cause multitudes of mankind to perish.
This Vial/Bowl judgment is similar in kind to the Second Trumpet judgment and the plague brought upon the Egyptians, however, its effects will be upon the entire earth bringing massive elimination of human and animal life.
"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters and they became blood." (16:4) Here, the fresh drinking water supply is fully contaminated.
This is confirmed by the "angel of the waters" declaration: "Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shall be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints, and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty; true and righteous are Thy judgments."(16:5-7)
A second voice brings additional confirmation and conviction to this mighty and unprecedented judgment from the 'Lord God Almighty'. With rapid fire succession the fourth angel pours "out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which had power over these plagues; and they repented not to give Him glory."(16:8 , 9)
The intensification of the sun's heat during this worldwide calamity will literally burn men with a fiery magnification of the sun's rays. This fierce and horrific judgment will be recognized as coming from the Lord, but the hardened hearts of the followers of the beast will not repent even though they are actually being consumed by this flaming fiery judgment!
The fifth angel targets "the seat (throne) of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." (16:10, 11)
The sores and pains of previous judgments are here aggravated and heightened in intensity as they are prolonged in time. The darkness is universal causing chaotic responses from those who are already mired in grievous suffering one of which is the gnawing/chewing of their tongues in an attempt to divert and dispel the pain on the outside of their body. All of this grievous suffering and yet they will not turn in repentance to the Lord!
"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. 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 th false prophet. 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...And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon"(16:12-14, 16)
This angel’s obvious purpose is one of gathering/ the powers/rulers of the earth to the consummating battle of Armageddon. The unholy wicked trinity, the dragon (Satan), the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet are the active, energizing force behind this worldwide gathering of angry and violent mankind made up of those who have been tormented by all of the previous cataclysmic judgments of God. Worldwide miracles by the devil's deceitful power will be displayed in order to gather and unify the forces of the world.
The way is prepared for the great multitudes who will come with ‘the kings of the east' which some describe as 'the hordes from the east' referring to the 200,000,000 horsemen spoken of in the Sixth Trumpet judgment of Revelation 9:16!
"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: 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. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give up her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."(16:17-20)
This awesome prelude to the mighty judgment of the seventh vial underlines the importance of what is about to take place. The prelude includes God's announcement of authority from His throne indicating the completion of His specific global judgments as carried out by His messengers the angels!
The horrendous unprecedented devastation brought on by the 'great earthquake, such as was not' will level the cities and their magnificent buildings. The dividing of Babylon (Rome is the spiritual Babylon) into three parts, God remembering all of the physical and spiritual wickedness of Rome's persecutions and religious whoredom and the ultimate judgment of Rome, described as 'the fierceness of His wrath' are in view prior to the actual infliction of the seventh Vial/Bowl judgment.
"And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent (130 lb) : and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." (16:21)
The earth and its inhabitants will undergo the literal pummeling of huge stones upon all surviving mankind, and thereby killing multitudes. This 'exceeding great' judgment although described as 'hail' will be unprecedented in nature, and extremely destructive to everything in its path.
The wrath of God though now complete is cap-stoned by the destructive fiery desolation of spiritual Babylon, the city of Rome (Revelation 17:1-18:3). The battle of Armageddon, the culminating event of the Day of the Lord judgment is just over the horizon which will bring an end to the remaining rebellious inhabitants of the planet earth!
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