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Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Old Sinful World is Gone and a New Eternal World Appears


The Old Sinful World is Gone and a New Eternal World Appears
Revelation 20-22
 
Many of the visions in the book of Revelation, even though they are cloaked in mystery and symbolism, are visions and stories of battles between God and the rebellious evil powers and principalities of this world.  The waring between good and evil heats up to a frenzy during the end times and there can be no more guessing as to what is right and what is wrong. Even though God’s judgments can be clearly seen coming down against sin and rebellion, most of the world’ people refuses to see God working, or receive the Truth and instead hold tightly onto their beloved lie.
 
The book of Revelation’s great harlot of Babylon, the one who in the end times, corrupts the whole world, she will finally fall. Heaven will open and Christ, the “Faithful and True”, with crowns on His head, and eyes like fire, will come out on a white horse to judge and make war against evil, and break her power and corruption. (Revelation 19:11-21) The kings and the merchants and shipping magnates of the world who are important and wealthy because of the harlot of Babylon, will all weep and mourn and cry out when they see the “smoke of her (the harlot of Babylon) burning”. (Revelation 18:18)
 
Too many have proudly taken the broad way and broken God’s laws by joining themselves to this “Babylon harlot” and her cruel violence. Too many have rejected the narrow way of love, humility, truth and honesty. And by crushing the poor and helpless, and murdering the defenseless and tearing apart community, they have become wealthy.  All rushing to join themselves with the spirit of the whore of Babylon and having their minute of pride and fame.   
But now these arrogant wealthy leaders of the world see that all their riches and status are gone and they cry out,” Alas, alas, that great city, Babylon, that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!  For in just one hour such great riches came to nothing.” (Revelation 18:16-17a)
 
Even as the people on earth mourn the death of the harlot of Babylon and the corruption and evil power she brought them, the inhabitants of heaven rejoice and celebrate this great victory over this sin and over the end of this evil stronghold that gripped the world’s people.  “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!”  they all sing. The powers and principalities of Babylon has been broken by the Lamb. 
 
After this great victory, the marriage of the Lamb and His bride takes place.  All those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord during their lives become the radiant bride of Christ in  heaven. The bride is given fine linen and clean bright robes to wear, which represents the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:8) 
 
The saints (the bride) live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years (whether this is actually 1,000 years or is symbolic for a long period of time we don’t know) The saints are given thrones (authority) and they do the important work of judging and they will also be priests!  (Revelation 20:4 and 7)
 
After the thousand years Satan will be released from the bottomless pit and will go out and again deceive the nations around the earth.  He will gather them together to battle against Jesus Christ, the Lamb and His saints.  (Revelation 20:7-8) This could be a spiritual battle and not a military one.  But, of course, Satan and the evil forces are stopped, and Satan is cast into the lake of fire - forever. All of the forces of evil are powerless before Jesus Christ the Lamb, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.   
 
The dead are raised, and John sees a vision of a “great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away.” (Revelation 20:11) Jesus Christ is the One sitting on the great white throne. (John 5:22) History has now ended and all of the dead, small and great are raised from the dead and are standing there before God.  (Revelation 20:12) 
 
“And the books are opened …and the Book of Life also, and the dead are judged each one  according to his works, by the things which are written in the books.” (Revelation 20:12b)  “And anyone not found in the Book of Life, is thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)  
 
We do not know what all of this means, as we can only glimpse the shadows cast from the truths found in these visions from Revelation.  Scripture says that these dead at the great white throne judgment are judged by how they lived their lives on earth! Judged by how they followed what their God given conscience told them was right and loving?  And how they rejected or accepted what their conscience told them was wrong.  
 
Since Jesus Christ is the “Truth” and the “Light of the world” and these ones are judged by how they followed what “truth” and “light” they had, then I would guess that these ones never had the chance to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord during their lifetime.  But perhaps many of them tried to follow their conscience - the little light and truth they had. 
 
 I do not believe that these ones at the great white throne judgment who are found in the “Book of Life” and judged by whether they were bad or good in this life, are the same ones who are the “bride of Christ”. The followers of Christ – the bride of Christ - will not be judged for their sins at all, since their sins are forgiven and covered by Christ.
 
Could these ones at the great white throne judgment, who are judged by how good or bad they were in life, be in another category? Their names are written in the “Book of Life” so we know that they will live in God’s love.  I don’t think any of us know all of these answers.  We do know that God is merciful and loving and will judge each person with justice.   
 
The book of Revelation ends with visions of the old heaven and earth passing away and a new heaven and earth opening to our view (Revelation 21:1)   Jesus, the Lamb appears and calls out to everyone: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the waters of life freely to each person who thirsts.”  (Revelation 212:6) Again the offer of eternal life is given to everyone who wants to belong to God.  But sadly, not everyone wants God’s ways or is thirsty for these waters of life and truth.
 
The book of Revelation closes with Jesus’ grand promise to the Church: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to everyone according to his work.”  (Revelation 22:12) And “Surely, I am coming quickly”.” (Revelation 22:20) Bible scholars translate “Coming quickly” as meaning “coming inevitably”.  In God’s time.  We can count on it!
 
What comes from heaven as our promise should be sent back to heaven as our prayer.  “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Come”.  We are waiting for that Day when our faith will be sight!
 
  
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 



 
  
 
 
 
 
 



 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 




Friday, March 23, 2018

God's Restoration of All Things


God’s Restoration of All Things
Revelation 15-19
 
Restoration is at the heart of our Christian faith.  In the beginning of human history, the Bible says that God created Adam and Eve and put them in the beautiful Garden of Eden.   Everything that Adam and Eve could ever want or need was in that garden.  And God, their loving Father, walked and talked with Adam and Eve each day.
 
God told Adam and Eve that everything in the garden was theirs to enjoy, except one thing. Adam and Eve were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that stood in the middle of the Garden of Eden. If they did, God said that they would die. They didn’t believe God and decided not to obey Him and to do things their own way.  So, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate some of the forbidden fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
 
 And when they did, they knew something had changed! Things weren’t quite right!   Adam and Eve knew that they were naked, and they didn’t like it and wanted to cover themselves.  And when God came to walk with them that afternoon, they ran away and hid from God. Their sin had broken their precious intimacy with their loving Father. Adam and Eve’s sin changed God’s wonderful and perfect world into a broken and sinful world (Genesis 3) And with sin came sorrow and death. So much was lost on that terrible day.
 
But God’s restoration work began immediately.  With a broken heart, God, their loving heavenly Father, didn’t leave them there in their sin.  Right off, when Adam and Eve needed coverings for their nakedness, God provided clothing made from a lamb’s skin.  That first sacrifice providing clothing and pointed toward the ultimate sacrificial Lamb of God – Jesus Christ. 
 
God didn’t leave Adam and Eve and their children, but He promised to be there for them if they would try to obey. And God promised through the prophets that someday He would restore the world to it’s former sinless state.  And through Christ He will restore all those who would desire to follow Him to righteousness. In the book of Revelation, it says that Jesus’ followers will wear white robes, which is symbolic of Jesus’ righteousness given to them.  This restoration will take place during the end times. Acts 3:21 speaks of “the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken through all of His holy prophets since the world began.”
 
The book of Revelation is all about the end times and about restoration.  It may not seem like that to us when we read chapter after chapter in the book of Revelation about God’s burning judgments against a sinful world.  Fire and judgments may not sound like restoration.  But there would be no restoration if sin was not judged and dealt with. Just like a person with cancer cannot be healthy and well again until all the malignant cancer cells are killed and gone from his body, so our world cannot be restored until all malignant sin is gone.
 
 Our neighbor had throat cancer and was about to die. The cancer had metastasized to other parts of his body. One night his throat started bleeding badly and he couldn’t breathe. He was rushed to the hospital and had surgery where much of the cancer growths were cut out.  Then he had long months of radiation treatments and more painful months of chemotherapy, where the rest of those deadly cancer cells were burned and radiated. Months where he was nauseated and sick.  Finally, now he is slowly gaining his strength back and learning to talk without a voice. 
 
Like our neighbor, it seems the book of Revelation is about a sick and dying world going through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to be free of the cancerous sin before it can be restored.  The whole message of Revelation can be summarized in Revelation 17:14a where it says: “These (evil powers) will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them.  For He is Lord of lords and King of kings,…”   Revelation is all about the war between Good and evil, Life and death.   
 
We read in Revelation chapter 15 and 16 about the seven angels having seven last plagues and pouring out their seven bowls upon the rebellious sinful world. We read in chapter 17 about the scarlet harlot and the scarlet beast.  The harlot’s name was on her forehead and her name was “Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth”.  Bible scholars suggest that the harlot symbolizes a world system of idolatry and depravity that is opposed to God. 
 
Chapter 18 covers the fall of this great evil principality in our world, the mystery Babylon.  All these visions in Revelation I believe are symbols and pictures of evil spiritual powers in our world fighting against our righteous God.  The world mourns Babylon’s fall in chapter 18.  Babylon, the great harlot who corrupted the world.  And Satan, the dragon, is bound and thrown into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. But then in chapter 19, Heaven exults over the fall of this evil Babylon.  The voice of a great multitude exults over the triumph of righteousness and truth over evil.  Alleluias can be heard all over heaven.  Finally, this terrible cancer of sin has been completely removed from the world.  And now finally, healing can take place!
At last the sin and curse of the whole world has been burned away and now everything can be restored. The last three chapters of Revelation nearly jump off of the page with glories too marvelous for us to even begin to understand.  The new heaven and new earth, the marriage of the Lamb, the pure river of the waters of life and the perpetual fruit-bearing trees whose leaves give “healing for the nations.”  The glorious vision of the final consummation of human history is all there for us to read in Revelation 21 and 22.
 
 In the end God has restored all that was lost and even more. When our loving God and Father restores what is lost, it is always increased, multiplied and improved so that its latter state is even better than before. Next week we will finish the book of Revelation. We are through with all of God’s judgments. Through with sin, wars, troubles and sorrow. Through with fears, anger, sickness and death. There will be great rejoicing! These last chapters in Revelation will be describing things too wonderful and marvelous for our little minds to begin to understand.  But let’s give it a try!   
 
 
 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Reaping the Grapes of Wrath


Reaping the Grapes of Wrath
Revelation 13-14
 
As the end draws near, the enemy fights more furiously.  The great Tribulation period is getting even worse. In chapter 13 of Revelation, John is given a vision of a beast coming from the sea.  This beast has seven heads and ten horns with ten crowns on his ten horns.  A blasphemous name is written on his heads. This beast blasphemes God and gets his power and authority from the dragon (Satan). 
 
As John watches, one of the beast’s heads is mortally wounded.  But then miraculously the deadly wound is healed.  The people of the world are so impressed that they follow the beast and worship the dragon who gives power to the beast. Every person on the whole earth worships this beast except the ones whose names are written in the Book of Life. 
 
In his vision, John sees another beast coming out of the earth.  This beast has two horns and speaks like the dragon (Satan). This second beast joins the first beast and causes the whole world to worship the first beast.  He makes war against the followers of Christ and murders them.  Scripture says: “And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” (Revelation 13:7b)
 
The second beast performs miracles and great signs causing fire to come down from heaven.  And the people of the world are all deceived and they all worship these beasts. And these beasts are given authority to continue for forty-two months. (3 1/2 years). (Revelation 13:5) It seems that God puts time limits on how long evil can continue.
 
The second beast tells the people of the world to make an image of the first beast and after they make the image, the second beast gives breath to the image and it seems to live.  Now we seem to have a counterfeit Trinity. Two beasts and an image of the beast.  Satan deals in counterfeits.
Then the second beast orders every person on the earth to worship the image of the beast that they have made.  If anyone refuses to worship the image they will be killed. We have a world-wide dictatorship now, powered by the dragon (Satan).  It doesn’t get any worse than that, does it?   
This is what happens next: “He (the beast) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.  And no one may buy or sell except they have the mark of the name of the beast, or the number of his name. “  (Revelation 13:17)  The number of the beast is 666. (Revelation 13:18) 
 
Bible scholars believe that the number six represents the number of “man”.  Mankind or human kind is short of perfection.  We cannot be perfect on our own.  Seven is the number in biblical numerology for perfection.  So, the number 666 may represent doing things our own way, independent from God and with great pride, and missing the mark.  Whereas God calls us to trust Him and give our lives to Him.  When Jesus Christ covers us with His righteousness, I would guess that the number of our name is changed to seven, which represents perfection.
 
Some scholars believe that here these passages in Revelation 13:17 mean that perhaps the people of the world must give their allegiance to the beast.  Receiving the “mark of the beast” in the forehead may represent their will or their mind, while the hand may represent their activities.  But then it may be that the mark of the beast will be stamped on the forehead or hand of every person in the world.
 
Somehow the Beast- the dictator of the world -  will get his imprint on every person everywhere, causing all persons to serve him. The Bible warns us that if we have the mark of the Beast, we will not go to heaven, but share the fate of the beast.  (Revelation 14:11) Those last days of the Tribulation will be very scary times indeed!
 
We move on into the 14th chapter of Revelation where John sees more visions.  He sees the Lamb(Jesus) on Mount Zion with one hundred and forty-four thousand men.  Some scholars believe that these men represent 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Scripture tells us that these people were “sealed” and describes them as the “first fruits”. There are hidden meanings and truths here that we will surely understand later.  
 
Then three angels fly across heaven making announcements or proclamations.  The first angel preaches the gospel to those living on the earth – to every nation and tongue and people.  This angel also announces that “The hour of His judgment has come: and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7b)
 
A second angel follows the first saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city because she has made all the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”  (Revelation 14: 8)  In the Old Testament, Babylon was a center of idolatry, the occult, and immorality.
 
And after the second angel, a third angel follows calling in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall drink of the wrath of God,…”  (Revelation 14;9-11)
 
 And then John sees another vision – a vision of the Son of Man (Jesus) with a crown on his head, sitting on a cloud and holding a sickle in his hand.  An angel calls out that the harvest of the earth is ripe.  It is time for the reaping of the grapes of wrath.  (Revelation 15:17-20)  The scope of the coming judgments are revealed and some Bible scholars believe that this reaping or in-gathering depicts a time of separation of the wicked from the righteous.  
 
We read these frightening stories in Revelation and we may be fearful. There will be battles and judgments before all of sin is finally burned away and a sinless new heaven and new earth is created.  We are so used to our sinful world that we can scarcely imagine what this new world will be like. A world with no sickness or death, sorrow or tears. A world where every wrong will be made right.The Lord speaks through Isaiah with these words about this promised new world: “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill brought low:  The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth:  The glory of the Lord shall be revealed.  And all flesh shall see it together.  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 4:4-5)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
  
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Friday, March 9, 2018

Moving on through the Book of Revelation


Moving on through the Book of Revelation
Revelation 10,11, and12
 
The central messages of the book of Revelation is that “the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” (Revelation 19:6) There are few references to specific events or persons of the past, present or future in the book of Revelation.  But rather there are “spiritual principles” intended to encourage Christians in every age.
 
The many symbolic visions in the book of Revelation set forth these main principles:  1) There will be a great time of trouble on the earth at the end of the age. (God’s judgments on a rebellious and sinful world) 2) The living Lord Jesus Christ is victorious over Satan and his allies. 3) The Lamb, Jesus comes again in glory as Savior and Judge. (Revelation 22:12) 4) Satan is defeated and bound. (Revelation 12:7 and 20:1-3) 5) Sin and evil are destroyed and there is a new sinless heaven and earth. (Revelation 21) 6) Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God has won the victory.  7) And, the followers of the Lamb(Jesus) will share in His victory!  (Revelation22)
 
These spiritual conflicts are recorded by John In the book of Revelation.  The glorified Jesus allows John in the Spirit to see a series of dramatic visions that show spiritual wars between Good versus evil taking place.  John’s visions describe what will happen in the last days.  These often-wild visions contain pictures pointing to spiritual realities behind things happening in history. And the symbols point to what is ultimately indescribable.  But these visions are not always written down in the order that they take place! And we can’t always understand them.
 
One of John’s many dramatic visions is one of a mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed with a cloud and with a rainbow on his head.  His face was like the sun and his feet are like pillars of fire.  The angel has a little book opened in his hand.  And the angel sets one foot on the sea and the other on the land.  (Revelation 10: 1-2) Bible scholars believe that this indicates that the angel has a message for the whole world. 
 
The angel tells John to take and eat the little book.  And when John was eating it, he found the book to be sweet as honey in his mouth.  But after he had eaten it, his stomach became bitter. (Revelation 10:9-11) John was told to prophesy to the whole world about the end times message in the angel’s little book.
 
 Some Bible scholars believe that the message from the little book was sweet as honey in John’s mouth because the good news of God’s new sinless heaven and earth where victory over sin and death is finally realized is indeed sweet as honey when we receive it. 
 
But perhaps the little book seemed bitter when it was in John’s stomach since there is a bitter war between the forces of God and the forces of Satan throughout the Tribulation period on earth before the sweetness of victory through the Lamb is finally realized.
 
John is given another vision.  This time John is given a vision of two witnesses during the end times who will prophesy and call out to a world in rebellion against God.  The two witnesses will go around witnessing in sack cloth and ashes – representing grief and sorrow.  And they will witness for forty-two months or 3 ½ years. (Revelation 11:3) And they will be able to perform some miracles.
 
 Some Bible scholars believe that the whole Tribulation period may be seven years in length because of their interpretation of various prophecies.  So, the two witnesses would witness for half of the Tribulation if that were the case. Other scholars do not read the Scriptures as literally. Scripture says: “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now we know in part, but then we shall know even as we are known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
 
In describing these two witnesses Scripture says: “These are the two olive branches and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.” (Revelation 11:4) Zechariah, a prophet in the Old Testament also had a vision of two olive branches and two lampstands.  It is believed that the two olive branches represented “oil” which is the symbol of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Joshua and Zerubbabel, the two “sons of oil”, were witnesses or “bearers of light” for their generation. They were anointed with Holy Spirit power to see to the completion of the temple.  (Zechariah 4:11-14)
 
After when these two end time witnesses in Revelation 11 finish their work, the beast (Satan, or the Anti-Christ) comes up out of the bottomless pit and fights and kills them. Their bodies lie in the streets for the whole world to see, (television?) for three and a half days, and much of the population of the world throws parties and rejoices that God’s two witnesses are dead!
 
But then the witnesses are resurrected by God just a few days later also for the whole world to see and fear and then the two witnesses ascend into heaven. (Revelation 11:7-14) “And the temple of God is opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant is seen in His temple.” (Revelation 11:19)
 
John is given yet another of his many visions.  This time John sees a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and a garland of twelve stars on her head.  The woman is crying out in labor, in pain to give birth.  And then there appears a great fiery red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his seven heads.  “The dragon stands before the woman(Mary) who is ready to give birth, to devour her Child (Jesus) as soon as he is born.  He is a male Child who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron.  And her Child is caught up to God and His throne.” (Revelation 12:4b-5)
 
Satan, the dragon, and his angels (demons) are cast out of heaven. (Revelation 12:9-12) The furious dragon persecutes the woman who gave birth to the male Child. (Mary, the mother of Jesus) But the woman is given two wings of a great eagle to fly to a place of safety.  And the enraged dragon makes war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Christians) (Revelation 12:13-17)  The dragon makes war with us.
 
These visions in Revelation 10-12 and all of the other visions recorded in Revelation, give us a glimpse of the many spiritual battles being fought by the evil principalities and powers of this world against the Lamb and His followers. The Great Deceiver knows that his time is running out and he is furiously fighting. But the book of Revelation reveals God as the Sovereign Ruler and Judge of the whole cosmic creation.
 
 And because God is in control, right is ultimately vindicated in the face of wrong, justice in the face of injustice and righteousness in the face of unrighteousness.  World history is moving on through tragedy and disaster to “a new heaven and a new earth.” 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 








Friday, March 2, 2018

The Tribulation


The Tribulation
Revelation 6-9
 
The book of Revelation was given by Jesus Christ to John to pass on to the Church.  Most of the book (chapters 4-22) reveals things to come during the end times.  There are many mysteries and symbols in the book of Revelation.  Some of the symbols are explained and some are not.
 
Shortly before Jesus comes again, a terrible time is foretold in the book of Revelation.  A time of trouble like no other is prophesied to come and Bible scholars have called this future time the “Tribulation”.  But all’s well that ends well.  And the book of Revelation ends very well!  It ends by giving us a glorious vision and a joyous hope to cling to!
 
It ends with visions of the final consummation of human history!  (Chapters 21-22) Here we see a sinless and glorious “new heaven and new earth,” a “holy city” with open gates providing hospitality for the saints.  And the Lamb of God is there in all His glory.  We also see a “pure river of the water of life” flowing through the new heaven and giving out the water of eternal life.  And perpetual fruit-bearing trees are in this new heaven, whose leaves are for the “healing of the nations.”  Scripture says: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the imagination of man what is prepared for those who love God.”  ((1 Corinthians 1:9)
 
But then before we enjoy this new sinless heavenly home, it seems that the whole earth will go through a scary time when all hell breaks loose!  We learn in Revelation chapter 5 that Jesus Christ, the Lamb, is the only One who is able to open the seven seals of the scroll of human history.  When Jesus opens the first seal, a rider on a white horse with a bow and a crown rides out to conquer.  Most likely to proudly conquer on his own and leave God out.  (Revelation 6:1-2) His methods of conquest at first do not seem to include open warfare.   But many Bible scholars consider him to possibly be an Antichrist. 
 
The second seal is opened by the Lamb and a fiery red horse rides out representing war.   Peace is taken from the earth and everywhere soldiers and civilians are killing one another.  The Lamb opens the third seal and a black horse with a rider ride out.  (Revelation 6:5-6) This seal seems to represent famine around the world.  The fourth seal is opened, and a pale horse rides out.  it’s rider was named “Death” and “Hades”.
 
The fifth seal is opened, and there is no horse or rider but instead we see the souls of those who have been martyred or killed because of their faith in Christ during this dreadful tribulation period.  These souls are under the altar calling out to God and asking, “How long until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:19) Scripture says that these martyrs were “given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” (Revelation 6:11) Why do these martyred saints have to wait longer?
 
I am guessing that there are principalities and powers, and spiritual laws that we humans cannot understand now since they are from another realm.  Perhaps one of these laws is that human sin and rebellion are allowed to work their way through stages to reach a certain point before the cup is full and God steps in and judges them. God surely puts up boundaries that we are not able to see or recognize.  And for reasons that we do not understand.  We can only trust our gracious God to do what is right and loving and good as we follow Him where He leads.   
 
The number seven in the Bible represents “completeness”, and the number seven plays an important role and is mentioned often in the book of Revelation.  In our lesson today, we have the scroll with seven seals, and later in the book of Revelation we read of the seven trumpets and the seven bowls.  (Revelation 8:7-16:21) All are symbolic of God’s judgments on a rebellious world.  And they all run to completion with a glorious ending.
 
The sixth seal is opened by the Lamb of God and: “There was a great earthquake.  The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, and the whole moon turned blood red.  And the stars in the sky fell to earth….The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” (Revelation 6:12-14) People hid themselves in caves and rocks and tried to kill themselves because they were so terrified.  But then judgments are delayed until 144,000 Jewish people can be sealed: and protected supernaturally. 
 
Then there is an interlude and we see a great multitude or group of people from many races who have found Christ during the Tribulation. These millions of people who have died during this war of Good versus evil are praising God in heaven.  When Christ opens the seventh seal there is silence in heaven for about half an hour.  And it seems that out of the seventh seal there are seven angels (demons) with seven trumpets.  (Revelation 8:1-9:21)   
 
When each angel sounds his trumpet, more judgments are poured out upon the earth.  A third of the vegetation is burned.  Four demon angels are loosed, and they inflict more harm and death.  A third of the sea is contaminated.  A third of the fresh waters are contaminated.  A third of the sun and a moon and stars are darkened.  There is increased demonic activity on the earth.  The Abyss (Hell) is opened and smoke and scorpion like demonic locusts come upon the earth. And a third of mankind is killed.  All of these are the judgments poured out onto the earth when the trumpets are sounded during this Tribulation time.  God is judging evil and  ending it so He can inaugurating His kingdom.
 
After all of this, those left on the earth refuse to repent of their sins.  Scripture says: “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands, they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood.  -idols that cannot see or hear or walk.  Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.”  (Revelation 9:20-21) Scripture says: “There is a way that seems right to men, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  (Proverbs 14:12)
 
The religion of many on the earth during the Tribulation seems to involve demon and idol worship, according to Scripture.  We see the hardness of human hearts of some of the people left in the Tribulation times, even after all this destruction. Though God has revealed His wrath from heaven against them, they stubbornly hold onto their way of life and refuse to change.
 
Some believe that God is not loving when He judges the human race because of sin.  But God loves the human race too much to allow us to remain stuck in our sin forever.   When we are finally completely free of sin through Jesus Christ, Scripture says: “Surely the day is coming: It will burn like a furnace.  All the arrogant and every evildoer will become stubble,……But for you, who revere My Name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.  And you will go out and leap and frolic around like calves released from the stall.”  (Malakai 4:1-2) That will be the Day!