Tuesday, March 29, 2016

God Does Not Bring Wrath Upon Believers

We begin today an entirely new chapter in the Book of Revelation and before we begin I want you to write down three specific questions you need to look at while we study this chapter.

1. What is being told?
2. Is there an Old Testament reference to this?
3. How does this affect my life?

As we look at things happening in the world today, we need to understand that one day all the things we have been studying in the Book of Revelation will one day come to pass. These are futuristic events but not in the too distant future, I believe. As believers in Christ, we will not be present when the Wrath of God is poured out on the world during the 7 year Tribulation period. We can however be looking for signs and indicators in the news that the stage is being set for this time to come. What are some things we can look for?

1. The Destruction of Damascus, Syria which is found in Isaiah 17.
2. Russia invading Israel which is found in Ezekiel 37 and 38

While the world and every single person I know of wants to know what the future holds, very few even bother to pick up the Bible, when in fact every single prophecy has been fulfilled to perfection or is yet to come. You can't argue with what has already happened. So why shrug off 100% accuracy if you want to know the future of the world. The Bible is clear, it won't be pretty for those in a Christ rejecting world.

We know all about the angels used in God's judgments. They are instruments to administer His wrath upon the world according to His purpose and plan. The hope we have in this chapter is verse 15, which I hope in your Bible is written in red, because it is Jesus! That is wonderful to see at this stage in what has been coming to the world. Yet this is still a future event coming to the world.

We have understood the Book of Revelation to signify the unveiling or revealing of Jesus Christ, which we uncovered from the very first verse in Revelation 1. He is revealed in the positive. He is the Messiah of Israel. He came to the world to be a Redeemer and Savior to every single person in it. He is the only one. The Bible told us about Jesus before He even appeared on the earth. The Bible speaks about Jesus Christ.

In the negative, we have the rejection of Jesus Christ. If we reject him, we are saying we can do this on our own and don't need Him. Jesus is God's greatest gift and when we push that away, we are in danger of becoming like Pharaoh when Moses was sent by God to ask for the release of the Israelites and ten times, Pharaoh said No, and ten times God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Moses proclaimed and Pharaoh rejected. If you reject Jesus long enough, God will one day simply give up on you and your heart will become so hard you will no longer hear that offer of salvation and redemption any longer. Don't fool yourself into thinking you have all the time in the world.

Genesis 6:3 ~ "Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh;"

As we begin to study Revelation 16 and understand the wrath of God we need to gain insight that this doesn't mean hell. It is God's indignation, His judgment, and it has nothing to do with believers in Christ. All of God's wrath is revealed during the Tribulation Period and has to do with 3 sets of 7 judgments from God each getting worse than the one preceding it. The easiest way to remember these are the acronym S.T.P.

The first sets of judgements were the seal judgments and just as the seventh is revealed it opens a new category leading to the next set of judgments. The second set was the trumpet judgments, and again as the seventh trumpet is blown the next category of judgments is opened. The third and final set of judgments is the pan or bowls judgments. I refer to them as pans because we learned that they are not like bowls we use today, but more like pans gold miners used. They are also referred to as the vial judgments and are truly the worst of the worst. The seventh bowl, pan or vial ends the Tribulation period.

We learn that each of the angels getting ready to dispense these pans, bowls or vials is given a specific geographical position in the world by God.

Revelation 16:1 ~ "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, "Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."

The Bible is clear in many cases that God guarantees believers will not have to go through His judgments. God removes His people from His wrath and has already proven that in numerous ways, from Noah and his family, to Abraham and Lot in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We need to be very careful not to confuse this with discipline from God. He does not judge believers in Christ, but He does discipline them, much like a shepherd does with a wayward sheep. He will break the legs of a lamb and will continue to carry it as it heals. In doing so, the lamb learns more about the shepherd by being closer to him, than he ever would have. It develops a level of trust in the shepherd in that wayward lamb's heart. Much like what happened to Jacob in the Bible when he wrestled with God. He learned to grow in discipline and knowledge of His Creator.  Christians die in cataclysmic natural events all the time and these will only increase as God has promised for the entire world. Just because there is a significant flood or earthquake in an area, this is not God's judgment, merely a natural cataclysmic event.

A day is coming very soon, when God is coming to judge the world in His wrath. We haven't seen anything like it, nor will we ever see it again. The interesting thing is for believers in Christ, while wrath is being dispensed upon the world, we will be celebrating in the marriage feast of the Lamb. Glory in heaven and wrath on earth.

Isaiah 26:19-21 ~ "Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain."

You have a choice today, to be with us in heaven celebrating in glory or reject Jesus Christ and face the wrath of God coming to the world. Those are your only options and the choice is up to you this day. Who will you serve, Jesus or the world?

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