“Then the fifth [angel] emptied his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was [plunged] in darkness; and people gnawed their tongues for the torment [of their excruciating distress and severe pain], and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their anguish and their ulcers (sores), and they did not deplore their wicked deeds or repent [for what they had done].” Revelation 16:10-11 ->me: While reading this passage today I was struck by the stubbornness of these people. They had all the information they needed to understand that if they simply repented from their sin and wickedness they would be spared. But here we have over and over again John witnessing the absolute disgust and disdain of these people for the God of Heaven. Then…I stopped to pose this inwardly. In what areas of my life do I turn my back on God and even though painful as the situation might be I still cling to the things of this world and not recognize Him? I am a born again Christian and I love the Lord my God; I know how much He has done for me and I am so undeserving (we know what I deserve from yesterday’s QT). Yet, there are still times, situations, places, and states of mind that I try to own and make my own way….because of course I know better, right? I have to learn that there is sinful tendencies of this flesh even in the things that seem like good efforts -> managing the future of my job, managing God’s resources that have been put in my control, assuming I know what is best for my kids in my own mind without consulting what God says in His word. Holy Spirit, please reveal these places in my life that I hold from You. Help me to have the strength and presence of mind to stop and let You guide in Your perfect way.
“I also heard the angel of the waters say, Righteous (just) are You in these Your decisions and judgments, You Who are and were, O Holy One! Because they have poured out the blood of Your people (the saints) and the prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. Such is their due [they deserve it]! And [from] the altar I heard [the] cry, Yes, Lord God the Omnipotent, Your judgments (sentences, decisions) are true and just and righteous!” Revelation 16:5-7 ->me: Tonight I started chapter 16 which goes through the execution of God’s final judgement by sending the angels out one after the other with different plagues. Right before verse 5 here, the first angel poured out the plague of boils (on every person with the mark of the beast or worshiped him), the second angel turned the ocean into blood (not just any blood – blood from a decaying corpse -> awful), and then the third angel turn the remaining waters (lakes, streams, fountains, etc) to blood. Then there is this little interlude where John hears the angels acknowledging the true and just wrath and indignation of God (indignation means – anger or annoyance provoked by unjust or unfair treatment). The Meat: God’s choices for how He punishes are right and fit the crime. If I had never been saved by my belief and surrender to Jesus, I would be looking down the barrel of all of God’s wrath and punishment. When I see the terror and ferociousness of God’s wrath I think on what Jesus endured, not only physically but mostly spiritually, on the cross to pay for my sin. I read though the rest of this chapter hearing the plagues one right after the other; doled out by the Almighty God…I deserve this…I should incur this judgement…but God in His mercy has provided a way for all of me to avoid this wrath…by placing my due on His Son. Man..I just don’t have any other words.
“After this I looked and the sanctuary of the tent of the testimony in heaven was thrown open, and there came out of the temple sanctuary the seven angels bringing the seven plagues (afflictions, calamities). They were arrayed in pure gleaming linen, and around their breasts they wore golden girdles. And the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory (the radiance, the splendor) of God and from His might and power, and no one was able to go into the sanctuary until the seven plagues (afflictions, calamities) of the seven angels were ended.” Revelation 15:5,6, & 8 ->me: This passage is all about the ushering in of the final judgement on the earth through 7 bowls of God’s wrath poured out on the earth by 7 angels; angels clad in gleaming linen and golden sashes. The ‘Tent of Testimony’ can also be translated to ‘Tent of Meeting’ which was the place of God’s presence in the Wilderness with the Israelites. So these gleaming angels come directly from the presence of God meaning that the judgement they bring comes with the fullest divine sanction. My takeaway from this passage is that God’s wrath comes from His purity – it must happen. When it is finally set into motion; verse 8 shows us that nothing can stop God’s final judgement until it is complete. Verse 7, the one I left out for the sake of text, talks about one of the creatures at the foot of the throne of God giving the 7 angels 7 bowls of wrath. The word for bowls is the same from Rev. 5:8 -> containing the prayers of the saints. Makes me wonder if this again shows us that our prayers have more impact in the Temple of Heaven than we think. Application: Prayer has to be my number one go-to activity when I am under oppression|being attacked by the evil one directly or through the ungodly. God’s wrath and punishment will be more complete than I can fathom -> vengeance is His.
“And they sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, Mighty and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God the Omnipotent! Righteous (just) and true are Your ways, O Sovereign of the ages (King of the nations)! Who shall not reverence and glorify Your name, O Lord [giving You honor and praise in worship]? For You only are holy. All the nations shall come and pay homage and adoration to You, for Your just judgments (Your righteous sentences and deeds) have been made known and displayed.” Revelation 15:3-4 ->me: John now sees an amazing vision of the victorious Saints who did not worship the beast or his image and did not take his mark. They are standing beside what John calls a glassy sea with elements of fire, playing harps given by God and singing what is in these 2 verses. This morning as I was driving into work I was burdened by my own unawareness of God’s purity, holiness, and grandeur. I easily ho-hum through life here on earth totally unaware of God’s amazing power manifested in the sights and sounds of heaven. What would my view of God be if I actually witnessed some of what John describes of heaven? Well, I have the answer right here -> these saints singing have come through unspeakable pain and persecution for the Name of their Lord God Almighty and now experience what hope in the God of the universe produces. They are overcome with gratitude, reverence, and joy for their King Who they now see has been faithful to His promises all along. I want to live a life that acknowledges what this is all about, what faith in the Almighty God will produce one day. Lord God in heaven, help me to understand the power and glory associated with Your Name, that I might respectfully and reverently approach Your throne in prayer understanding the joy that lies ahead in Your Heaven.
“So the angel swung his scythe on the earth and stripped the grapes and gathered the vintage from the vines of the earth and cast it into the huge winepress of God’s indignation and wrath and [the grapes in] the winepress were trodden outside the city, and blood poured from the winepress, [reaching] as high as horses’ bridles, for a distance of 1,600 stadia (about 200 miles).” Revelation 14:19-20 ->me: The verse before describes the angel who called for the reaping as the angel in charge of fire and coming from the altar in the temple (sanctuary) of the Lord. If we remember, the altar is where the prayers of the saints are offered up to God as a sweet aroma filling the temple and the Martyrs are situated at the base of this altar. So, is it that big of a leap that this is God’s final answer to the prayers of the saints for justice? Being a numbers guy the 1600 stadia is interesting – go with me for a second – 16 is the square of four (four is the number of the earth, the home of the wicked). 100 is the square of 10, a number of completeness. 1600 is also the square of 40 which is a number associated with punishment (40 days of rain for the flood | forty years in the wilderness). So, blood stretching for 1600 stadia could stand for the complete judgement of the whole earth and the destruction of all the wicked. Regardless, this is a solemn and scary final wrath of God on those who refuse Him. My heart hurts for those who have not found our Savior. This weekend especially, I am thankful for my salvation and if my prayers have the effect of bringing judgement they must also have the same power to petition God for the Salvation of those around me. Today I plan to spend time in my prayer closet praying in thankfulness for what I have in the Lord and intercession for those around me who need Jesus.
“And another angel came out of the temple sanctuary, calling with a mighty voice to Him Who was sitting upon the cloud, Put in Your scythe and reap, for the hour has arrived to gather the harvest, for the earth’s crop is fully ripened. So He Who was sitting upon the cloud swung His scythe (sickle) on the earth, and the earth’s crop was harvested.” Revelation 14:15-16 ->me: The imagery by John here is wrought with difficult interpretation. Some think the being on the cloud is Jesus and some think it is an angel that looks human. What I do know is that God is not confused by what He revealed to John; it is only I who may not yet be prepared to understand its meaning…maybe not even until I get to heaven myself. What I do take away from this passage today is that God’s time is perfect. The reaping of the world is not arbitrary, it will be at exactly the right moment. As a Christian here on earth, surrendered to my King, I can rest assured that if God’s intervention is delayed, this is only because it is not yet the right moment to reap. I can wait patiently yet expectantly. I can wait knowing that He is right here with me and I am part of His plan for the redemption of sinners before He returns. I must not be idle. I must not be impatient. I must not worry. I must press into Him, the One Who holds time and my life in His hand. Annoyance, frustration, anger, and impatience must have no place in my life as I wait on Him.
“Here [comes in a call for] the steadfastness of the saints [the patience, the endurance of the people of God], those who [habitually] keep God’s commandments and [their] faith in Jesus. Then I heard further [perceiving the distinct words of] a voice from heaven, saying, Write this: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are the dead from now on who die in the Lord! Yes, blessed (happy, to be envied indeed), says the Spirit, [in] that they may rest from their labors, for their works (deeds) do follow (attend, accompany) them!” Revelation 14:12-13 ->me: I have said in previous QTVOTDs, I am meeting monthly with a group of men (13 of us), where we discuss study topics and support each other’s growth in Christ. This month we are reading “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn. These verses really spoke to me and support the assertions Randy makes in his book…that we take no material achievement with us into eternity. What we do take is works (deeds) done through faith. What we want to do while we are here is to build up and send forward treasures (deeds). One of those ways is to give money, another is give time, and yet another is give spiritual/emotional support. If at some point the Lord blesses me by taking me home, will I feel good about the things (deeds) I am bringing with me? Will my U-Haul be full? This is yet another confirmation by the Lord…now through my quiet time…that I have so much, I can, and need to do. Lord, help me to hold firm to my faith and hope in Eternity, and let go of the earthly resources, You have put in my charge, that need to flow to the places You need them.
“These are they who have not defiled themselves by relations with women, for they are [pure as] virgins. These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These are they who have been ransomed (purchased, redeemed) from among men as the first-fruits for God and the Lamb. No lie was found to be upon their lips, for they are blameless (spotless, untainted, without blemish) before the throne of God.” Revelation 14:4-5 ->me: No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth but I have missed 2 days quiet times…and I have felt it. Last night I was watching TV and found myself being engrossed in dramas of this world and filling time before drifting off to bed. The knowledge of missing time with my Lord and Savior in His word weighed on me…I missed Him…so this is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving Day -> I am thankful for God’s coaxing hand through His Spirit: Even though I had not been in dedicated time with Him the last couple of days I felt His presence in my thoughts and prayers while in my prep work for this day. I am thankful for the people He has put in my life to sharpen me further: Those who have been put there as an accountability or giving me just the admonishment I need. I am thankful for the Power God has given me through my surrender to Him (His Power in my weakness): This is the only power that matters; a Power that allows me to stay pure in my thoughts, a Power to turn away from evil, and Power of wisdom to follow Him and stay in His waterfall of grace and blessing. Finally, I am thankful for His redemptive Grace that is so hard to understand: The Grace that says “You can approach My throne because I only see My Son when I look at you” or “You can talk to Me because I don’t hold against you anything My Son has already died for in your place”. Then if that were not enough, He has blessed me with a family and friends who are the most precious gifts God could give me on this earth.
“Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Herein is [the call for] the patience and the faith and fidelity of the saints (God’s people).” Revelation 13:10 ->me: There is some debate on this verse in the commentaries but here are my thoughts. The first part ‘Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity,’ better translates into ‘Whoever God leads into captivity will indeed go into captivity’ (this is very close to the RSV). So, to me this is a statement about the purposes of God perfectly executed -> if it is God’s will that I get abducted while on a missions trip then that is indeed what is going to happen. If I am following God through prayer and His word then I can be at peace in every situation because that is exactly where God has me at that time and place – I should be looking for the opportunities to serve Him in every circumstance, even if it is under adversity. The second part ‘if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain’, I believe is about trust. When Peter drew his sword to kill the servant in garden, when Jesus was betrayed, Jesus said ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?’ (Matthew 26:52-53) God calls me to trust Him implicitly; in every situation and circumstance. God forbid I take something into my own hands and create a detour the Lord must take me through that might be 100 times harder than just trusting that God has every aspect of my existence situated in the events of His plan for my life.
“And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage, everyone whose name has not been recorded in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice]from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 ->me: ALL the inhabitants of the world will worship and follow the beast except those whose names are found written in the Book of Life. The unsaved will not see, they will be blind. So this drives me to think that I might need to question pre-trib…but lets not go there just yet. It still haunts me that ALL WILL fall down in adoration of the beast. There was a cool saying I read in ‘The Treasure Principle’ -> Randy Alcorn—“There is a life lived in love and sacrifices for the Kingdom of God; apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.” How do I expect people of the world, the same ones who will worship the beast if they don’t find Jesus, to understand my motives and actions if I don’t explain the gospel to them. Time is short, I must accelerate my mission to bring more and better disciples.