Sunday, December 18, 2016

Revelation Advent -- December 18

After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. (Revelation 15:5-8, ESV)

I am skipping ahead. I cannot cover all of Revelation before Christmas. Chapter 14 is an interlude with a vision of heaven with the 144,000, the announcement of the destruction of a yet to be introduced player in the tribulation, Babylon the harlot, the harvest of the Christians from the earth (the grain harvest) and the nonbelievers (the grape harvest). Following this are the final judgments God pours though his angels carrying the bowls onto the unrepentant dwellers of the earth. The previous cycles of the seals and the trumpets had a warning element to them, calling for repentance. With the conclusion of the bowls, God's wrath is finished. Some interpreters see the bowls are the final act of judgment just prior to Christ's return. Others see this as the final act of judgment on individuals throughout history. Whatever the case, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, to quote Hebrews. As Paul reminds us, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

When troubles, illness, disaster come out way, we can have several reactions. The first is to be angry at the unfairness of it all, to move away from God, to hate anyone who could permit such a thing to happen. Another response is to see God's warning, that you do not control your life, that indeed you are a sinner in need of God and come running to him.

Those who flee to Christ and depend on him will not be disappointed.

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