Saturday, February 27, 2016

How the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls of Revelation relate to the Exodus

Due to my answering a comment on another article, I was led to go back and review some of my articles and started reading some of the comments again. I came across a comment that I did not pick up on to pursue with further study at the time it was posted, but decided to take a look at the idea now. The comment was made by a reader that the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls of Revelation relate to the Exodus of Israel.  In thinking about this, I believe that person was on to something. There is a correlation, but that should not surprise anyone. God has this distinct habit of using scenarios multiple times. I think perhaps it is because He knows we are thick-headed and need repetition to drive home certain truths.

The idea was put forth that the Seals represent the time of slavery in Egypt, the trumpets represent the plagues, and the bowls represent the Red Sea incident causing the demise of Pharaoh and his army. After considering this for a while, I would tend to agree.

If we look at the seals we see 1) a figure who conquers (assumed to be the antichrist spirit if not the antichrist himself). 2) war 3) famine 4) death 5) persecution and martyrdom 6) signs of impending salvation for God's people and God's wrath on those who persecute God's people.  These seals relate to the conditions Israel endured during that time in Egypt. During the time of slavery, Israel was under the rule of despotic pharaohs. (Seal 1) The life that Israel would have had under them would have  been a time with no peace for Israel, as when one is a slave, there is no such thing as a peaceful existence. (Seal 2) The reason Israel came down to Egypt in the first place was because of a famine. (Seal 3) There was a lot of death during this time, including the death of infants due to infanticide when Moses was born, as well as the deaths from mistreatment, starvation, persecution, illness, etc. due to the conditions under which they were forced to live, which were increased in intensity just before they were freed. (Seal 4 and 5). When Moses came back, he was the sign that God was about to do what they had been praying for for a few hundred years. They were about to be released from slavery. This was the sign that their redemption was drawing nigh and that God's vengeance was coming. (Seal 6).

From there we move into the time in which Moses attempted to get Pharaoh to free the slaves. This was the time of plagues. The Trumpet judgments relate to these plagues. Some of them even being similar in nature. The first plague was water turned to blood. We see this in the second and third trumpet judgments, where the oceans and fresh waters are turned to blood. There was darkness, which relates to the fourth trumpet, and locusts, which relates to the fifth trumpet (although they are different kinds of locusts), and there is death, which relates to the sixth trumpet. Granted there is not ten plagues in Revelation, and they are not exactly the same, but there is a similarity in the concept.

Now here is where I finally have an answer that really helps to explain why God's wrath does not begin with the trumpets. This was always a sort of question for me as to why God ends the tribulation, but keeps Christians around during the trumpets. I saw no reason for God's wrath not to begin there, but Scripture convinced me that it didn't, so I accepted that while the trumpets were not part of the tribulation, they were also not part of God's wrath. They stood out as a slight anomaly in my mind, for which I had no real explanation. I now have one, for as pointed out by the reader who made the comment, Israel was not removed during these plagues, they were still in Egypt, but they didn't suffer all of the plagues. While they did not seem to be exempt from the first three, God severed or put a line between Egypt and Goshen for the other seven. For the rest of the plagues, they just stood by and watched, although the last plague of death of the firstborn did require that they do something to protect themselves. For them it was the blood on the doorposts. For us and the 144,000, we have to have the seal of God (a mark put on us through Jesus Christ) on our foreheads.

The first few trumpet judgments are natural disasters, so nobody seems to be exempt from them. However, the 144,000 are sealed before these trumpet judgments and God's people are sealed with His mark also and we are told that the locusts of the fifth judgment (at least) are not to hurt those with the mark. So these 144,000 of Israel (and Christians) will be protected from at least some of these plagues. Whether this protection carries over to the sixth trumpet judgment or not, is not stated, but I am leaning toward the idea that it would, due to what seems to be the purpose of these trumpets. The purpose (and here is the answer I was seeking) of the plagues and the trumpets were that they were a time when God was giving people time to repent before He did pour out His wrath. When God removes the Church, there is no more time for repentance. His wrath will simply begin. The great tribulation is a time of persecution to refine the Church of her apostasy. The rest of the world will not be suffering the fate of Christians, for most will receive the mark, which means their life will be just fine, and those who do not receive it, who are not Christians, will fall into one of two categories. Either they will be children of Israel who God protects (in the wilderness) during this time, or they will be the few people who have refused the mark, but who are not Christians.

It is these people who will now be given a period of time to suffer and make the decision to repent or not. Now what must be pointed out here is that repentance does not necessarily mean that they will believe in Christ. The children of Israel (I say that instead of saying Jews,  because all twelve tribes fall into this group) will turn to God in repentance, but they will still not accept Jesus as the Messiah until they actually see Him return, at which point it will be too late to be a part of His Bride, but they will be able to go into the millennium via the sheep and goat judgment. The same will be true of the people who survive out of the other nations. They will refuse to bow the knee to antichrist, and they may believe in God and cry out to Him, but they still will not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This is verified by several Scriptures. For the children of Israel we find in Zechariah 12:9-10 that they only accept Jesus when He appears. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Revelation 1:7 " Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."  

The verse just quoted in Revelation says that at Christ's coming, those who pierced Him (Israel) will wail or mourn when they see him, as it also says in Zechariah, and finally accept their Savior,  but note that it first says that every eye will see him and everyone will wail. That includes the Gentiles who have not taken the mark. We find Zechariah also mentions these Gentiles in the millennium. Zechariah 14:16 " And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." Further we see in Matthew that they are not let into the millennium  because they have accepted Christ, but because they helped the persecuted Christians.  Matthew 25:31-40 "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  Satan will be less concerned about killing people who are not claiming to know Christ during the tribulation, because in his pride and arrogance, he will believe these people are his in spite of them not taking the mark, because they have also not received Christ.

Scripture bears out that repentance is the purpose for in Revelation 9:20-21 we are told "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts" This is at the end of the trumpet judgments, just before God's wrath begins. There is no chance for repentance from this point on. The die is cast, the fates are sealed. You are now either a sheep or a goat.

Another similarity is the wilderness experience. While Israel spent 40 months in the wilderness, waiting to come to the promised land, during Daniel's 70th week, Israel, or the woman of Revelation 12 is sent into the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time, or three and a half years or forty-two months. Both are a time when God deals with Israel to teach Him about Himself.   Hosea 2:14-20, 23 speaks of this wilderness time during Daniel's 70th week. "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.  And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.  For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.  And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.  And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.  I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD..... And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."

So it would seem that the story of the Exodus has provided the explanation as to why the Church remains during the trumpet judgments.and why there are events between the end of the tribulation and the commencement of God's wrath. It is the time for allowing the rest of the world to repent before their fates are sealed. This is what the Time of Awe between Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur is also about. The Ten Days of Awe are a time of repentance to either get your name in the Book of Life or to be sealed for judgment. Notice the ten days and the ten plagues of Egypt. This time around there are only the six trumpet judgments before God's wrath comes. I will not speculate as to why God arranged it thus, it simply is. 

No comments:

Post a Comment