Since we have referenced the primary focus of biblical scripture is Jesus Christ, please note that fundamentally the Old Testament deals with Israel’s tribal and ethnic history as nomads, tribes, and as a nation. All Jewish history is tied to and focused on their relationship with God as His ‘chosen’ people. Chosen for and through whom Jesus would come into the world as God incarnate. Additionally, the New Testament explores the “church age” through which Jesus and His first century disciples delivered and shared with a non-Jewish world the divinity and role of Jesus as the savior and redeemer of humanity.
The book of ‘Revelation’ speaks directly of End Times and Last Days with a focus on God’s reassertion of His spiritual relationship first with gentiles and then to those with messianic Jewish and Zionist world views. His prophetic efforts of spiritual redemption are followed by a reconciliation to Himself as a Jewish nation through a renewed acknowledgment that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, their Messiah.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when studying the book of Revelation. There is often a misconception that End Times events as presented are sequential. I don’t believe they are. By my readings, the prophesied events in the book of Revelation appear to not be in chronological order. We don’t know in what order John received his revelatory visions or, in what order they were written. We also don’t know specifically by what sequence they were catalogued.
As with other important and pertinent aspects of a relationship with God, prophecy serves both as a warning and an opportunity for us individually and collectively to “get right with God, right now” or “become prepared for God.”
The book of Revelation can be viewed in seven general sections:
The existential purpose of prophecy is key in realizing the Word of God is given as a foretelling of future events so readers or hearers are forewarned. Knowledge of impending events gives reassurance needed to endure the trauma and drama of their actualization. At the same time, preparation for spiritual reconciliation emboldens one’s strength should they become a victim of individual tragic consequences. The End Times, Last Days and tribulation years will be illuminated by increasing issues, struggles, doubts, and fears. All purposed and designed to alert, warn, and instruct those interested as to what a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ (or not) portends here and hereafter.
Many may have heard of the “tribulation” but many more may not actually know what the tribulation is, or what it portends for those living in or through it. The purpose of the tribulation is three-fold: First, it’s an opportunity for ‘christians’ who claim to be believers and adherents of Christ to reaffirm their commitment to and in Him as savior. Next, it’s a ‘last chance’ opportunity for ‘non-believers’ (in Christ) to come to know, trust, and have faith that He is who He said He was (savior, redeemer, spiritual reconciler), and whom others for two thousand years have testified that He is: God incarnate; the ‘Son of God’. Third, for Jews alive today and in the Last Days to acknowledge and declare Jesus is their Messiah.
The seven year ‘Tribulation’ period is divided into two separate yet interlinked three and one-half (3 ½) year periods (each described alternately as 42 months and/or 1260 days). The first three and one-half years is both a time of peace and security (particularly for the state of Israel), as well as a period of increasing worldwide caustic environmental events and warnings combined with spiritual revival.
This first (3 ½ year) tribulation period is often called ‘The Wrath of Jesus Christ’ while the second period years have been designated ‘The Wrath of God’. This delineation can be misleading, as Jesus Christ is both ‘Son’ of God (as well as ‘Son of Man’), and God Himself. Therefore, these two separate time identifying labels of ‘Wrath’ can be viewed more as descriptive degrees of intensity within the span of these seven (tribulation) years.
During the Tribulation years the consequences of God’s anger against sin and evil in the world is meted out via ‘Trumpet’ blasts from heaven and the outpouring of ‘Bowl’ contents (‘Vials’ in some writings). Descriptions of the ‘Trumpets and Bowls’ are divided between two different groups of angels as the disseminators of the Trumpet and Bowl consequences. The trumpet blasts of the first group announce the coming ‘plagues’ of the second group.
With a linear concept of time and space, John’s revelatory visions as recorded are easy to identify in their presentation as sequential. Our linear modality sequencing models make for easier understanding, however this can be misleading. Let me give you an example.
With the initial Trumpet blast (by/from the angel with the first Trumpet), the plague disseminated by the fourth angel is poured upon the earth. Although the plague (Bowl/Vial) descriptions by John are read in a given order, it doesn’t mean their pouring out upon the earth is necessarily sequential. Think of it like this. Two sets of angels (1-7 each) are lined up in front of the Throne of God. The first seven are holding Trumpets, while the second seven are holding Bowls (of ‘wrath’/plagues). The first Trumpet angel steps forward and blows his trumpet, yet it is the fourth angel who steps forward to pour out his bowl.
The End Times, Last Days tribulation years will be illuminated by increasing issues, struggles, doubts and fears. All purposed and designed to alert, warn, and instruct those interested as to what a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ (or not) portends here and hereafter. The primary purpose of the first three and one-half year time frame is to serve as a warning and announcement of God’s presence and intervention into world affairs.
These include the Ezekiel War (Ezekiel 36-39), the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and her invading enemies that end this war (Dan 9:2), the strengthened prosperity of Israel with the end of this conflict (Ez 39:9), appearance of the Two Witnesses (Moses and Elijah) in Jerusalem (Rev 11:1-6), completion of the third Temple and reestablishment of sacrificial worship services (2Thes 2:4, Mt 24:15, Dan 7). The first 3 ½ years of the tribulation period is when the first four Trumpet blasts are heard along with the fourth, second, third, and fifth bowl (plague) outpourings.
As stated, these years will be marked by declared ‘peace and security/peace and safety’ with a sense of joyous celebration around the world. At the same time however, destruction by climate change ‘storms on steroids’ called down from heaven and announced by the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem will bring destruction and death. For this reason, the Two Witnesses will be globally ridiculed, demeaned and blamed for the many lives lost worldwide climate change ‘anomalies.’
Join me next time in Part 3 for ‘Do or Die’ when we’ll look at the final Tribulation years.
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