The last trumpet sets off praise in Heaven as never before. We have not reached the end but it is in sight and Heaven shouts about it.
God has been contending for man’s hearts since the beginning of creation. He has also been waging war over the earth. With any great conflict, there has to be an end and there are usually signs of its coming. In war the end usually begins with one side recognizing the weakness of the other and beginning to exploit it. But the expected outcome is never certain until the final moment of the opponent’s surrender.
This battle though is different. God KNOWS the exact moment of surrender. He knows exactly what it will take to win this battle. And today, Heaven recognizes one of those great moments of victory.
When the seventh trumpet sounds Heaven rejoices! This is the beginning of the final phase. My bible helps tell me that it heralds the return of Jesus. But in reading on, there are still more pieces to be completed first. It could be my timeline question from a few days ago; “are we looking at a chronological timeline or are some of these things happening concurrently” is answered her. If concurrently, the seven bowls could happen right before the seventh trumpet. But that leaves me to wonder about the third woe. Where does it fit in?
Maybe all those in Heaven can see the end and are rejoicing over that. Because the end is AMAZING! Satan loses, period. God wins. And because God wins, so does man. But not every man will enjoy the victory. Judgement time is approaching. “The time for the dead to be judged and for rewarding Your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear Your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth” (verse 18b).
Jesus WILL rule on earth. Satan WILL be bound for 1,000 years. I have a quick question here; will these be earth years or God’s years? But we haven’t gotten to this point in our reading yet so I need to slow down. I guess I’m as excited as Heaven is because we ALL read the back of the book and HE WINS!!!
No uncertainty over the end of this conflict for those who love God. Those who don’t, have no assurances to cling to. They are left breathless and powerless to stand in the face of the truth. The “two minute warning” has sounded and the ending is certain.
One other thing that was impressed upon me today is God’s “wrath.” “The nations raged, but Your wrath came” (verse 18a). His “wrath” is always wrapped in love. He isn’t in Heaven throwing a fit because people won’t listen. His heart breaks for those who refuse to hear. But like any loving parent, He knows there has to be limits and His limits are firm. There are lines we can’t cross without incurring consequences. He doesn’t want us hurt and He will do whatever He has to do to protect us. If that means punishment for bad behavior to bring about repentance, so be it.
His wrath is never arbitrary or cruel. It is never unjust or overly punitive. It is also never undeserved. It is always tempered with love and mercy. He does only what MUST be done to put an end to the rebellion. And when His “wrath” is spent He lets us begin again with a clean slate. If ever in doubt of this, look back at how many times He let Israel begin again after receiving correction. Even at the end of this time, He lets man and Satan have one last chance, but we will get to that later. For now, remember that He is the MOST just “parent” man could ever ask for.
Father God, thank You that You don’t give me what I deserve. You have given me mercy and grace SO MANY TIMES! I don’t know why sometimes but I do appreciate it. Thank You for bringing me to repentance each time too. I don’t want to be outside Your will, certainly not forever. I appreciate Your discipline, even if I don’t enjoy it. I know that You only discipline me out of love and never in anger.
I’m SO glad that I already KNOW Who wins in this battle. I wish I could help make it so ALL of mankind would listen, especially my family. But I don’t have that power and You won’t impose that kind of power. What You will do though is keep reaching out and calling to those who are lost. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You too that there is an end. There is a time to stop. I’m very grateful that that decision is YOURS to make and not mine. In Your time and according to Your plan. We Win! But not without a few tears along the way. Even those will be wiped away though in that day by the joy of being with You.