John watches as the final portion of God’s wrath is prepared. Seven more times will the inhabitants of earth see God’s anger revealed.
Let me refresh your memory again. I’m NO expert on end times prophecy! That being said, here we go. I trust the Holy Spirit will take us where we need to be.
We have witnessed God’s preparations for Jesus’ return. He has done and is doing everything He can to get man’s attention. He is giving them more chances than they deserve. So far we have come through the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven thunders. Now God has seven final “wake-up calls” left.
Growing up, when my mom would get angry with us for our behavior she would count. She always counted to ten but the number she chose to start with depended on how frustrated she was. I don’t remember her ever starting with 1. She probably did when we were much younger. I do remember a fair amount of 3s and 5s. I also remember a LOT of 9s! Those were the times we knew we better straighten up RIGHT NOW!!! God’s attitude now would make me believe He was ready to start with 9, but He has seven steps to get to the 10. So I guess He is starting with a 3.
The scene in Heaven is heavy. Those watching know the end is near. There is rejoicing coming from those who have endured what the beast did to them. We are told they are singing the “song of Moses” (verse 3a). I was wondering about that song. It isn’t that they are singing the exact words that Moses sang as he left Egypt but echoing the feelings of that day.
I can imagine being in Egypt when Moses first came to the Israelites and said God was going to deliver them. In the beginning they were skeptical. That is why God told Moses to say “I Am” had sent him. This name would have gotten the people excited and on board with what Moses had to say; initially.
As time progressed and plagues began I can imagine the people wondering if it wasn’t better just to call the whole thing off. Pharaoh was making things harder and God’s plagues weren’t initially confined to just the Egyptians. Everyone was affected. The Israelites were “walking through fire” just as much as the Egyptians. How badly did they want their freedom?
As time progressed, the Israelites were spared the plagues. Their homes, crops and livestock didn’t suffer the destroying plagues. I bet this gave them hope. They could see God’s hand protecting them but they still didn’t know how much longer they were going to have to endure the Egyptian’s retribution for their preferential treatment, or how much longer before God FINALLY got them out of there.
God didn’t tell Moses how many plagues there were going to be. He didn’t even clue him in on how much longer it would all last as he kept going back and forth to Pharaoh. He only told him it was time on the final day.
I can imagine the excitement of the Israelites as they prepared their Passover lambs. They knew they were FINALLY getting out of there! It’s time!!! Get your shoes on! Grab your coats! Eat up FAST! BE READY because when Moses says go, WE GO!!!
That is the excitement in Heaven the moment the angels step out to receive the bowls carrying the last of God’s wrath. Expectancy! Everyone who has been killed because of refusing the mark of the beast are ready to witness him getting his just deserts. They have known all along that this day was coming but now it is finally here! Time to pay the piper! And NO ONE deserves this payback more than the beast!
The last verse of our reading brings back another memory for me. I know my parents read my blog, so before I go any further, I want to assure them that this memory is not intended to hurt them but to convey an analogy only. The experience associated with this memory was dealt with YEARS ago. My dad took to heart my “fears” and addressed this concern out of love.
The memory I’m referencing is what I called “the spanking mood.” When one of us five kids got in trouble and got a spanking from my dad, it felt like he was waiting for the opportunity to give the rest of us one too. I remember one day when he had just disciplined one of my brothers, he sat down in a chair that was situated by the entrance between the dining room and kitchen. I needed to pass that way to get from the laundry room to my bedroom but I DIDN’T want to pass by him for fear I would wind up with a spanking too. So I went out the back door, went around the house and reentered the front door in order to avoid passing by him.
It worked for me that day on several levels. First I skirted “the spanking mood” proximity issue and my mom later asked me why I had done that. I was brave enough that day to tell her why and I believe that was the beginning of the end of “the spanking moods” from my dad.
Back to what this has to do with our reading. I can almost see God sitting in the passageway as the living creature hands out the final seven bowls of His wrath. YES! EVERY ounce of what is to be poured out is fully deserved. And, Yes, it affects His heart as they set off with their bowls. “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” (verse 8).
There is a difference between “the spanking mood” and the smoke of His glory. My dad’s patience had run out when he reached that point and anything more would tip him over. I believe God’s heart was crying out instead. Yes! He had had it up to His ears with the world’s behavior. That is why these last plagues were pointed DIRECTLY at those who had already made their choice to join the beast. But He was also giving “one last call” to those who still might be on the fence. “Can’t you see Me? What is it going to take to convince you? Do it NOW!!! There will be NO more chances!!!” I can almost hear the anguish in His voice as He makes this final call.
Father God, thank You for Your love and Your persistent call. I cannot imagine the pain Your heart must feel as man continues to reject You in the face of ALL the evidence. My heart breaks for Your pain and for their loss! I wish I could MAKE them understand! But I can’t. And You won’t. It has to be our choice.
I PRAY my children and grandchildren listen SOON. I know I have to leave them in Your hands, still. It’s just not easy watching this world march towards the FINAL chance and not seeing their realization of their desperate need for You. Because their need IS desperate! Without You there IS NO HOPE.
Thank You for that hope. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You that there is an end coming. It is both scary and exciting. Do You feel that way too? Do You look forward to it with excitement and sorrow? I wish I could wrap You in a hug and say I’m sorry. Sorry for all the heartache I have caused You. Sorry for all the pain that the ending is going to bring. Sorry not everyone will open their hearts to Your love.