Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations

Rev. 15 NLT
1 Then I saw in heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion. 2 I saw before me what seemed to be a glass sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. 3 And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:  “Great and marvelous are your works,  O Lord God, the Almighty.  Just and true are your ways,  O King of the nations. 4 Who will not fear you, Lord,  and glorify your name?  For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you,  for your righteous deeds have been revealed.” 
   5  Then I looked and saw that the Temple in heaven, God’s Tabernacle, was thrown wide open. 6 The seven angels who were holding the seven plagues came out of the Temple. They were clothed in spotless white linen with gold sashes across their chests. 7 Then one of the four living beings handed each of the seven angels a gold bowl filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8 The Temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and power. No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues.

The Song of the redeemed sung only by those redeemed by the blood of Christ in heaven is followed by a reprise from a smaller group-- those who had been martyred for not worshipping the false messiah under his reign during the last seven years of the old world. Their reprise is repeated in many praise songs of our day as well. They celebrate how great the works of God are, in the face of the counter fit ones performed by the false messiah and the Dragon. They sing of God's justice. They sing of God's ultimate truth. They sing of God's holiness. They sing of all nations recognizing and worshipping God at the end as His righteousness is completely revealed.

Next, the team of seven angles reappear, and receive their bowls of ultimate and complete destruction over evil. The sign that signals their actions is the smoke in the temple of heaven. Since no one could enter, then no one could receive forgiveness any longer. The opportunity to become redeemed by Christ came to an end at that point. The bowl plagues would unleash total destruction of the evil world. God's people were removed and what remained would be burned, evaporated, shaken to pieces, smothered, and ground to dust by unimaginable hail stones. It was heart breaking for God who is Love but is also Justice, to complete the cycle and now repay evil as had been long prophesied. The subsequent chapter describes the destruction. The one after that narrows the focus on the destruction. Then comes the return and millennial reign of Christ, the second final battle with the Dragon, and then the New Creation.

The thing that keeps the Redeemed singing is knowing that God brings ultimate justice to all creation and fulfills all His promises. God's promise are enough for us to sing praises and thanks even today.

Your servant in Christ's love

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