Let’s take a look at a good summary of what we’ve covered in the book of Revelation.
“After presenting the ‘Lordship of Christ’ in Revelation 1 and the ‘Letters of Christ’ in chapters 2–3, the book shifts from earth to heaven in Revelation 4, where the focus is on God’s throne. Then in chapter 5, Jesus—the Lamb who is a Lion—takes the seven-sealed scroll from the hand of the Father. He is the only one found worthy to open it. There are many interpretations of the contents of the seven-sealed scroll, but the only document that was sealed in this way in the first-century Roman world was a last will and testament. When a will was executed, seven witnesses were present to seal it. The will would become a seven-sealed document. That’s what we have in Revelation 5…
With Revelation 6 the main action of the book begins. Jesus, the Lord of the future, begins to open the seals one by one—each one a judgment. The first six seals are ominously opened. These judgments pave the way for the inheritance of the Kingdom. When the seventh seal is opened in Revelation 8, it appears that the scroll will be fully opened, but the seventh seal contains seven more judgments—called the seven trumpets. Each succeeding trumpet is blown, and more dire judgment falls.” (Mark Hitchcock, The End, 78–79. This is the best, most easily understood, book on the end times I have ever read, I highly recommend it)
Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up…maybe. Our passage today (the blowing of the trumpets) occurs in the second half of the 7-year period known as the Tribulation. If you’re not sure what that is or when that takes place, the order of end-times events goes something like this…
- We are living in the “Church-age.”
- The “Church-age” ends when Christ raptures the Church to heaven.
- The Tribulation period begins on Earth, while believers are in heaven.
- The Tribulation period ends when Christ returns to Earth with his army of saints.
- Christ reigns on Earth for 1,000 years.
- The Great White Throne of Judgment occurs.
- God establishes a New Heaven and New Earth as the eternal dwelling place of believers while non-believers spend an eternity in Hell.
This view is referred to as the Pre-Millenial view, basically noting that before Christ reigns for a millennium (1,000 years), the Rapture and Tribulation will take place. I say all of that to say, time is running out. You may think our world is bad and getting worse all the time. I’d agree with you. However, what do you think would happen if every Bible-believing, Christ-following, Church-man and woman left (aka Raptured)?
God in His grace provides opportunity after opportunity for people to come into a relationship with Him. During the “Church-age” the Church has the opportunity to be salt and light. At some-point the Church will be removed (raptured) and just like refining precious metals, the heat will get turned up. This terrible, awful, suffering will divide the world into two groups—those who repent and those who do not.
As you read in our passage, the Tribulation period goes from bad to worse. Revelation also provides the warning that time is running out for the Church to be salt and light. Who of us would want our worst enemies to face the things we read about in this passage? The cost of our silence in sharing the Gospel could condemn people we love to this fate, or a fate worse than this. So, how will you respond?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate