"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
THE REVELATION OF CHRIST
THE SEVEN VIALS
(THE FIRST SIX)
By Given O. Blakely
JESUS IS COMING!
"Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." Here is a marvelous word of comfort. We have read of the wrath of God being poured out. We have also heard of Satan rallying spiritual despots for "the battle of the great day of God Almighty." All of this might tend to strike fear into the hearts of believers. Thus comes a word of comfort from the King. "I am coming!" it is that coming that is the blessed hope of the church (Tit 2:11-12). But we must not hold to that coming as a mere doctrine. Our hearts must embrace it, allowing it to assist us in purifying ourselves (1 John 3:3-4).
And for what are we to "watch?" This is a vital point. Are we to watch for the battle of Armageddon? The "battle of the great day of God Almighty?" The rise of the beast, or the mark of his name? Indeed not! While countless numbers of people are looking for these things, we are to look for our Lord. That anticipation will evidence itself in consistent watching and moral and spiritual purity.
If He comes and finds us in the embrace of a powerless religion, we will be ashamed! If He comes and finds us possessing a form of godliness, yet denying the power thereof, we will be ashamed.
But that is not all. Those who are ashamed will be witnessed by the assembled universe. "THEY see his shame!" Settle it in your hearts to be ready for the return of Christ Jesus!
"And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon." This is the first and only mentioning of this word in Scripture. It is mentioned in no other form anywhere else. There is a great deal of mystery surrounding this verse. Still, certain men have taken it upon themselves to develop lengthy and detailed doctrines around it. Such freedom with the text of Scripture is not to be commended.
The word means "Mountain of Megiddo." This, some suppose, is associated with the Plain of Megiddo, which was known as a gathering place for decisive battles. Zechariah referred to it as a place of anguish (Zech 12:11). That is where Josiah was overthrown and killed (2 Kgs 23:29). A battle with the "kings of Canaan" was fought there (Judges 5:19). Ahaziah also died there (2 Kgs 9:27).
Enough is told us so we will know God is glory to get great glory for Himself in the end. The best has actually been reserved for last. Texts like this should not be brushed aside as meaningless, but pondered with great sobriety. Anything that involves the marshaling of the kings of the earth by demons of hell, and a "battle of the great day of God Almighty," must not be taken lightly. Texts like this are highly disruptive to stilted theology.
Let us be content to believe that God's eternal purpose involves things of a greater magnitude than is commonly believed. Satan is more aggressive than lethargic souls want to believe. If he is getting ready for the "battle, of the great day of God Almighty," what of us? What of you? Is that day not worthy of preparation?
There are several weighty things to be observed in this text. We must not allow the symbolic language to hide these things from us. They are matters necessary for our preparation for the coming of the Lord.
(1) First, they speak of God's wrath. Jesus has delivered us from this, and the Spirit will enable us to avoid being caught in its wake. The presence of the seven vials, or bowls, confirms Jesus wants us to know about Divine wrath. It will assist us to avoid ensnarement by the wicked one.
(2) The seven vials introduce us to the judgment of the deceived-the people with a form of godliness that deny the power thereof. While men try to disarm us concerning powerless religion, this text serves to awaken us to its danger.
(3) God will punish those who have slain His people. The martyrs are not just statistics. Their blood will be avenged, down to the person. Until that time of vengeance, God has given these enemies space to repent.
(4) Behold the unspeakable hardness of the those who persecute the saints. When severely punished by the Lord, they blaspheme His holy name in the very midst us great pain.
(5) We are introduced to the irretrievability of the reprobate. There is a state from which repentance is not possible, even though sore judgments are poured out upon the transgressor.
(6) Satan is pictured as marshaling the kings of the earth to do battle in the great day of God Almighty. We ought not, therefore, develop an inordinate love for such kings and governments.
(7) Under Satan's guidance, heresies and great delusions are perpetrated among men. They are aided by miracles wrought by the spirits of demons.
(8) The influence of the wicked one defiles, corrupts, and renders unsuitable to stand before the Almighty. The spirits emitting from the dragon, beast, and false prophet, were all "unclean."
(9) At the foundation of this book, we are continually confronted with the coming of the Lord, the judgment of the wicked, and the reward of the righteous. These must have a prominent place in our thinking.
(10) There is a judgment that is final, and a day of wrath that is complete. We must prepare for both!%%detect_both%%
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).