Zechariah 8:1-23; Revelation 16:1-21;
Psalm 144:1-15; Proverbs 30:29-31
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Today, God tells Zechariah that He is passionate about Mt. Zion and about Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, God describes Himself as consumed with passion for Jerusalem. Have you ever had a piece of property that you loved and wanted to buy? It became your passion and you made plans to build on it and create a nice life for yourself there? We see this type of desire in God. He says that He is going to return to Mt. Zion and is going to live in Jerusalem. You may say to yourself, "He sure did pick a screwed up city to live in." Well, God promises that He is going to make it a Faithful City. He projects that when He is living there and running things, old men and women will sit in the city square. Young kids will play in the streets. It is a picture of safety and contentment.
This is designed to encourage the small remnant of the Jews, who have faced major hardships in trying to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple after the return from captivity. God promises these people that He is going to rescue His people from the east and west, where they have been scattered. He is going to bring them home.
With this in mind, they are to take heart and finish the task at hand! God assures this remnant that their work in Jerusalem is the hand of God starting to plant seeds of peace and prosperity that will be reaped in the future. Judah and Israel had become symbols of what it means to be cursed among the nations, but God tells these people that in a future day, Judah and Israel will be examples to the world of what it is to be blessed. Israel is going to be a blessing to the earth. With this truth, the remnant should rebuild and be glad.
God points out that He didn't change His mind when He decided to punish the Israelites and send them into captivity for their disobedience, and He is not going to change His mind to make Israel a blessing to the whole world and gather her back to the land in the future. He asks that they treat each other fairly, showing love to one another, and to not swear to false gods.
Another message given to Zechariah about the millennial kingdom of Christ on earth is that people from every nation will come to Jerusalem to worship in that day. They will seek blessings from the Lord, who is ruling from this city. Jews will be the priests at that time. People will clutch at their robes to be near to Jesus. People will walk with them and talk with them about God. The Jews will teach the world about God at that time.
What do you think of these promises to the nation of Israel? Do you think these truths sustain them as they endure the indignation of God during the times of the Gentiles?
Jesus is directing the angels from the Temple to pour out the bowls of God's wrath upon the earth during the last part of the Great Tribulation period on earth. Do you find it ironic that he is directing this from the Temple, which contains the Ark of God where the mercy seat is located? The mercy seat is not available any longer to the inhabitants of the earth. That part of the story is done. Mercy was extended and rejected. Now is the day of God's wrath against those who have rejected His mercy.
The First Bowl
The first bowl is poured and malignant sores break out on the inhabitants of the earth, who have received the mark of the beast and have worshiped his talking statue. This corresponds to the plague of boils in Exodus 9.
The Second Bowl
The second bowl is poured forth and the sea becomes blood and everything in it dies. This corresponds with the Nile River becoming blood in Exodus 7. The second trumpet blast had caused one third of the sea waters to become blood, but now they all do. This is the death that results from sin. Death is brought to the earth through this judgment.
The Third Bowl
This is a continuation of the ruining of the water supply on earth. When this bowl is poured out the fresh water on earth is ruined. This leaves mankind in complete devastation. No drinking water is available at this point. Water is the gift of life for living beings. This signals the end of life for the wicked.
The Fourth Bowl
When God decided to judge the wickedness on the earth in the book of Genesis He did it with water. The Flood destroyed all living things, except Noah and his family. Now at the end of God's Story, mankind and his rebellion have brought judgment upon the earth again. This time, God is going to destroy the earth by fire. There will be supernatural and excessive heat from the sun that scorches the earth. This could be from God adjusting the atmosphere or moving the earth just a tad closer to the sun. Either event would cause this scorching. It could also be from nuclear war. Many other parts of Scripture confirm this prophecy including Luke 21:25, Deut. 32:24, Isaiah 42:25, Mal. 4:1 and Matt. 24:22. Notice that in the midst of this judgment the people on earth curse God, rather than turning to Him for deliverance.
The Fifth Bowl
It is interesting that while the earth is burning with heat from being so closer to the sun or from nuclear war, the sun itself is not giving off the same light. This is similar to the plague in Egypt in Exodus chapter 10 when the Egyptians were plunged into darkness. We see prophecies of this in Isaiah 60:2, Joel 2:1-2, 31, and Mark 13:24. We see great suffering here as people are in pain and gnawing their tongues in thirst. People still do not turn to God. Pride is the sin that destroys mankind.
The Sixth Bowl
In this judgment, the great Euphrates River, which was first introduced to us at the birth of civilization in the Garden of Eden, is dried up at the death of civilization during God's judgment. This drying of the Euphrates River is instrumental in joining the East to the West and bringing the nations into Israel to fight the final war on the earth.
Following the other pattern from the seven seals and seven trumpets, we have an interlude to set up the scene before the final bowl of God's wrath is poured upon the earth. Here we see that the unholy trinity of Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet (second beast from the land) send forth three evil spirits that cause and inspire the rulers of the world to gather for battle against the Lord and the nation of Israel.
Jesus explains that to the unbelieving world he comes as a thief in the night. They will be surprised, but the believers will have been warned and will be dressed with robes of righteousness. These are the Tribulation saints, who have survived to this point through God's supernatural protection.
The world rulers assemble in the valleys of Armageddon to wage war against God.
The Seventh Bowl
Seven is the number of completion in the Bible. God's wrath upon rebellious mankind is coming to an end. As this final bowl is poured out, a mighty shout comes from the throne in the Temple in heaven. It is Jesus Christ who shouts, "It is finished!" We have heard him say this once before. He said it on the cross as he yielded up his Spirit in death and conquered sin. This was a blow to Satan. Now, we see that Jesus is going to conquer the earth and defeat Satan on this planet. The world system that Satan developed has wrought great havoc upon the earth. Jesus is coming to save the planet. There is thunder and lightning. A great earthquake that splits Babylon into three sections and destroys all of the cities of the earth occurs. This is the cup of God's wrath that we have read about in other prophecies. Every island disappears. All mountains are leveled and a terrible hailstorm with hailstones weighing seventy-five pounds destroys living plants, animals, and people. This ends the Great Tribulation period. God's indignation is done.
Again, the Church is not part of this punishment on earth. The Church witnesses God's wrath from heaven.
Read this psalm picturing the Tribulation saints battling through this time.
No monarch is as stately as the Lord.
What are you seeing as you read?
Blessings to you and Merry Christmas,