Refine & Forge: Crises in the Book of Revelation

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Recently, we have reported on several urgent situations such as forest fires in the hills around Jerusalem near our base, and a surge in COVID 19 cases which continues to put pressure on Israeli citizens. 

On the world-wide scene, the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban has created a crisis – emboldening terrorist extremists all over the Middle East and beyond. Chaos and fear are swirling throughout the region. Believers are in real danger of persecution and in need of much prayer.

“The first angel sounded: hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown to the earth. A third of the trees were burned up…”  Revelation 8:7)

Obviously, we haven’t reached the level of disasters as noted even in the first trumpet. However, we are moving in that direction. World disasters will become increasingly more intense, and war will kill one third of the world population.

were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was 200,000,000. I heard the number.” (Revelation 9:15-16)

A third of mankind would be more than two billion people. An army of two hundred million will attack. Numbers for an army that size and the numbers killed of that size could potentially be fulfilled by an Islamic Jihad war against India-China-South East Asia. (Interestingly, the passage speaks of the origin of the army in the Euphrates area – verse 14.)

I will protect you from the hour of trial which will come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

This verse does not mean that God will remove us from the planet, but that He will protect us during trials and tribulations. There is a specific time coming of worldwide disaster. The word “hour” does not mean 60 minutes. I believe it does mean that the time will be relatively short, and it will be controlled and limited. Worldwide disaster is coming; it will be limited in time; God will protect us.

God’s Hidden Purposes

God calls crises “testing.” Despite the hardship and suffering, there will be a hidden purpose of God. There is one purpose toward “non-believers” and another for “believers.” Although most unbelievers will not respond correctly, God’s purpose is to convince them to repent of wickedness.

the rest of mankind did not repent …” (Revelation 9:20)

they did not repent …” (Revelation 9:21)

they did not repent …” (Revelation 16:9)

God’s purpose for the faithful believers is to refine them and forge them for their special destiny.

“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation; and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation – 5:9-10)

The scroll of God contains His plan. The seals mean that this plan is hidden to most people. Yeshua, who opens the seals, brings God’s plan to pass. He reveals that plan to those who serve Him. This verse explains several key elements:

God has a plan. Things are not “going out of control.” God’s plan is not a spontaneous reaction to circumstances, but one that is prepared beforehand. The plan is so concrete that it is written down.

Yeshua is the victor. He opens the seals. He conquers sin and Satan; death and hell. He is the leader of the kingdom. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (verse 5).

We have a destiny. God is using the end times difficulties to purify and strengthen the heart of the righteous to be a special people, as priests and kings (spiritual and government leaders).

We will reign with Him. Our destiny is to rule in the world-to-come, together with Yeshua. It is difficult now, but it will be worth it in the end. 

Our destiny as a special chosen people to rule in the world-to-come, together with Yeshua is repeated:

They lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)

We will face times of increasing tribulation. Those tribulations are a judgment against the world; a purification of the Church; a preparation of a special people for God; and a warning for people of every nation to repent. The tribulations of the end times culminate in a massive world war in which all the nations attack Israel (Zechariah 14). At that time Yeshua will return as the head of the Church, the king of Israel, and the commander of Heaven’s army. 

At that time the dead will be raised; the devil will be incarcerated; and the kingdom of God set up on earth for a thousand years, with its capital in Jerusalem. After that there will come an even better world, the New Creation and New Jerusalem. 

“The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them… God will wipe away every tear… There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

There will be a perfect world for eternity. The Garden of Eden will be restored. There will be no more pain or evil. Tribulation is temporary; while paradise is permanent. Let’s be strong in our faith and endure to end.

 

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