Scripture Text: Revelation 8:1-2; Luke 1:19 Title: Gabriel
Question of the Day: What happens when an order comes down from the throne of God for a major event to happen here on earth?
When we are given a piece of information about an upcoming event here on earth, we often wonder what happens from the time when the order is given from God’s throne and the event on earth has takes place. Here is Revelation 8:1-2 we have a clue. The only information that we have, from our vantage point here on earth, is that there are orders are given by God that touch events here on earth. We don’t know about the orders that speak of events that take place throughout the rest of the universe in God’s heaven, but let’s look at this passage and learn a little from it.
Here are today’s texts: “And when the Lamb had opened the seventh clasp, there was silence in heaven for half an hour; and I saw the seven angels that stand continually before God who were given seven trumpets.” Then Luke 1:19 says, “And the angel answered Zachariah and said, ‘I am Gabriel, the one who stands in the presence of God. I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you some good news.’”
Gabriel is mentioned four times in Scripture (Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26), and each time he is relaying a message directly from the throne of God concerning an event that is about to happen here on earth. So was Gabriel one of the seven angels spoken of here? Quite possibly! The seven angels spoken of here is one of the seven angels whose job it is to stand before the throne of God and wait for a message from God about an upcoming event, and when the order is given, then they spring into action. The angels here are given instruction to begin a series of events on earth that unfold the judgment of God during the tribulation. To each of the seven angels was given a trumpet. The angels knew that this was going to be a time for action, and time when a message from God was to be given, and they were ready to spring into action.
This is quite instructive because it tells us that there are angels who are always standing by at the throne of God to relay and carry out instructions when they are handed down from the throne. When we see a major event happen on earth, we know that at some time before that event occurs that there was an order that came down from the throne of God, and the angelic hosts are a major part of carrying out that order here on earth. Just look at the things that happened when the seven angels passed down the order:
An angel in heaven took a large dipping object, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth, and immediately there were rolls of thunder, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake,
The next angel gave the order and there was hail and fire (mixed with blood), and when it was thrown to the earth one third of the trees and all the grass on earth were burned up.
The next angels gave the order (by blowing the trumpet), and when a star was thrown to the earth, the water became bitter and many people died from the polluted water.
Another angel passed down the order, and the atmosphere was polluted (probably from a super volcano), and semi-darkness covered the world.
A pause told everyone in heaven that the final three blasts would be much much worse.
The next angel gave the order and people were stung by giant scorpion like creatures from hell and tormented severely—longing for death to escape the pain, but not able to die.
The next angel sounded off and mounted troops amassed—and the buildup is on to the great Battle of Armageddon.
These things are astounding, and the information that we have as to what happens in heaven as events on earth unfold is sketchy, but the importance and role of the angels is outlined. One wonders when we see a major event happen on earth, what has happened just before that in heaven. We will find out someday fully, but for today we have just a little bit of good informative information. Could it be that Gabriel will give us an order directly from the throne of God?
Prayer: O God, it will be a delight in eternity to watch events that take place throughout the universe as another order comes down from Your throne. It is all hidden from us right now, but one day we will watch in amazement as we see order after order come down, and the ensuing action from those who job it is to carry out those orders. Does that give us an idea of our involvement as to what will happen one day in heaven? Will we carry out orders like Gabriel did? Amen!
David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.
Scripture Text: Revelation 7:13-17 Title: Martyrs
Question of the Day: If we are called by God to be persecuted, reviled, scorned, or even killed for our faith in God, what will eventually happen to us?
From the days of the Abel who was killed for his faith in God, to the prophets who were stoned, to James and Stephen, the first martyrs of the church, we find the stories those who have been persecuted and killed for their faith in God and because they are followers of Jesus Christ. In America, we hear of a few stories here and there of those who have suffered for their faith and for following Christ’s example in various parts of the world, but the experts tell us that there have been more martyrs for their faith in the last 100 years than throughout all of church history. We have been spared in many Christianized areas of the world, but suffering and scorning, and persecution against Christians is quite common in many other countries of the world . So we come to the question of the day: what will eventually happen to those who have given their life because of their faith in Jesus Christ, their Savior and Lord?
In today’s passage we have one of the last mentions in Scripture of the martyrs, and it is quite instructive: here’s what it says, “At that time one of the elders answered, asking me, ‘Who are these clothed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I answered him, ‘Sir, for sure you know!’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who came out of the great tribulation, and have had their robes washed and bleached white with the blood of the Lamb. That’s why there are here before God’s throne, and they will serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will surround them with His presence forever. They won’t be hungry anymore; nor thirsty; nor will the sun overcome them; nor will they have heat stroke. The Lamb, who is enthroned in the middle of the throne, will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water—and God will wipe away every tear from their eye!’”
Here is what we learn about the martyrs?
These are the many believers who are slaughtered during the tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white. How? In the blood of the LAMB. Blood that is slain is very precious in the sight of God: He decreed that His Son’s blood be shed for man’s sin, and these men and women have given their lives—shed their blood—because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
That is why martyrdom is the greatest tribute a believer can pay to God for saving his soul. We look on martyrdom as a tragedy—as something that didn’t need to happen, or as the worst possible thing that could happen to be a believer; but how does God see martyrdom? Martyrdom to God means that a Christian is on overcomer, one who has been faithful to Him to death, one who was willing to follow His example and complete His plan for their lives, and one whose love for Him was tested thoroughly and found to be genuine.
A martyr is one who has been given the privilege of being one of the “souls beneath the altar that cried out day and night for God to bring vengeance on those who hate Him and torture and kill His beloved saints.” This is all part of God’s great master plan. Martyrdom is not an accident that wasn’t supposed to happen; instead it is the perfect plan of God for His children, and “may they be faithful until death”, the ones to whom will be given a “crown of life” (See Revelation 2:10).
From this passage it is clear that many saints will be martyred during the great tribulation. It seems evident that these are Christians who are saved during the great tribulation, the time when the 144,000 fiery Jewish evangelists have gone throughout the world spreading the gospel and completing the Great Commission.
So what do we know about these martyrs, who they are, where they came from, and what is their final destination? They are given a special place—before the throne of God, and it is there that they serve Him day and night in His temple. He who sits on the throne, God the Father, the Almighty, will shelter them with His presence continually. (Is this not what King David said in the psalms when He referred to God as His shelter—especially in the time of trouble? His continual presence shelters His children.) They will never hunger or thirst again—which indicates that some of the martyrs were made to starve to death and/or die of thirst. Some died of heatstroke and scorching heat. But now the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will be their Shepherd—taking care of all of their needs: Guiding them to springs of living water. And the time will come when God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (See Revelation 21:4).
What a picture we have here during the most troubled time on earth for believers on earth as to how God will protect them with His presence, and He will answer their cries for vengeance. Since “vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the LORD, He will repay in such a way that these souls will be totally satisfied with the justice of God and that His righteous character has won over the wicked deeds of godless people. They can’t get their hands on God and “wring His neck” as they would like to, they instead turn on His children and take out their wrath on them—but God knows full well how to balance the books and satisfy the cries for vengeance of His children. We can rest fully in that!
Prayer: O God, our hearts cry out for vengeance against those who would oppress us, revile us, persecute us, scorn us, and, when they can, put us to death. But we must stand down and wait for You to bring about justice and righteous judgment. Our hearts burn for agony with those who have suffered for Your name’s sake, yet we know that this is only temporary, and that You will someday balance all the books and show us what true righteousness and justice truly looks like. Oh, yes, I just remembered that You are The Final Judge! Amen!
David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.
Scripture Text: Revelation 7:13-17 Title: Martyrdom/Presence?
Question of the Day: How does the presence of God comfort martyrs?
Martyrs are those Christians who, during this lifetime, have been faithful to the Lord “until death”; they are overcomers who have felt the brunt of the wickedness of man’s heart. Jesus promised us that we would suffer as He suffered with the words, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” This is a harsh reality that those of us in America can’t stomach. We have been so pampered and even greatly blessed by our God to live in a country where we can serve the Lord throughout life with little or no persecution, scoffing, reviling, or scorning, and we think that that lifestyle is “normal”. But it is not! We have been greatly blessed by God to the point where for years this country has been guided by Biblical principles and many laws are based on His eternal Word—but as our nation turns away from God, a hatred for Him will prevail. Many a Christian has known that someday the tables will be turned and we will suffer persecution, reviling, and even death for our Lord.
In today’s passage we visit a time yet in the future when the “Great Tribulation” will take place, and it is during this time that many tribulation believers will be martyred. In today’s text we find them in a throne room scene of praise and worship to God the Father (who is always referred to as sitting on His throne) and to the Lamb, when one of the 24 elders spoke up: it says, “Then one of the elders answered, asking me, ‘Who are these clothed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I answered him, ‘Sir, for sure you know!’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who came out of the great tribulation, and have had their robes washed and bleached white with the blood of the Lamb. That’s why there are here before God’s throne, and they will serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence forever. They won’t be hungry anymore; nor thirsty; nor will the sun overcome them; nor will they have heat stroke. The Lamb, who is enthroned in the middle of the throne, will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water—and God will wipe away every tear from their eye!’”
These saints are those who were saved during the tribulation and were martyred for their faith. One interesting question is this: since we believe that the rapture will take believers out of this world just before the tribulation starts, why then does God allow many tribulation saints to be martyred for their faith during the tribulation? We don’t know the answer to that, but the fact is that “a great number that could not be numbered from every tribe, and people group, and language, and nation” will be martyred, and here they are seen standing before God’s throne in worship. Is this when they will receive the “crown of life”mentioned in Revelation 2:11?
Here is what we do know about these saints who were martyred during the great tribulation:
It says their numbers are “innumerable”.
They join others around the throne praising God and worshipping both the Father and the Lamb.
They are clothed in white—their garments have been made white by the blood of the Lamb.
They have palm branches in their hands.
They cry out in unison, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”
It is their privilege to “serve God continually in His temple”! What a priceless privilege!
God will shelter them with His presence! Is this not what King David and others psalmists meant when they said, “The LORD is my Shield and my Protector”? Is it not His presence that continually protects His beloved children?
They won’t hunger anymore, nor thirst anymore; neither will the sun strike them or will they be scorched with heat. This indicates how many of them will die a horrible death!
The Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, guide them to springs of living water (by the way, does this indicate how many of them died of thirst?), and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
For many of us believers, we started out living the Christian life, and the presence of God was out there as a theory—something that we wondered if would ever come to us. But then God brought some tragedy or some difficulty into our lives that was tailor-made for us so that His presence would come out of the theoretical and into a day by day minute by minute reality. These saints before the throne were comforted by the presence of God—the same presence that got every believer down through history through the rough times of life—even it if meant martyrdom. Once we are saved, His presence is always with us—and will be with us forever! Our death here on earth will mean being in His presence forever!
Prayer: O God, You have taken Your presence from the theoretical to the intimate and personal. Your presence as manifested by Your Holy Spirit is the greatest gift a believer can have—whether here on earth or in heaven. Teach me to “draw near to You so that You can draw near to me”! I am confident from Your Word that I will live in Your presence forever! What a sheer delight! Amen!
David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping —a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.