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Monday: The Outpouring of the Last Plagues — 38 Comments

  1. I am still on my journey to understand this passage. No, I have not had an epiphany overnight. Answers to tough issues are not solved in an hour or two like we see in TV programs. To those of you who have posted thoughts and ideas on this issue, Thank You. Your thoughts have not gone unnoticed but are perturbating my spiritual thoughts.

    This morning, I reminded myself that CS Lewis had written a challenging little book, "Reflections on the Psalms" where he discusses judgment, the cursings, and death; uncomfortable recurring themes in the Psalms. I recall that he had some interesting suggestions that challenged me when I read it 40 years ago. I still have the book and intend to read its yellowing pages in the next couple of days. We don't have all the answers but are fellow travelers on a journey of spiritual growth. Hopefully, by sharing we will strengthen one another.

    Watch this space!

    • Three angels have proclaimed their messages to all the world (Rev 14:6-12), every person on the planet has chosen to receive the seal of God or the mark of the beast (Rev 14:14-19) and the door of probation has closed (Rev 15:5-8; 22:11). As soon as the door of probation is closed, the plagues are poured out and the great tribulation begins. (Rev 16-18).

      It happened the same at the time of Noah.

      Sin is no joke. It caused Christ's death.

  2. How to produce your own hell on earth.

    Give yourself up to the spirit of Satan.

    Yield to the pressure to receive the mark of the beast and the plague of grievous sores falls on you. That is get the marks you were looking for but this time in your whole body.

    Shed the blood of saints or just enjoy the news of their death and you will be given blood to drink.

    Worship on a day dedicated to the worship of the sun and the power Will be given to the sun to scorch you. That is the sun Will be brought nearer for you to worship it better.

    Choose darkness and it Will be given in full where you Will gnaw your tongue in pain and guess what the sores Will be still there.

    Before that happens you can change and produce your own heaven on earth.

    You shall not be afraid of the plagues ps 91:5-10.

    God Will give you water Isaiah 41:17-18

    God is love 1 John 4:8.

    By the way we react to the problems of our daily lives NOW we are choosing our place during the time of the plagues.

    • Also, I could just live a self-indulgent life focussing on what I can get out of it (materially or otherwise) and being indifferent to the needs of those around me. That would unite me with/in the spirit of Satan just the same.

  3. Thanks to Maurice i recalled an old quote “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

    Isn't God's wrath simply the fact that he gives you up? Romans 1:26-28

    How else can we reconcile a God who caused the earth to flood and folks to gnaw their tongues in agony with a God of love?

    In the end we all have free will. If we choose sin then we must suffer the consequences. God cries for us, but he no longer can protect us from Satan.

  4. I am not sure if this little illustration helps at all but I want to add it to the conversation in an effort to understand the idea of judgment from a different perspective. (I think I have used this illustration before but it is useful in the current context.)

    When I was about 3 years old my parents and I lived on my maternal grandfather's farm, and of course I "helped" around the farm, following Grandad, and mimicking him. One day we were rounding up the sheep with the help of a dog called Towser. I stood beside Grandad and when he gave the dog orders, I too waved my hand and shouted at Towser to "Get away back!" Grandad thought I was interfering and asked me to stop, but being the determined three-year old that I was, I kept going. Suddenly, Towser knocked me to the ground and bit me on the head. I was not seriously injured but I still have the scars there if anyone wants to check my story. My grandfather pulled the dog off me and took me home where mum immediately bathed the bite and settled me down. Grandad took the gun down off the rack and took the dog down to the bottom of the garden and shot it dead. I was mortified because I thought that my actions had led to the death of Towser. In fact, it was not until many years later, that I realized that my Grandfather had done the right thing in destroying the dog.

    The issue at stake here is not the judgment, but rather my perception of the judgment versus that of my grandfather. I guess that the adults in my family tried to explain it to me at the time but my mind was simply not ready for what they were trying to tell me.

    When we look at the execution of God's judgment maybe we have something like the child-adult gap in our understanding. I know it does not solve all the issues we are discussing but I think it is worth adding that to our mix of ideas that we are wrestling with.

    • I can understand your grandpa killing the dog. But is it possible that the dog was just not guilty? Yes, it chose to attack you, and this could have being fatal, but the dog was probably doing what it was trainned to do so. It was helping in your grandpa's orders! And because it was a dog, it did not judge if you were a sheep or a baby! Perhaps that's why you may have difficulty in dealing with this. God is different than your grandpa and people are different than your dog.
      But I could understand what you meant!
      To me, the judgment part is not so hard to understand, once it has to do with choice! And we have to remind ourselves everyday of this. (Perhaps, we can seal ourselves a little in every choice we make). And thank God that every time we sinned, if we are not simply exterminated by God, we have the chance to recognize Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness! While we have this chance open, let us practice, not the sin part but the free pardon!
      To me, the difficult part of this Bible super important study is to communicate this interpretations with dear friends that belong to other religions! Good experience on that could help me a lot! Thank you again, Maurice, for your insights! Please do not stop sharing them!

      • Hi JC, I think you are reading more into this than I had intended. I was simply trying to point out that our view of justice can be different depending on experience and maturity.

    • Can God be a loving father if he allows his children to be bullied by the "wicked" continuously? God is not willing that any should perish but that all repent! Free Will in a wicked world means that all will not repent so judgment must come at some point!

      • God's ways are higher than our ways. He knows what He is doing. We don't need to blame God for our sufferings because of Satan's manipulations. God proved His love to us when He suffered His own Son to die for our sins. WE just need to trust Him and be faithful no matter what God allows us to experience. Whatever trials and difficulties God allows us to experience is nothing compared to the prize He has in store for us if we are faithful to the very end so let's not blame God for Satan's actions. Like I said, He knows exactly what He is doing and it's all for the good off all who choose to follow Him...

    • Maurice,
      Wow...considering that I am a finite, flawed mortal trying to understand the words/writings of another finite, flawed human who is trying to describe in his finite understanding and language the things he saw or heard from our infinite God...then it seems even more amazing and magnificent that God has reached through time and oppressive darkness to offer salvation to our dying race.
      It is understandable that the more we discover what is true about God, that our desires will become to be like Jesus..."by be holding we become changed".
      Thanks for the reminder of "the gap", which also reminds us of our hope.

  5. I would like to add a hypothetical question to this conversation and invite responses. Rest assured I will not be counter-arguing against your responses. I would just like to gauge the tide of opinion.

    HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION: If you arrived at the end of the 'day of judgment' only to discover that it was not God that destroyed people, but rather the full unrestrained consequences of their sin that caused them to self-destruct in an instant:

    * how would you feel about that, or
    * what would be your response?

    • Phil and Maurice; I really appreciate both your comments…In response to you Phil I don’t think that will change my attitude about GOD at all, in fact I believe that’s pretty close to the truth…Royce

    • Phil, I suspect that most of us don't see the issues in such a binary fashion.

      God made clear that the natural consequence/wages of sin is death. It's something the sinner chooses, not God. And if that weren't enough, it follows from the fact that God is not only Author but also Sustainer of all life, that when sinners get the separation from God that they want, they will die.

      However, Revelation seems to indicate that God doesn't intend to remain passive while sinner meet their "natural" end. It tells us that God has a plan for the endtime scenario that will satisfy the sense of justice He built into His created beings.

      However the exact details play out, we can be assured that it is in harmony with God's character of love - whether or not we completely understand it now.

    • Roger that Phil!!
      Besides, my mom told me that's how God's reality works.
      This seems like a movement towards identifying truth by using God's character as the foundation of understanding God's word.

      • Gary, isn't it God's Word that tells us of His character?
        But I think I know what you mean. We need to focus on the clearest representation of God's character that the Bible portrays, and that is the life, teachings and death of Jesus Christ. And since Christ declared Himself to be the I AM of the Old Testament, then anything we read in the Bible will harmonize with His character.

        It has occurred to me, however, that we may err in defining love or His character in a more limited way than the Bible does.

    • Response: Of course! It makes so much sense!

      Is it possible that many already have this image of God? Might this image be the final message of salvation, a culmination of five centuries of reformation? According to comments made by participants at ssnet.com, it would seem that "God is love" is alot more than previously thought.

    • First of all, God cannot allow SIN to exist forever and ever. He needs to restore PEACE in the universe by destroying the source of evil and all who chooses to follow him. However, God is a loving God and He has given all created beings a choice. Loving obedience for eternal life or to continue in sin which will end in eternal death. When we choose the later, it's like choosing to die eternally. Who's to blame? God or the sinner? I think we all know the answer...

    • Inge,I think there may be some middle ground here. God doesn't passively let it drag out forever to its natural end, but the way He handles it is to orchestrate situations to polarize and clearly contrast the situation and force choices, decisions and actions. Think of Pharaoh. The plagues had two possible outcomes, a change of heart or a hardening of heart, but they left no middle ground. Even then, Pharaoh was not 'zapped' by God, but rather stubbornly chased his victims into the sea, where he drowned.

      Given that the fact that any of us has life (for all have sinned) is because of God's deliberate choice to sustain it, even 'withdrawing' would not be passive. But given the whole reason for the Great Controversy, He will do more than that. He will reveal the true nature of sin and then eliminate it.

  6. So finally God is actually obligated to honor/glorify Satan or Sin itself for ridding the Universe of sin. Since Satan is the most powerful of sinners and you consider Sin more powerful than Satan (as if sin created itself, God didn’t ), it would be those two left to contest each other after getting rid of all others. The victor here is left to commit suicide. That would be a great movie...

  7. So is it right to say that the second advent cannot be today or tomorrow given that the 7 last plagues must be poured out before this event happens and of course the 7 plagues will not be poured out on earth in a single day??
    Someone help.

    • For some it could be today or tomorrow for when we die, the 2nd advent is the next second. It's not as important to know when it might be as it is to be ready for it at any minute.

  8. I think that sometimes we tend to forget that there is a whole Universe, over a billion galaxies,
    involved in this great controversy. Angels and unfallen beings can not read the hearts of men. During the Investigative Judgement God opens the books to allow all of those beings to examine the lives of those saved and lost. The saved because they are about enter from a sin filled world into a a Universe free of sin. The lost so that they can see that God did everything in His power to save them

    God's government operates with complete transparency that is based in pure Love.

    For me the the 7 last plagues are a demonstration to the Universe of the hardness of the lost hearts in the closing of the Investigative Judgement.

    We must never forget that God's wrath, Love and Mercy can not be separated. Everything that He does is driven by His Mercy and Love for all of His creation.

  9. We have been interpreting almost everything in Revelation as symbolic, so my question is why do we believe the first 4/5 are literal based on exegesis?
    I understand that the Great Controversy by EG White says they are literal, is there any other reason?

    • That is an excellent question, Shirley. I will take shot at it. When compared to the trumpets what one notices is that the first four plagues aren't written in a symbolic way. For example, in the plagues you have don't hurt the "grass," or weird scorpion like animals, etc. We don't have the weird scorpion like creatures in real life, so that is symbolic like we don't have seven headed dragons. The grass being symbolic and so forth. Written in language that sounds as if a natural occurrence could be taking place it appears it is meant to be taken as literal.

      As to the last three those have symbolic language: in five you have darkness on the seat of the beast. Where is the seat? for example, and how does darkness on the seat cause people to writhe in pain, etc. Then you have the symbolic false trinity and unclean spirits "like" frogs, suggesting symbolism. Babylon splitting into three parts and so forth.

      Maybe that helps. It is how I sort them out, anyway.

      • Kevin, thank you it does in one way but not in another.
        Yes the Egypt plagues were literal.
        However these bowl plagues also parallel the first four trumpets and I don't remember any commentators saying they were literal?

        • Good point on the parallel, Shirley. There is some parallel, but for example, if established, and I think it is, that the trumpets were partial judgments contemporary with the seals then we know that it is symbolic as there were no literal events that took place in history supporting these descriptions. It's the descriptions that suggest symbolism rather than literalism in the trumpets.

          In the first four plagues there seems to me that there is the lack of symbolic description. The plague hits the earth, sore break out on the earth dwellers, and so forth. Quite different from thirds of given items being burned up, or turned off (darkened). In contrast to the trumpets where there is a great burning mountain affecting the seas and a star affecting the other waters upon earth, and only in thirds. No such phenomena have occurred in the past during the parallel history with the seals. The thirds seems to connect to Satan (third of the stars, and Babylon splits into thirds at the last plague). Again, a symbolic representation.

          I am not saying it is the final word, but that is how I view them as of my understanding to this point. I am open to possible symbolism in the plagues, all of them.

  10. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says''For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.'' I'm thinking that we will never understand it all in this life. So we know we have to trust God and be faithful. So let's keep studying, keep the faith and in time we will understand it all.

  11. How can we maintain so close a walk with the Lord that, if tragedy strikes, we know enough of God’s love to trust Him even amid suffering?

    Matthew 5:44-45 King James Version , reads;

    44/ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45 / That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

    I know we all have some acquaintance with suffering, the greatest so far to come into purview of this brother, is a brokenness I could never have imagined, the death of my eldest son; two days after my 55 birthday, he was 32 years of age. I knew him intimately, as any earthly father could. ( So different then the death of my dearest grandfather when I was 14 yrs old. And so different then mom's death, 3 months after the boy (Jeremy), then 6 months later; my favorite older brother and best friend sibling died too.)

    Amid such seemingly tragic circumstance, as my elderly dad and I live together, we immediately came under attack by agents of the accuser; my oldest brother and younger sister... wow!

    It is amazing to me the strength God provides to us , that I know is not my own! For if I had to stand alone in my own weakness, I'd be dead.

    Jesus has provided a balm of healing, inside the midst of the grief/life, I now and for the rest of my days will abide in. I know He has my back and has suffered much much more then I could ever imagine; for me! I feel so very humbled by His presence as He succours and mingles His grief with mine. I love Jesus so very much, and at times question why ... God saved me so many times, twice, that is without any doubt in my mind! But why not my boy, Jeremiah? It has been 1 year and five months since his death, but seems as fresh as the snow that still clings to the yard surrounding our house.

    When Jesus suffered and died on the cross. He had to experience the "second death" for us. And as I read the account, I've realized he was full of forgiveness, not only for those that did the deed, but also to the Father, which leaves me perplexed, for in doing so Jesus forgave himself; as he gave himself for the world he created! Amazing.

    My other son Luke (Jeremiah's brother), moved back from Hawaii to be near myself and his mother.
    Last week , after much bible study (KJV) over the past year, of his own volition. I got to witness his conversion experience, right before my eyes!

    Forgiveness is our propagation. As we humbly accept it from the Father, via His gift of sacrifice ... should we not reciprocate. Offering forgiveness to our neighbors, begs the question, "who is my neighbor." Seems Elohim is our primary neighbor. So we forgive as we are forgiven. As I seek Gods face, in the shadow of my first borns seemingly unnecessary death; 17 months ago. I was lead to behold... I must forgive God, especially in the depths of this shadow. As we know the Spirit of God dwells in us, we be, His surrendered temple. (1Corinthians 3:16)
    Therefore as I have and perpetually forgive God in the shadow of these "light affliction." (2 Corinthians 4:17) Which seems to paradoxically guard His Spirit in me , for in forgiving Elohim, I truly forgive the neighbor in me; I forgive "me" for not saving my first born son -Jeremiah. Sleep well son. Maranatha!

    • Chris, thank you for sharing this intimate account of a painful part of your life. It brought me to tears ...

      I believe that God Himself provides the strength for us to deal with the suffering through which He allows us to pass. Emilio Knechtle might have preached before your time, but I remember most distinctly the point of one sermon he preached - that there is no growth without suffering. Looking back on my own life, I can see that the periods of greatest pain have also been the times of greatest growth.

      As we face the end time, we will need an intimate relationship with Christ to be able to stand in the time of trouble, when the plagues are "poured out." We will need an anchor for our souls when everything around us seems to collapse. May you continue to be anchored in Him and find your rest in Him.

      • I remember Emilio Knechtle. Been a long time since I heard his name. Indeed, the Word shares with us that our growth isn't without discomfort along the way. I concur that in my life the painful trials have been the most beneficial in my life.

        • Once you met and heard Emilio, he was kind of hard to forget wasn't he? Besides the "there is no growth without suffering" (don't remember the title) sermon and his personal story, I remember what the local pastors in our conference called the "evening to evening sermon" when he preached it at camp meeting. 😉 Do you recognize it?
          I gained some new biblical insights from him and his Pastor Sohlman. They've stuck with me to this day.

    • I was also amazed by your story. May God continue to give us all the necessary strenght to get through life's challenge reality! Please share more comments here!

    • Thank you for sharing this personal and deeply intimate story of hurt in your experience. I thank God for his compassions that have carried you through! It gives me courage. Prayers.

  12. What jumps out at me in these passages is the affirmation of the heavenly hosts that what is happening through God's direction to the angels holding the bowl plumages. They are not finding any fault with God in the administration of these "punishments." They are just and those receiving them justly deserve them. I have to fall back on this being God's strange act, as well as knowing that this is His holy nature that is involved in all of it.


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