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Breaking the Cycle - The Book of Revelation
Week 8, 2018
In Revelation, we see a cycle that is like Israel’s history in the Scriptures. After taking their land and rejoicing in the goodness and faithfulness of God, the next generation forgot Him. A slide into corruption and apostasy resulted, which brought about bondage and suffering. Eventually this would cause the people to repent, and God would save them from their bondage and restore them. Then they would quickly begin their slide into evil, bondage, and poverty until they repented again.
We see this same cycle in church history and in the church as a whole, including in virtually every church movement. We can even see it with individual Christians. We would be better off if we break this cycle, and the answer to how we do this is in the Book of Revelation, as well as sown throughout the entire Bible.
As we proceed with this study, this should be one of our main goals: to remain faithful and not just love God, but grow in our love for Him and one another continually without drifting. Loving God is the highest priority of our life, and this is something we must resolve to do. We must also stand for God’s truth and against those things that destroy people. We do this out of a sincere desire to save. As we discussed last week, God prefers mercy over judgment, and so must we. Even though there is a time when mercy will not be received and judgment is inevitable, this is grievous to the Lord and it should be to us as well.
Of course, we must also keep in mind that all of us have fallen short and have received grace and mercy. However, that is the dividing line. We acknowledged our sin and turned from it, and thankfully received His grace and mercy. However, those who have hardened themselves against the Lord and His mercy and grace have condemned themselves.
Revelation 16 describes the seven angels with the seven bowls of the final wrath of God poured out on the earth. As we read in verse one, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth’” (Revelation 16:1). This seven does not correspond with the unfolding seven timelines of the seven churches, trumpets, etc. However, all unfold after the mark of the beast.
In the previous chapter of Revelation we saw “the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven opened” (see Revelation 15:5). So this command is coming from the temple of God, but what is the difference between His temple on earth, the church, and His temple in heaven? Because of the principle that the things released in heaven are also released on the earth, and vice versa, it is assumed that the temple of God in heaven is also His church. It is composed of His faithful ones from the beginning. These have finished their course in this life, but they are still engaged by interceding for the events on the earth, as we see in this Revelation.
A primary purpose of the temple of the Lord is to be a “house of prayer for all nations.” In the last couple of decades, gatherings devoted to continuous prayer and intercession have grown from less than a dozen to over twenty thousand. As this growth continues, we can expect this “loud voice” from the temple to increase.
next week 9