GNB 2.119

May 23, 2023


Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8.5)


From one series of seven, we move to another. This time we are given a view of seven angels who are tasked with the harsh judgment from Heaven. Beginning with verse five of chapter eight and continuing on to verse nineteen of chapter eleven, the consequence of failing to believe and trust in God is revealed. We find the same/similar wording at the beginning and at the end of this section. Those words actually help us to see the intentionality which is meant for the Church as the presence of God on earth. No, I am not talking about the “destruction of one-third of all creation” which comes at the direction of the six angels. We must keep in mind that it is the power of God who renders life from those who are not truly alive. Just as we are called to live as Christ lives in us, judgment is executed through the declaration of the six of seven angels on those who are dead and refuse to live. Their facade is vacated and the truth of who they have chosen to be is revealed. Those who survive this first series of justice are still not convinced that believing in the mercy of God is of any value. They have sold out to wickedness and are dead to the core. Yet, there must be some hope of redemption because God spares two-thirds of all creation.

So, what is the “image” of the Church I am alluding to? If we will remember from the Creation story presented in Genesis, chapter 1, God declared in His fullness of being, “Let us bring humanity into being. Let us make them in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. And God did this fashioning and forming them as He imagined them to be as man and woman, male and female.” You see, from the beginning to the end, humanity was created with a vision, mission and purpose. It wasn’t just some of humanity based on race, creed, religion, ideology, philosophy, false genderisms, economy and geography. That vision, mission and purpose was for all humanity and reflected the inwardness and outwardness of God. It was fueled by a power to build up and to tear down as well as to plant and prosper. The caveat was to, in all things, maintain the image of God. In today’s vernacular (although I fear it is a word that is grossly misinterpreted and therefore wrongly applied) that caveat would be the sense of “justice.” In today’s culture and climate, justice is seen as vindictive, vengeful and fueled by the hope of entitled reparation. There is no wonder, God declared “Vengeance is mine and mine alone.” (Deuteronomy 32.35 and Romans 12.17-19) Only in the measure of greatest wisdom, ultimate authority and purest reflection can true “vengeance” be enacted. Who among us can do such a thing and work it together for good? God’s vengeance is pure justice. It does not serve His benefit nor does it advance His welfare. Rather, it brings balance back into the created world at His command. I read a commentary today by Vance Havner which said, “Satan is not fighting churches; he is joining them. He does more harm by sowing tares than by pulling wheat. He does more by imitation than by outright opposition.” I have long identified the problem as a “sin-festation.” And perhaps we could “blame” God for the privilege afforded to us called freewill. If there was no freewill there would be no “mess” to clean up and no “trouble” to resolve. The problem is that there can never be a place where “conflict,” the opposing of two forces, will not exist. Not even by the end of the Book of Revelation is it intimated that all “conflict” ceases. What is promoted is that the balance is restored between “good and evil,” “right and wrong,” “selflessness and selfishness” and dark and light. What God accomplishes is restoring order to the chaos. But, He cannot do it without that “when push comes to shove.” So, the “power of a great storm and a terrible earthquake” exist in the Temple of God in Heaven where God sits on His throne of righteousness, true justice. It is also what exists on earth as the angel hurls the censer filled with “fire from the altar.” The trembling on earth is no different than the trembling in Heaven except for one truth. That truth is the “fear and trembling” in Heaven is “of the Lord” with all respect, glory and honor which the citizens of Heaven can offer as one people and one nation. The “fear and trembling” on earth is nothing more or less than rebellion of one person, one community, one nation against another for their own survival. So, we see the reign of terror which Satan sought to bring to Heaven get “thrown down” to earth. Now, fire will fight fire. It is a spiritual battle and can only be understood in spiritual terms. To limit it and confine its understanding to worldly images and concepts pales in comparision to the simple truth which is and always has been this: those who refuse God’s offer of love, mercy and forgiveness witnessed by becoming compassionate, obedient and faithful have determined their own sentence of “living by the sword and dying by it.” The corollary truth is as simple: those who humble themselves before God and call upon His name with repentance and true introspection seeking His way of life as their own will be saved from the dire consequences of Satan’s “sin-festation.” The fire of God’s word will purify and bring to life that which seemed lost and forgotten, ignored and forsaken, weak and incapable.

Mighty ones of God, these chapters reveal the value and necessity of “Fear the Lord, for such fear is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1.7) If we are to endure the times which are revealed in the Book of Revelation and will be far worse than these times in which we live today, then we must be wise. We must be those who invest our heart, mind, body and soul into the fullness of God and trust in Him only and always. The earth will tremble. The skies will rumble. The heavens will flash. The rain of God’s justice will fall on everyone to reveal those who fear the Lord and those who do not. As for me and my house, “We will choose the Lord!”


You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: