Summary: In the midst of your tribulation, see seven angels and an end to your pain; see a sea of glass and the peace that is ours even in the pain; and see a sanctuary and God's punishment for sin.
Three years ago (2012), with tsunamis, earthquakes and financial concerns dominating the headlines, the National Geographic Channel partnered with Kelton Research to conduct a survey gauging what Americans thought about a potential “Doomsday” scenario. They found that…
Nearly three out of every four people (71%) envision a major disaster in their lifetime as an act of God, not man.
More than 62 percent of Americans think the world will experience a major catastrophe in less than 20 years.
And nearly half (49%) of Americans would forgo new high-end appliances in a new home if it had a safe room or bomb shelter instead. (Meghan Gleason, Nat Geo TV Blogs, "The Results Are In: Is It the End of the World as We Know It? Survey Says!", February 7, 2012; http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/07/the-results-are-in-is-it-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-survey-says)
A lot of people are running scared these days, expecting imminent disaster of some kind. But we who know Jesus don’t have to be afraid like the rest of the world. We don’t have to fret no matter how bad the news gets.
All we need is the right perspective, and that’s what the book of Revelation is all about. It helps us see our tribulations on this earth from a heavenly perspective by looking at THE Great Tribulation to come.
Revelation tells us about the reign of a coming world tyrant and the fires of hell (Revelation 13 & 14). Revelation describes God’s judgment which will be unleashed on this earth, the last seven of which are described as “bowls of wrath” (Revelation 16). And yet, in the middle of it all, Revelation invites us to look at our trials from heaven’s perspective. See the future from God’s standpoint. Understand world events from a divine point of view. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 15, Revelation 15, where we get that divine point of view.
Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. (ESV)
In the midst of tribulation, we are invited to…
SEE SEVEN ANGELS AND THE END OF PAIN.
See seven heavenly beings and the end of God’s wrath.
You see, by this time in the book of Revelation, we are coming to the end of the Tribulation Judgments. There were seven seal judgments in chapter 6. There were seven trumpet judgments in chapter 8 & 9. And now, we come to the last seven judgments of the tribulation – Seven angels will pour out their seven plagues on the earth in the next chapter.
They are terrible plagues, but with them God’s wrath will be spent. God’s anger will be finished, and God’s blessing will finally come as Jesus returns to this earth to reign for a thousand years.
I remind you: Believers today will not go through these Tribulation judgments. We who have trusted Christ will be taken out of this world before God judges it (1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11). But after we are taken out of this world, some will trust Christ as their Savior. They will go through the Tribulation and experience its horrors. And for them, this truth will be of great comfort: God’s anger will not last forever. His judgments will come to an end.
In other words, the pain is only temporary. The praise will last forever! That’s the perspective of heaven, not only for the Tribulation saints, but for us, as well, who go through lesser tribulations in this life.
Psalm 30:5 puts it this way: His anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, a Japanese gymnast, Shun Fujimoto, broke his right knee during the floor exercises. Most expected him to withdraw from the competition, so you can imagine their surprise when they saw him the next day competing on the rings.
He was performing well, but everyone wondered how he would handle the dismount. Fujimoto came to the end of his routine, and without hesitation flew off the rings with a twisting, triple somersault. There was a moment of intense quiet as he landed hard on his wounded knee. Then the audience gave him a thundering applause, as he stood his ground.
Later, reporters asked him about that moment, and he replied, “The pain shot through me like a knife. It brought tears to my eyes. But now I have a gold medal and the pain is gone.” (Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, Discovery House, 1992, p.152)
That’s the way it is for every believer in Jesus Christ. The pain is only temporary; the praise will last forever. So in the midst of your tribulations, in the midst of your sorrow and pain, get heaven’s perspective on things. See seven angels, and see the end of pain. Then…