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The Christian Counter

 

The Seventh Trumpet

 

On the 1,265th day of the Great Tribulation (a Sunday?), I believe God will gather up all of the 144,000 and take them to Heaven. The 144,000 will be presented to Jesus as the first fruits of a coming harvest, a numberless multitude of people who chose Jesus as Lord and Master during the Great Tribulation. Once the 144,000 are safely gathered around the throne, the seventh trumpet will sound in Heaven.

 

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: [The intercession of Jesus on behalf of individuals is completed. His work as High Priest as ended. The kingdom of God is complete. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.] “The world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he [Christ, will overthrow Lucifer and destroy sin and all who love it.] Will reign for ever and ever.’ (Revelation 11:15, insertions mine)

 

“And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God saying: ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have [redeemed everyone who loves truth] taken your great power and have begun to reign [over the Earth].” (Revelation 11:16-17, insertions mine) This trumpet marks the beginning of seventy days of destruction when Lucifer’s masquerade, his theocracy, and his followers are destroyed. Ultimately, Earth’s civilization itself is destroyed.

 

“The nations were angry [at Lucifer’s unbearable demands]; and [the time for] your [totally destructive-seven bowls of] wrath has come. The time has come for judging [avenging] the dead [who stood firmly for the testimony of Jesus and the Word of God. The time has come to extract restitution from those who hurt them], and for rewarding your servants the prophets [the 144,000] and your saints and [all] those who reverence your name, both small and great –and [the time has come] for destroying those who destroy the earth [Lucifer and his demons]. (Revelation 11:18, insertions mine)

 

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened [to the view of everyone on Earth so that everyone could actually see God’s covenant], and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant [which contains the Ten commandments]. And there came flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great [destructive] hailstorm.” (Revelation 11:19, insertions mine)

 

End of Salvation

 

The seventh trumpet is the third and final curse. This trumpet marks the end of mercy and the commencement of the seven last plagues. The seventh trumpet is a global notification that God’s mercy for sinners has ended. There is no further possibility for salvation. For 1,260 days, the 144,000 faithfully extended Christ’s offer of salvation to every man, woman, and child. Every person has made his or her decision. Many people will wear the mark of the beast and Jesus will seal the others. Can you imagine the amazement of Heaven’s angels as they witness the stubborn rebellion of sinners? Who can intelligently refuse the gift of eternal life from a God of love? I can understand why the angel says, “Who will not fear you, O Lord [Most High God], and bring glory to your [wonderful and awesome] name? For you alone are holy [the Ruler and Creator of Heaven and Earth]. All nations will come and worship before you [out of love], for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:4, insertions mine)

 

The Ark of the Covenant

 

One dramatic aspect of the seventh trumpet is the awesome display of the Ark of the Covenant. To understand the significance of this event, a few words about the Ten Commandments are necessary.

 

The Ten Commandments were kept inside the Ark of the Covenant and this made the Ark of the Covenant the holiest article of furniture within the earthy temple. The Ark was never exposed for people to see. Even when the nation of Israel traveled about, a veil that separated the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place covered The Ark of the Covenant.  (Numbers 4:5) Even more, the Israelites remained about a half-mile away from the Ark whenever the Levites carried it from place to place. (Joshua 3:4) The Ark of the Covenant was the holiest of all objects because it contained “the covenant.” The Ark was never visible except to the High Priest who cautiously entered the Most Holy Place once a year to stand before it on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 16:13)

 

God kept the Ark hidden from view for a good reason. He did not want Israel to worship two tablets of stone. God foreknew that Israel, like the nations of the world, had a proclivity for idolatry – worshiping sacred objects such as golden calf’s, idols, Asherah poles, and the starry hosts. So, God hid “the covenant” from sight because the Ten Commandments are not to be worshiped. In fact, the second commandment forbids the worship or veneration of any object!

 

God made the Ark of the Covenant holy because His perfect law is His constitution. A God of love is a God of law and order. His law of love and His order is humility and service. He uses His magnificent powers of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence – to ensure that His unchangeable constitution will survive throughout eternity. He wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets of enduring stone. The first tablet contains four commandments. They describe man’s responsibility to God. The second tablet contains six commandments. They describe man’s responsibility to his neighbor. In total, these two tablets are a declaration of what people will naturally do when the carnal nature has been subdued by God’s love! The Ten Commandments are prophetic in this sense. When a person loves God, he will naturally want to do what the first four commandments require. Likewise, when a person loves his neighbor, he would not think of sinning against his neighbor. Therefore, the law’s prediction is fulfilled through love.  

 

The Ten Commandments were also kept out of sight because God’s law is not an external matter. God wants His law written on the “tablets of our heart,” not on our shirtsleeve. The carnal nature loves attention. It likes to show off. It quickly absorbs pride and arrogance because our carnal hearts are selfish and self-seeking. In short, the carnal heart is everything that God is not. God is not impressed with a show of external piety, but He is impressed with modesty. Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen of men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:5-7) An infinitely wise God kept the Ten Commandments out of sight because (a) God knows that carnal minded people cannot understand His law because it is spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14), and (b) God knows that the best way to present His law to carnal minded people is through the loving words and actions of His people. Of course, God also knows that a legalist can make His law repugnant in the eyes of those who do not understand it. (Remember the disgusting ways of the Pharisees?)

 

The Testimony

 

The Ten Commandments are sometimes called “The Testimony” in the Old Testament. Five times in Scripture, the earthly temple is called the “Tent of the Testimony,” and thirteen times; the Ark is called the “Ark of the Testimony.” The Ten Commandments are called “The Testimony” because they are written testimony of Jesus Himself.

 

“When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”

(Exodus 31:18, italics mine) It is important to note that Jesus did not give the Ten Commandments to Moses so that Moses could write them down. I mention this difference because the Ark of the Covenant is not an article of furniture that belonged to Israel. The covenant made with Israel is separate from the Ten Commandments. The timeless Ten Commandments are not to be confused with the temporary laws given to Moses. Those laws were nailed to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-17)

 

The Ten Commandments are also called “The Covenant” and this explains why the golden box containing the Ten Commandments is called “The Ark of The Covenant” or “The Ark of His Covenant” more than thirty times in the Bible. “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant – the Ten Commandments.”

(Exodus 34: 28, italics mine) When a person considers all of the documents ever written, the Ten Commandments are unlike anything else. God wrote them in stone with His own finger!

 

It is rather easy to understand why the two tablets should be called “The Testimony,” but many people may not understand why the Ten Commandments are also called “His Covenant” or “The Covenant.” They do not realize that covenants can be unilateral (one-sided), bilateral (two-sided), and multilateral (many-sided).

God entered into a bilateral (two-sided) covenant with the descendants of Abraham, that is, a mutual agreement was reached between the two parties. God said, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant [laws], then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” (Exodus 19:5,6, insertion and italics mine) Israel accepted God’s proposal: “When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.’”

(Exodus 24:3)

 

Marriage is a bilateral covenant and the marriage covenant remains intact as long as both parties are faithful to their covenant. So, the covenant between God and Israel was a bilateral covenant, like the marriage covenant, but the Ten Commandment’s covenant is a unilateral covenant! It remains intact whether people honor or reject it.

 

A unilateral (one-sided) covenant is not based on mutual agreement or performance. For example, whenever a person is sworn in as a courtroom witness, he promises to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is a unilateral covenant between the witness and God. The court is a witness to this covenant. The witness promises to “tell the whole truth” regardless of what others may say or do. Consider this unilateral covenant: God said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:13-15)

 

The devil working through false religions, has grossly distorted the role, importance, beauty, and value of the Ten Commandments. God did not impose His law on mankind as a recipe for salvation. The devil has cleverly created this deception. God did not impose the Ten Commandments on mankind to determine who will receive eternal life. The devil has created this deception. Obeying the Ten Commandments cannot produce eternal life because eternal life comes through faith in God.  

 

We know that Babylon will persecute those who keep God’s seventh-day Sabbath holy during the Great Tribulation. When people learn that (a) obeying the fourth commandment cannot produce salvation, and (b) obeying the fourth commandment will surely bring persecution, many people will argue, “Why should we keep the Sabbath?” The 144,000 will respond, “It is God’s will that everyone obey His law.” Out of love for you, Jesus came from Heaven and paid the price for your sins on the cross. If you love Jesus for what He has done and if you want to participate in His salvation, you will gladly obey Him because He is your Creator, your Redeemer, and Master of your life. When we love God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, and our neighbor as ourselves, the Ten Commandments declare how that love will be expressed.

 

Every human being will be blesses if they submit to God’s authority and obey His Commandments out of love. Even though the saints will e terribly persecuted during the Great Tribulation for their faith, they will be happy in the Lord! Consider Paul’s comment about his own persecution: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11) All created beings in God’s universe, except those of us who are under the curse of sin, have God’s law of love written in their hearts. In other words, sinless beings naturally live in harmony with God’s covenant of love. Here is why: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” (Psalms 19:7-10)

 

The really good news is that a sealing process will occur during the Great Tribulation. Everyone who passes his test of faith will experience an amazing miracle. God’s children will miraculously have the curse of sin removed from their minds and hearts. They will be given a new mind and a new heart and their unfallen nature will be “sealed” within them. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:10-12)



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