Previously: Revelation 16: the seven bowls of wrath, part two
The first post in the Revelation series
Last time we looked at the traditional historicist understanding of the seven bowls of wrath. If they are correct, we are in the middle of the sixth bowl, waiting for the seventh which will culminate in the downfall of the kingdoms of this world, and the beginning of the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah. They might be correct.
However, here are my questions with the traditional historicist understanding: First, the identity of the two witnesses. I believe the rest of Scripture makes it clear that they are the two houses of Ephraim and Judah, who correspond to Gentiles who believe in Jesus the Messiah (otherwise known as Christians), and Jews. If that is correct, then the historicists were mistaken in saying that the death and resurrection of the two witnesses took place during the French Revolution. The prophecy doesn’t fit.
Second, the testimony of the two witnesses seems to take place right up until the very end. Their resurrection might very well correspond with the resurrection of all the saints at the last trumpet. The last trumpet may even correspond with the seventh trumpet, for the seventh trumpet was blown following their resurrection. As soon as the seventh trumpet was blown, the voice from heaven says, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever!” It just doesn’t seem like that happened at the end of the French Revolution.
Third, it seems to me that Revelation 14 sets events in this order: the increasing triumph of the true Lamb over the false lamb who speaks the words of the Devil; then the great harvest of the souls of men, then the harvest of the grapes of wrath. It is the vintage from that harvest that is present in the seven bowls of wrath. It may very well be the returned Lamb who Himself executes the wrath of God on His enemies as described in Revelation 16, for He is said to be the One who treads out the wrath of God. In other words, the events of Revelation 16 might take place following the return of the Lamb. 1 Corinthians 15 says of Messiah Yeshua that He must reign UNTIL He has placed His enemies under His feet. Might He subdue opposition “with a rod of iron” throughout His millenniel reign? We don’t know for sure.
We are speculating – the thing with prophecy, is that it is not a crystal ball in the sense that any one of us can know the exact details of what will happen. The purpose of prophecy is to glorify God – after the thing has come to pass, mankind can look back and see that God had said it would happen just that way thousands of years before it happened. Prophecy most exactly reveals itself through hindsight, not foresight.
So those are my little quibbles and nagging uncertainties about the strict historicist interpretation.
To be continued …
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