Tuesday in the Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 8:1-5

A Dreadful Pause

There must be a Final Judgment at the end of the world when all accounts are settled.  If not, then everything is up for grabs.  The tyrant who robs, kills, and destroys and the saint who gives her life for others are made equal if there is not an ultimate reckoning.  The saint should be rewarded, not because she demands it, but because it is her due in Christ Jesus; and, the wicked man must be punished because he has earned such through his mistreatment of others whose blood cries out for justice.  And for this final reckoning to occur, there must be someone who will judge people in righteousness, who will see that each is rewarded according to his work (20:13).  This One we call God.

We have reached the place in Revelation when judgment is about to happen.  The judgment which we see here is not that final judgment at the throne but those judgments God brings upon the wicked in the here and now.  What we see is that during this time, men have the opportunity to repent—but will not.  And that is ultimately why men are condemned on the Last Day: God’s judgments on earth are wake-up calls to sinful men to turn from their sinful ways and towards God.  But men prefer their sin to God, and for this, they are rightly condemned on that Day.

When the seventh seal is opened “there [is] silence in heaven for about half an hour.”  This silence heightens the senses of everyone in heaven and earth.  The scroll is now completely opened.  Something dreadful is about to happen.  Seven angels man their trumpets.  Another angel with a golden censer offers incense on the golden altar before the throne—which is the prayers of the saints.  And of what do these prayers consist?  “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth” (6:10)?  In answer, these martyrs were given white robes and told to “rest a little longer” (6:11).  Well, their rest is almost over as the remaining number of their brethren is nearing fulfillment.  The angel who carries the golden censer with those tearful, saintly prayers now fills the censer with fire and casts it to the earth where thunder, rumblings, lightning, and earthquakes rage.

“Love your enemies,” our Lord said (Matthew 5:43), and he meant it.  But that does not preclude expectation for vindication of the righteous and retribution for the wicked.  “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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