Wednesday, 17 February 2021
The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Revelation 11:14
With the ascension of the two witnesses, followed by the great earthquake in Jerusalem, John now says, “The second woe is past.” With the first two woes complete, there is one more to come. The world has not woken up from the spiritual darkness they are in. Because of this, there will be more judgment before the tribulation period is over. With that understood, John next says, “Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.”
When it says “quickly,” it doesn’t necessarily mean “immediately.” It means that when it comes, it will be sudden and abrupt. In the Revelation narrative, there is going to be a lengthy delay in the sequence of judgments. The next set, the bowl judgments, will not be introduced until Chapter 15, and they will not be poured out until Chapter 16. In the meantime, there will be more interludes to analyze.
Life application: Looking over commentaries of the past, there is an amazing diversity of opinion about the meaning of the events that are given in Revelation. Depending on one’s view of Scripture and the role of the church in history, some have seen all these events directed at the Jewish nation culminating in the destruction of the temple in AD70 (preterism). In this view, prophecy is complete. Other than the return of Jesus, the church is the center of all attention throughout history. Others take that a step further and say that all prophecy is complete, even including the return of Jesus (hyper preterism – a heresy).
Some see these events and their resulting judgments directed at the Roman Catholic Church and/or other historical figures as the narrative unfolds in history. Subsects and cults have invariably inserted themselves into the narrative, claiming they are the center of the presentation. Within these views, there are innumerable varied interpretations as well.
However, and has been clearly seen, these events are future, not fulfilled in the past or progressively unfolding in history. Israel of the future is the key to understanding coming prophecy. Unfortunately, for most of the church age, it was assumed that the church had replaced Israel (replacement theology) and that it alone was to be the center of prophecy.
Why would this be the case? The answer is that the Old Testament makes innumerable prophecies that had not been fulfilled. These were directed to Israel, and yet Israel was destroyed, and the people were scattered all over the world. It could not be conceived by the church that Israel would ever again hold a notable position within the world. Because of this, the church assumed that the unfulfilled prophecies were to be spiritually fulfilled in the church.
In Romans 11, Paul speaks of blindness coming upon Israel (meaning blindness toward who Jesus is) until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. What the church has failed to see is that this time of blindness in Israel has been matched with its own time of blindness toward Israel. With Israel regathered, and with the nations lining up in the exact manner that the Old Testament prophecies revealed, it has become clear that replacement theology is simply incorrect.
The Lord has remained faithful to Israel despite Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him. The promises and prophecies will be fulfilled. Israel will receive her Messiah, and He will return to them after the woes of Revelation are complete. He will never let a word of His word fail because He is JESUS!
O God, thank You for allowing us to peer into your word and discover the riches of Your unfolding plan. In recent history, we have seen that it does include the faithful keeping of Your covenant with Israel. After a seemingly endless dispersion, they are back where You promised they would be, and the church is in the state Your word says it would be in these final days. Your word is trustworthy and sure. Now, we await the culmination of the ages and the return of Jesus. May that day be soon! Amen.