The Passover in Revelation
The History of the Passover
During the days of Moses there were ten plagues that fell on Egypt. The first few affected both Egypt and Israel, but the rest of the plagues only fell on the Egyptians. Exodus 8:20-22 The last plague, the death of the firstborn, required a Passover to spare the firstborn in Israel. The Passover lamb was slain and the blood was placed over the top and sides of the doorway. This act of faith prevented the death angel from entering the dwelling of anyone with the blood stained door. Exodus 12
The first nine plagues in Egypt were plagues mixed with mercy since they were designed to pierce Pharaoh's heart and draw him to God. Even the plague bringing the death of the firstborn was mixed with mercy because not all in Egypt died. Pharaoh demonstrated at times that he had an awareness that he should bow down to the God of Moses. Each time God tried to persuade him, his heart resisted what his mind recognized and would harden his heart until Pharaoh reached a place of no return.
Finally, the last plague in Egypt was a plague unto death because Pharaoh would not let God’s people go. It also was a plague mixed with mercy because not all of the Egyptians would die, but it was poured full strength without mercy upon the firstborn. A plague like this would require a Passover to protect the firstborn of the faithful. The Passover demonstrated to all (Pharaoh, the Israelites and the angelic beings) the power of God so those willing to serve the one true creator God would know who He is, The Great I am!
God is merciful and wanted to draw Pharaoh and the Egyptians to Himself so they would also choose to be a people serving the Living God. He invites all nations of the world to be God’s people. Instead of subduing Pharaoh’s heart, each time God reached out to him through a plague, it only hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Finally, he reached a point of no return in denying the God of the entire cosmos, Creator of all things.
When God demonstrated to the universe that Pharaoh would not repent, He demanded an Exodus for His people! The tenth plague was merciful because it did not fall on all of Egypt. However, it was a plague of death regarding the firstborn from each household. To the firstborn, it was a plague without mercy because Pharaoh was messing with Israel, God’s firstborn. After the plague of death fell on the firstborn of Egypt, the entire nation wanted them to leave believing God would destroy them all. Certainly He could have, but He chose for His own purpose to spare the nation of Egypt.
God demonstrated His grand and glorious power in so many ways through the Egyptian plagues. In this world, all receive tribulation including the rich and powerful. This example demonstrates the nature of the world. In addition, all receive blessings such as the rain that falls on the just and the unjust. This example demonstrates the mercy of God. The rain and tribulation falling on the just and the unjust causes many to believe that God is not powerful enough to be discriminating in His judgments and His blessings. The plagues and God’s right of Passover demonstrate He is able to cover those He chooses with sanctuary. The hardness of men’s hearts demands His right to do so.
The death of the firstborn in Egypt is based upon the first law implemented in the garden. The soul that sins shall die. When a soul sins, the death angel has a legal right and a moral obligation to slay the soul that sins. What many do not understand, including the Heavenly beings, is that before God made man, he implemented the law of Passover. Revelation 13:8 The law of Passover is the premise of God’s covenant with mankind.
God said Adam and Eve would die if they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of both good and evil. The devil said they would not. God shed innocent blood and covered their nakedness with the blameless, animal demonstrating the law of Passover. The law of Passover gives God the right to spare repentant sinners explaining in part the reason Adam and Eve did not die. Adam and Eve had to leave the garden (an exodus), but before they left, the mercy of God rose up and covered their sins. Praise God because the covenant He made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel and others is a sinner’s claim to God’s Passover. It is the law!
The Seven Last Plagues
Revelation 15-16 The plagues in Revelation have been terrifying Bible students for many generations. They scare me, also. I am not sure why since they only fall on the forsaken. Perhaps we lack security as believers or maybe it has to do with our loved ones that have yet to profess faith in God. The seven last plagues contain the wrath of God and are poured out on a select group of individuals during the last days because they do something so abominable that it causes their cup of iniquity to run over making them desolate of God's mercy.
We know from reading Psalm 91 that while the plagues are falling on those all around us, the saints are sheltered in the arms of God. The same plagues that are falling on them will not even come nigh our dwelling--if we dwell in a Godly habitation.
The seven last plagues in Revelation 15-16 are more like the last Egyptian plague because they are God's wrath poured out in full strength without mercy on the unbelieving. In comparison, the trumpets are judgments mixed with mercy designed to reconcile man to God, but by the time the seven last plagues begin to fall, the door of probation has closed and there is no more mercy, just wrath. Plagues without mercy require a Passover so the angel of death will know not to come nigh the dwelling of the faithful. Psalm 91:10
People living in the Western hemisphere have a different mindset than people living in the Eastern hemisphere, especially the ancient Eastern world. In the West we think from cause to effect. In fact, we even provide lessons in our classroom instruction that condition young minds to think this way. Our goal is to prevent youthful mistakes so we teach our children to think, “What will happen if I do this?” However, the eastern mind views the effects and asks, “What happened to cause that?”
The people of the East accept that young, inexperienced minds do not worry about issues until they become problematic. Just like God knew that despite his warning, Adam and Eve would partake of the fruit because the concept of death would not be real until death was experienced. Only after death entered the world would we ask, “What caused that?” God gave His children freedom of choice with a provision for bad decisions.
As another example, in the Western world we tend to tell a story complete with all the details while you attend hoping you will have the big picture when we are through. Interruptions and/or questions are usually discouraged. In the Eastern world, the complete story will be told but in Reader's Digest form. This is designed to peak your interest and motivate you to ask questions which engages you in the conversation. Based upon your questions, the story will be repeated as many times as necessary until all the details have been revealed and all of your questions answered.
The entire book of Revelation is written in this spiraling story telling manner. Therefore, the last few verses in Revelation 14 describe the full effects of the seven last plagues, but the full details grow in Revelation 15-18. Each chapter you read gives you greater detail regarding the seven last plagues and their cause and effect.
Treading the Wine Press of the Wrath of God
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
The above passages surely describe the effects of the wrath of God, but the detail of each vial filled with God's wrath is told in Revelation 15-16. Bible passages compare the end-time harvest of the world to harvesting both good and bad grapes as well as the harvesting of the wheat and tares. Wheat is usually harvested in Israel before the harvesting of the grapes. However, occasionally, a late wheat harvest will coincide with the grape harvest. The wheat harvest usually comes in May. The grape harvest begins in June and continues until the fall. Comparing the harvest of the saints to both grapes and wheat indicates to us that a merciful and long-suffering God would wait as long as possible to complete the harvest because He is unwilling that anyone should perish. It is His great desire that everyone would repent. 2 Peter 3:8
Jesus spoke of a harvest many times and this understanding was preserved in a song called Bringing in the Sheaves: We will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. However, the treading of the grapes of God’s wrath is not a cause for celebration. This is the fruit that went bad because the vine was bad. This is not the ingathering of the grapes and/or wheat to be preserved in the barn, but the treading of the winepress of God and/or the gathering of the tares to be burned. Joel 3:11-14; Isaiah 63:1-6; Revelation 14:17-20; 19:11-15 The treading of the winepress of God and the burning of the tares describes the destruction of the unbelieving which occurs at the coming of Jesus.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
When reading the above passage did you notice that the reapers first gather the tares into bundles and burn them? Then the wheat is gathered into the barn. This parable was confusing even to the disciples. They were particularly interested in a better understanding regarding the tares. Jesus offered the following explanation.
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. . .
Again, we see a particular sequence of events. First, anything and anyone offensive is removed from the kingdom and cast into fire. Then the righteous will be obvious to everyone because they will reflect the same glory that glowed on the face of Moses. However, prior to the removing of the tares, the wheat is not so readily recognizable. We must be careful to consider that we may be entertaining angels unaware when we try to pass judgment on our fellowman. Even the angels cannot read men's hearts and therefore cannot separate the wheat from the tares without guidance. Before they can begin their work of binding the tares, the wheat must be identified with a mark. This will require a Passover.
The harvest of both wheat and grapes is used to describe the harvest of the saints at the coming of Jesus. The parable of the workers in the vineyard is to help us understand that we are to join the angels in this harvest. The angels do the actual separating the wheat from the tares and bind them with the plagues. They also tread the winepress with Jesus at His coming. It is the work of the saints to tend the vineyard to preserve the grapes as told in the parable by Jesus of the workers in the vineyard.
Some will begin working early in their lives while many will only work the last hour. Our reward is the same. Rescue and resurrection happens at the coming of Christ. Matthew 20:1-16 It is the mission of the saints to warn the world to flee the wrath of God by partaking of the shed blood of the lamb. During the final harvest, every believer will be summoned to work in the fields. Some will deny this calling because of the hardship. Some, like the 144,000, will answer the call from the beginning of sorrows. Some will join in the middle of the tribulation. Some will join in the last hour, but all will reap a bountiful reward for being workers in the field. Matthew 10:41
The Son of Man’s Passover
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
This is an interesting, but puzzling passage describing a harvest that comes right before the treading of the wine press of God/harvest of the tares. This is certainly Jesus sitting upon this cloud waiting the command to thrust in His sickle. The crown He wears is a stephanos proclaiming His victory over death--the same crown the rider on the white horse is wearing in the 1st seal. He has not put on His reigning crown (diadem) because He has not yet come to rescue those that submit to His reign as described in Revelation 19. Therefore, we know that this is not a rapture or a resurrection, but a Passover for the last-day saints living during the plagues of God.
The term Son of Man is His favorite term for Himself. He used it many times as a title while here on earth. In the parable of the wheat and tares, it was the Son of Man that sowed the good seed. Jesus knows His own, so it will be the Son of Man that will mark His wheat for the angels of death to Passover in the time of God's wrath. Once the plagues begin to fall we know that Jesus has identified His own to the death angels. Repentance is no longer available once Jesus marks the saints. He is the Lord of the Harvest and once He marks His own, the harvest is ripe and ready.
The Passover celebrated in Egypt required the blood of the lamb on the door posts of the believer's home so the death angel would pass over without slaying the first born. The blood on the doorposts indicates that the inhabitants accept their need of the blood sacrifice for their survival. Cain was not willing to accept this sacrifice and offered one of his own. He did not want the blood sacrifice because he did not think he needed it. This is the consensus of all Egypt including Pharaoh. This is also the consensus of the world from the beginning until the end of the ages. It is my belief that if Pharaoh and all of Egypt had covered their doorposts with righteous blood, their firstborn would have been spared.
Just like Cain killed his brother, the last generation will also slay the prophets of their generation. The world will take on a form of Godliness but deny the power of God. They will be very religious, but their self-righteousness will cause them to take on the prerogatives of God. They will shed innocent blood just like Cain and all others after him. Even Israel slew their own prophets sent to them by God. It is my prayer that the church will recognize the time of her visitation. The parable of the ten virgins indicates that many in the church will not.
The martyrs of the ages that are under the altar of sacrifice in the fifth seal cry unto their Creator for retribution. Able, the first martyr, is in this group. His blood cried to God from the ground and his voice still rings in the ears of God. Genesis 4: 10 There is nothing new under the sun, but God is about to do a new thing. He is about to avenge the blood of His saints. The saints of God will need a Passover to shelter them from God’s wrath in the form of the plagues.
They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
Once the world slays the prophets sent to warn them, God will avenge all the innocent blood of the ages beginning with Abel. The plagues of God will begin to fall as vengeance upon the world because they shed the innocent blood of His servants, the prophets. However, the plagues do not come nigh the dwelling of the saints
Notice in the passages in Revelation 14:14-16 that the angel giving the command to Jesus to thrust in the sickle comes out of the heavenly temple where he received the command from the Father. It seems odd to most of us that Jesus does not determine the moment to thrust in His sickle, but defining this moment is the work of the Father. Jesus said, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father," Mark 13:32 For more study regarding that special day and hour, please see Matthew 24 and give special consideration to Matthew 24:1-4; 28-31; 35-36.
Notice, also the sense of urgency as Jesus is on the very precipice eager to rescue His own. This illustration demonstrates that He will not delay the rescue one moment more than necessary. The sequence of events follows: first Jesus will identify His own so the angels with God's wrath will pass over them, then the tares will be bound for burning and cast into the fire (bad grapes tread in the winepress), then the wheat will be gathered into the barn (harvest of the vineyard).
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
In the previous passage we learn that when it is time to harvest the earth, the dead in Christ rise first. Then we which are alive and remain will rise up afterward. The phrase "alive and remain" indicates that we are alive as opposed to the wicked that are dead because they were slain. They were the tares that were bound for destruction. We remain because after the dead in Christ rise up and the wicked are slain, the saints that the death angels passed over are all that is left--but not left behind.
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