Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study. Today is study #7 of Daniel, chapter 3, and we are continuing to look at Daniel 3:15-19:
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
One thing stands out in this historical record of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego regarding their refusal to bow down to the image and commit idolatry and that is their apparent lack of fear. It seems that everyone else in Babylon was afraid, excepting these three Jews which represent the people of God. They insist on obeying God and keeping the Word of God, no matter the consequence. Of course, that goes along with what God does when He saves a person; He gives them His Spirit and an ongoing desire to do the will of God, no matter what consequences may arise in the family, in the workplace or in the neighborhood. The people of God have this desire and will that is placed within them by God. We see that here.
In the last couple of studies, we have been discussing the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. We have seen that it is a corporate sin. Another interesting thing about this can be seen when we go to Luke, chapter 12 or Matthew, chapter 10, but we will look only at Luke 12:10-12:
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
We have seen that God has said in the Bible that it was His plan to open the Scriptures at the time of the end during that “hour,” the Great Tribulation period. At that time the Holy Ghost would “speak” as we compare Scripture with Scripture and the Holy Ghost teacheth. The things that would come forth from the Bible will be reviled, ridiculed and mocked by the corporate body, the New Testament churches and congregations, following the pattern of national Israel before them when the Holy Spirit spoke through the Lord Jesus Christ in the 1st century; the Israelites reviled Him, saying that the things He said and did were of Beelzebub or Satan. God tells us that the servant is not greater than his master and if they did this to the Master we can be sure they will do it to us. This is exactly what happened as the corporate churches committed the same sin that Israel committed. It is a corporate sin, the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
It is interesting how God set up the context in Luke 12 and Matthew 10 regarding the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It says back in Luke 12:4-5:
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Then it says in Luke 12:7:
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
We are to fear God and not a man that may kill you. That is what is going on in Daniel, chapter 3. Whoever would not worship at the sound of the 23 musical instruments were to be killed. And God mentions Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego 13 times, indicating that at the time of the end of the church age in the 13,000th year of earth’s history and for the next 23 years of the Great Tribulation period there would be this threat – you must bow down and worship (the beast) or you would be killed. We read in Revelation 13 that whoever would not worship the beast would be killed, spiritually. They would be driven out of the congregations and this was the threat that confronted the people of God throughout the entire duration of the 23-year period of Great Tribulation.
We see that the three young Hebrew men in Daniel, chapter 3 did not fear to the point of bowing down to the image. We do not know what was going on within them. They were still in the flesh, even though they had born-again souls. There was certainly an awareness of the horrible death that faced them and, yet, God’s Word may have been going through their minds, like Isaiah 51:7:
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
Or, they may have thought of Isaiah 41:10-14:
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I JEHOVAH thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith JEHOVAH, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
The three men did say to the king, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us,” and they had hope; and then they added, “But if not…” There were two options facing them and they were content with either option because for the child of God, if he was delivered from the fiery death that would be well, but if he died it would be gain and he would go to be with the Lord in heaven. He has won and there is no defeat for the child of God when it comes to the matter of “life and death.” He wins, either way.
It says in Isaiah 43:1-2:
But now thus saith JEHOVAH that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Notice that God says, “I will be with thee,” and then He speaks of possible horrible deaths. When you go through the waters and the rivers they will not overflow thee and when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned and the flame will not kindle upon thee. It is significant that it does not say that you will not go through the fire. We have learned that the Bible teaches that all God’s elect must appear or be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ. God judges the righteous and the wicked. He is the judge of the “quick and the dead.” We have seen this teaching of the Bible in many places and that means that the “fire” will come upon us and the “fire” will be lit to us. Again, the promise is not that we will not experience the fire and the flame, but the promise is that when we do experience the fire it will not destroy us and when we encounter the “flame” it will not kindle upon us as it would do to the “wood, hay, stubble.” Remember, what it says in 1Corinthians, chapter 3 which has everything to do with fire. There are the elements that are built upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It says in 1Corinthians 3:12-13:
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
Again, this applies to the righteous and the wicked. Where did we ever get the idea that the elect would be taken out of the world and not experience the final Judgment Day? That was a wrong teaching. The Bible tells us that we will go through the fire, just like the “wood, hay stubble” that would go through the fire and be burned and destroyed, but the “gold, silver precious stones” will not be destroyed in the fire. It says, “For the day shall declare it,” and that day is Judgment Day. Then it says in 1Corinthians 3:14:
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work endures the fire, he shall receive a reward. How could he endure the fire? It was because the fire did not burn him and the flame did not kindle upon him and, yet, the fire was put to him. That is the teaching of the Bible and that is why we read this about Judgment Day in Isaiah 24:6:
Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
All the others (wood, hay and stubble) are burned and destroyed, spiritually, once the door of heaven was shut. And, yet, God’s elect are left. Why are they left? Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they have been put into a furnace. Judgment Day is likened to a furnace in the Gospel of Matthew. All of God’s people have been put into the “furnace” of the wrath of God in the day of God’s fiery fury being poured upon the wicked of the earth. All the elect are also appearing at that time, as they are alive and remain on the earth to go through the fire and the flame. Everyone else is being burned up, but not God’s people and that is why it says in Malachi 4:1:
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith JEHOVAH of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Then it says of God’s elect, in Malachi 4:3:
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith JEHOVAH of hosts.
You see, God’s people are here and alive on the earth and it is as though we are walking upon the ashes of the unsaved because they have been burned up. In that great chapter of faith, it says in Hebrews 11:32-34:
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire…
This is a Biblical principal we see throughout the Bible. It is impossible for the people of God to “burn,” spiritually. That is why Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could not burn. Of course, at the time of the Reformation, some of the people of God were burned at the stake. They did burn, physically. The evil, apostate church of that day burned God’s people for carrying the Bible or for wanting the Bible in the hands of the people. Perhaps, the fire was put to them because of this principal, as the apostate churches may have thought, “If we can burn them, they are not God’s people because Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not burn.” Or, they may have seen that “gold, silver, precious stones” does not burn. Or, they may have seen that God said in Isaiah that when you go through the fire, you will not burn and the flame will not kindle upon you. It is a Biblical principal that the violence of the fire is quenched on behalf of His people through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is really teaching us a spiritual truth – God’s elect will never be destroyed. They will never end up like this evil world and the wicked in it that will be burned in the day of fiery heat that will destroy this creation. But, guess what? The people of God will go through the fire and come through unscathed. We will not have the smell of smoke, as we will later see in the Book of Daniel. The fire has no power over God’s elect. Of course, that is why the elect endure to the end. It is because the fire cannot burn up the elect and destroy them.
As a matter of fact, the fire in the Day of Judgment serves the elect. It is used by God to illuminate the “night.” What I mean by that can be seen in what is says regarding “the daughters of Zion,” the elect, in Isaiah 4:4-6:
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And JEHOVAH will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
In verse 6, the “heat” and the “storm” refer to Judgment Day. For the elect, God provides a “tabernacle” or “booth.” We will not get into the meaning of this at this time and we will save that for our current study in the Book of Jonah, but this “tabernacle” or “booth” identifies with the Word of God. It relates to the “cloud and smoke by day” and the “shining of a flaming fire by night,” which is language that ties in with the wilderness sojourn of Israel when they literally dwelt in booths for 40 years. That is what the Feast of Tabernacles commemorates, as the people of Israel dwelt in booths to protect them from “heat” and “storm,” and, yet, it relates spiritually to the Word of God. It is interesting that in Isaiah 4, verse 5 it refers to a “flaming fire by night.” We know that the cloud identifies with the commandments of JEHOVAH, according to Numbers, chapter 9. But what is interesting about the use of the term “flaming fire” is that it is not exactly how it was described in the time of the wilderness sojourn, in Exodus 13:21-22:
And JEHOVAH went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
The great delivery of all Israel from Egypt was a picture of God completing His salvation program. Then He brought them into the wilderness where they dwelt in booths for 40 years. During the entire time, they would be directed by the cloud during the day and by a pillar of fire by night. Whether it was day or night, when they looked at the tabernacle they could see either the cloud or the pillar of fire. Of course, that pillar of fire illuminated the night and the pillar of fire continued for the entire 40 years. It says in Exodus 40:38:
For the cloud of JEHOVAH was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
During all forty-two encampments, they travelled about and lived in booths. They had this instruction from God according to the commandment of God, the cloud by day and the fire by night. At the same time, each day for six days a week they were fed with manna from heaven. It was a heavenly food. The mysterious manna fell from the sky and provided nourishment for them. They had no other way to get bread – it came directly from God. We can see the spiritual picture. By May 21, 2011 God had saved all spiritual Israel or all the elect whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The elect were not brought immediately into heaven, but they must go through the “day of temptation in the wilderness” or through the “day of wrath” because it was Judgment Day. It is a time of severe testing for God’s people, but God continues to feed them through the opening of the Scriptures (manna from heaven) at the time of the end. They “dwell in booths,” as the “booth” or “tabernacle” completely identifies with the Word of God. The Word of God is a shelter for them, protecting them from the heat and from the storm (the wrath of God) and during this time there is the “flaming fire by night.” That is what it is called in Isaiah, chapter 4, but in Exodus it is called a “pillar of fire.” It says in Numbers 14:13-14:
And Moses said unto JEHOVAH, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou JEHOVAH art among this people, that thou JEHOVAH art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
God’s presence in the Day of Judgment is with His people, typified by a cloud. We have talked about that before. But it is also typified by a “pillar of fire by night.” Remember when we looked at the “work day.” Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in a day?” In that parable of the vineyard, those hired at the eleventh hour worked “one hour,” representing the hour of Great Tribulation. Then the twelfth hour came and the work day concluded. The day of salvation ended and night was upon us. Christ said that there were twelve hours in the day and then He said, “The night cometh, when no man can work.” Christ is the “man” and He can no longer work the work of salvation. Judgment Day is likened to the night because the “sun” is darkened and the “moon” does not give her light and the “stars” cease their shining, so all is spiritually dark. Through His Word, the Bible, God established the Gospel lights. It is as though the Bible has spread them in the heavens and according to His program of times and seasons, God has put out the Gospel lights. He has made the universe dark in rolling up the Gospel as a scroll and now there is outer darkness for the (unsaved) people of the world. It says in Numbers 9:15-17:
And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
Why does it describe it as a “flaming fire” in Isaiah, chapter 4 and not as a “pillar of fire”? When we read in Exodus, Numbers or Deuteronomy, it is always said to be a “pillar of fire.” This is also true in Nehemiah 9:12-15:
Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
It also says in Nehemiah 9:19:
Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.
Did you catch what it said here? The “pillar of fire by night” was to show them the “way wherein they should go,” but it also said it was to “shew them light.” The pillar of fire showed light or illumination. It is the light that enlightens the minds of the people of God. It is the light that shows us the path. Light identifies with the Word of God and with truth and with Christ Himself. The “pillar of fire” is the light for God’s people in the dark night of Judgment Day. God is still with His people through the “pillar of fire.” Again, why did it change to “flaming fire” in these other Scriptures? It is a “pillar of fire.” Why did the Lord change it to say, “flaming fire by night”? The answer is found in 2Thessalonians 1:7:
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
The word “revealed” here points to being revealed through the Scriptures, not revealing Him to our physical eyes. It is like the “son of perdition” was revealed, as it says in the next chapter. How was the son of perdition revealed? Did we see him with our physical eyes? No, we saw him through the understanding of the Scriptures or through revelation of the Word of God. So, too, the Bible “reveals” Christ coming as the Judge on May 21, 2011. Therefore, again, it says that Jesus will be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (the elect). Then it says in 2Thessalonians 1:8-10:
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Christ came in judgment in “flaming fire,” the fire that God’s people must also go through. It is the wrath of God. After the fall in the Garden of Eden it said in Genesis, chapter 3 that the cherubims guarded the way of the tree of life and they had a “flaming sword” turning every which way. The implication was that anyone going to the tree of life must go by the “flaming sword.” In order for the children of God to be declared sons of God, we must first “die” and rise from the dead, declared to be sons. Christ is the firstborn and we are the many brethren that are children from the dead, so there is no other way; it is through much tribulation that we enter in to the kingdom of heaven. We must go through the “flaming sword,” which is synonymous with the “flaming fire,” which also identifies with the Word of God, the Bible. Christ has come in judgment in “flaming fire.” We have now continued for several years after the date of May 21, 2011, so we are several years into this prolonged period of Judgment Day and it is as though God has turned the Bible into a “flaming sword” or a “flaming fire” that is burning up all the unsaved inhabitants of the earth. However, it does not burn up God’s people. We go through the fire and the flame does not kindle upon us. All that language we looked at earlier applies to us during this time. Instead of the “flaming fire” devouring us like stubble or burning us to ashes, it serves to illuminate our way to show us light and the way we should go. The information about Judgment Day is disastrous for anyone whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, but the same information that burns up the unsaved illuminates the way for the saved.
This relates to something I have noticed before and I find it amazing how God has done this, but there is something amazing in Revelation, chapter 19. There are a lot of amazing things we are seeing in the Bible in our time. It would be one thing if we were not learning anything additional after we believed the Bible locked in the Day of Judgment the way it did. God’s people were moved by the Spirit of God to dogmatically declare May 21, 2011 as Judgment Day. When we go back to the Bible, we cannot find an error and the Bible continues to declare it was the Day of Judgment. Now what are we going to do? Are we going to go back because of something our eyes did not see in the physical realm? Are we going to go back like the Israelites in the wilderness desired to go back to Egypt or are we going to continue to follow where the Word of God leads? Will we continue no matter how evil we are spoken of or how ridiculous people think it is? “Oh, you still believe those things?” God’s people can only follow the Word of God. Of course, Christ knows that. He is our Shepherd and He leads His sheep, so it is Truth that we follow, so there is no danger that the children of God will cease to follow Him. We will continue to follow where the Bible leads us, but here we are and we are finding additional information that confirms spiritual judgment and confirms that we are being tried as “gold, silver precious stones.” We know that the elect will be judged, as well as the non-elect. We know so many other things that relate to this time period in the “days after that tribulation,” but we never understood it previously. And that is confirmation we are going the right way. We are following that “flaming fire by night.” It is a “flaming fire” that is given to us for light and it shows us the way and the “way” leads to the Promised Land, the kingdom of heaven.
In Revelation 19 Christ appears on the white horse and the armies in heaven follow him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. It is Christ and the mighty messengers, all those that have become saved. Then it says in Revelation 19:15:
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
There is no doubt that this is a Scripture that describes the final judgment of God in the Day of Judgment. The language of smiting the nations and treading the “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God,” cannot apply to any other time. The “sharp sword” or the Word of God is smiting the nations (the wicked of the earth) and it says, “and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.” The “rod of iron” is synonymous with the “sharp sword.” It is the Word of God that has no more grace, mercy or salvation for the unsaved. This is how Christ is ruling and “to rule” means to take His seat in the judgment seat of Christ. It is the Judgment Day in which Chris is seated on the throne of judgment and He is ruling over the nations of the world. It is not a benevolent rule designed for the good of the unsaved, but it is a rule that inflicts punishment and pours out His wrath as He smites the nations. They are currently being smitten and, very likely, they will be smitten for several more years to come, but Christ is ruling them with a “rod of iron.” It is all wrath. It is all _“flaming fire”* that burns the _“wood, hay stubble.”* It burns the wicked and God’s elect are left and treading upon them, as it were. The interesting thing is the Greek word translated as “rule.” It is Strong’s #4165 and it is the same word that we find in John, chapter 21 after the great catch of fish, which points to the great multitude that was brought in during the last “hour” of Great Tribulation. Then Christ appeared for the third time and it says in John 21:16:
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
The word “feed” is the same Greek word that is translated as “rule” in Revelation 19, verses 15. We just have to kind of “shake our heads” at the Word of God, the Bible. What is God doing here? Why would He say this in this context because it is all about His wrath and fury in Revelation 19, verse 15. He is smiting the nations and He is treading the winepress and He is “ruling” them with a rod of iron. This word is translated more often as “feed,” as it says in Acts to feed the church of God. But God is not going to “feed” the unsaved, but He is going to “rule” them. However, at the same time God is punishing the wicked and burning them up, the same fire is feeding the sheep. We read after the great catch of fish in John 21 that Christ commands us to feed His sheep and He is connecting it to the Day of Judgment and He is connecting it to the time after the Tribulation when the great catch of fish was brought in.
In case we missed that, He gives us another helpful hint in Revelation, chapter 7. It says in Revelation 7:9:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
This is the great multitude saved out of Great Tribulation. Then the question is asked in Revelation 7:13:
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
“Day and night” is a time reference and this great multitude came “out of great tribulation,” so the Tribulation is over with and it is the same timeline as after the great catch of fish. They are serving God day and night in the temple and this is referring to a spiritual temple: “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we…” It says in Revelation 7:15: “and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” To sit on the throne means “to rule,” and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them because once the spiritual temple was completed the Spirit of God enters in and He currently indwells the entire (spiritual) temple since God’s salvation program was completed on May 21, 2011.
Then it goes on to say in Revelation 7:16:
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
We tend to think this must be taking place when we get to heaven, but remember that the Bible speaks of those that “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” and once God has saved all His elect there are no more people that hunger and thirst after righteousness. We have already obtained the righteousness of Christ in salvation, so we hunger no more. We, as God’s people, today no longer hunger or thirst after righteousness because God has completed this aspect of His salvation program. Remember the booth? What did the booth in Isaiah, chapter 4 protect us from? It was to protect us from the heat. In the Book of Jonah there were a burning sun and Jonah built a booth. So., it says in Revelation 7, verse 6, “neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat,” because we are protected by the Word of God.
Then it goes on to say in Revelation 7:17:
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
The Lamb in the midst of the throne shall “feed them” and “lead them.” And what did the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night accomplish? They served to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land. Again, it says in Nehemiah 9:19:
Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.
God is continuing to lead His people and He is doing so through the “flaming fire” or the “pillar of fire.” Again, it destroys the wicked, so they do not want to get anywhere near it, but God’s elect are not afraid of the terrible information that the Bible has been showing forth regarding the shut door of heaven or the Gospel light being put out. We are not afraid when the Bible indicates that the world has been “set on fire” and turned into “hell” because we have God’s Spirit within us and we have confidence that God is working out all things according to His good pleasure and that all things will work for our good.
Here, we see that the word “rule” regarding Christ ruling in the Day of Judgment is the same word as “feed.” That lets us know what we should be talking about when we are commanded to feed sheep. Yes, we can talk about Bible “basics” or anything in the Bible, but we had better not omit the information that God is bringing judgment and that currently the world has been set on “fire.” How can we leave that detail out? We must not omit it or dismiss it. As a matter of fact, that is our guide – it is the fire that illuminates the night and it is the light we are to follow in order to make it to the Promised Land.
Let us go to an incredible verse in Isaiah, chapter 40. It is incredible because it summarizes what we were just discussing. It says in Isaiah 40:10:
Behold, JEHOVAH GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
His “arm” is Christ – Christ is the “right hand” of God. His arm shall rule for Him as Christ rules with a rod of iron. His reward is with Him – it is the “gold, silver precious stones.”
After telling us that Christ will rule when He comes, notice what it says in Isaiah 40:11:
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
When I read these verses, I was just struck with how amazingly it brings together these ideas using the same Greek word in Revelation 19:15 where it said that He shall rule them with a rod of iron and that same word is used regarding the feeding of God’s sheep after the Tribulation in the time of judgment. And in Isaiah 40, verses 10 and 11, we have the same two ideas brought together. JEHOVAH our GOD will come and He shall rule and He shall feed His flock. Do you see how these two ideas are brought together? His reward is with Him. Look at Revelation 22, verse 11 where it tells us, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” We are “righteous still” because the door is closed and all have obtained salvation that were predetermined to obtain salvation. It fits with Revelation 7 where it says that we will not hunger and thirst after righteousness. Then it tells us in Revelation 22:12:
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
We must all appear before the judgment seat and God must make His determination. He will discover if there is any sin that is still naked and open unto His eyes – if there is, we will burn. Some may have hung on for a time and given the appearance of being elect and, yet, we have seen that God wants no “hangers-on” that only identify with the true believers. He wants only the true believers. He is cleansing the house and there will be no Canaanites in the house – only God’s elect will endure to the end. We shall not be burned up.