November 21, 2016
The Eagles are 5 – 5 (November 20, 2016)
Yeah – I know.
Have you ever heard the expression…
“It ain’t over till it’s over?”
Seems I’ve heard that someplace before….
As of Monday, November 21, 2016, the Eagles chances among “Las Vegas wise guys” (or whoever decides on these odds… it doesn’t matter) is 125 to 1.
Perfect. We got the NFL right where we want them… unsuspecting… but they better look in their rear view mirror – I see a flying eagle!
While I was writing this, the Lord brought to my mind a Scripture that I looked up. It’s in… the Book of the Revelation. That’s not good – most of that book talks about a period of time known as “The Great Tribulation”, a seven-year future time period when the wrath of God will be poured out on the earth. This verse is in the section on the seven trumpets – declarations of judgment on the earth – that will occur during that time of judgment. Here is the verse that came to mind when I imagined the Philadelphia Eagles flying from behind to win the 2017 Super Bowl:
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (Revelation 8:13)
My go-to teacher for Biblical interpretation is John MacArthur, who has pastored the Grace Community Church of Panorama City, California, for 47 years. He preached this on February 7, 1993 – nearly 24 years ago. That makes his understanding of the verse even more interesting: the time difference can eliminate bias. From what I can see from the transcript below, I don’t think there’s anything he would change…
Here is the central section in a nutshell, then I’ll give the interpretation in more context:
Dr. John MacArthur: Why is this eagle flying through heaven saying this? I believe the warning is mercy. I believe God is warning people that they still have time to turn, to repent, to believe, to be saved before the next judgment comes, before hell opens up and billows out all over the world.
Here it is in context – he gave the title to this message, not me…
Hell on Earth
Revelation 9:1-12 February 7, 1993 66-33
… As frightening as those [the first four trumpets] were, as terrorizing as they were, they’re only in a sense preliminary to the fearsome judgment that comes in the fifth trumpet. For millennia the heavens had declared the glory of God and has shown forth His handiwork. And now the heavens are declaring His wrath. When you come to the end of those first four trumpets, heaven is unfolding, unravelling. As you come in to chapter 9, the focus changes from heaven to hell. Whatever heaven could do to devastate the earth is nothing like what hell can do.
At the end of chapter 8, the last verse, provides a transition for us. “And I looked,” says John, again in vision, “and I heard an angel…pardon me…I looked and I heard an eagle flying in mid heaven saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.'”
Back in verse 2 of chapter 8 we met seven angels who stand before God, seven presence angels, the elite of the angelic company, standing with seven trumpets waiting to blast their judgment. We have already heard four and John looks again and here comes an eagle, an unusual eagle because it can speak. Eagles are birds of prey, eagles are killers and eagles are associated often in prophetic literature with judgment and with violence, such as Jeremiah 4:13, Hosea 8:1, Habakkuk 1:8. And this eagle comes associated again with judgment. And this eagle can speak. And he says with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe.” That word means damnation, judgment, sentencing, execution, curse. Those are all in and around the synonyms of that word.
“Woe to those who dwell on the earth.” That’s a very important phrase. You might even want to underline it because you’re going to see it repeatedly. It is used in chapter 3, chapter 6, chapter 8, chapter 11, chapter 13, chapter 17. It’s a technical term for the unregenerate living on the earth. It’s a technical term for unbelieving people. Woe to those unbelievers on the earth because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.
Why is this eagle flying through heaven saying this? I believe the warning is mercy. I believe God is warning people that they still have time to turn, to repent, to believe, to be saved before the next judgment comes, before hell opens up and billows out all over the world.
Ezekiel 33:11 says, “God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” I suppose that’s why there are over six hundred warnings in Scripture about hell. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He is always eager to warn the lost about judgment to come and even in the midst of the activities of judgment in the day of the Lord itself, there is warning. The rising crescendo of judgment on the earth now introduces the final three woes that consummate the final seal, the final expression of God’s wrath in part, yet to be followed by a sixth and a seventh, and seven bowl judgments before Christ takes the earth. There is still time, two more trumpets and the last one including all the bowls, there’s still a little time.
But I remind you, that if people don’t respond now, in chapter 9 verse 21 at the blowing of the sixth trumpet, they didn’t repent. If they can make it through this one it seems as though they are affixed in their hardness. The first four trumpets, remember now, involved the devastation of physical nature. You can only imagine what that’s going to be like and I was fascinated in the study of that, particularly against the backdrop of the environmental preoccupation, actually the environmental cult that exists today. People have had a false security in the law of uniformity, the idea that everything is always going to continue the same from the beginning. Peter talks about that foolish belief in 2 Peter. The day is coming, however, when the already unpredictable elements of nature will become earth’s destroyer. And the theory of uniformity is going to yield to the fact of catastrophe, just like it did in the Flood. Men’s hearts will fail them for fear, they will die of shock. What they take for granted about the stability of the universe is going to come apart.
But that’s really nothing compared to the frightening reality of this fifth trumpet…
Is this a warning of impending judgment? It is, whether the Eagles win the Super Bowl or not… bur that, I would say, would not be a good sign.
But – maybe it’s a warning that can be heeded. Remember when Jonah preached to the terrible Ninevites? They repented, so God relented. That has happened throughout history: judgment was preached, but the people responded. Maybe this past election showed the seeds of repentance, so – possibly – God will relent. People have been looking for the Tribulation for many years now. They thought that Hitler was the Final Antichrist. He turned out not to be – he was an antichrist, but not THE Antichrist. Same with Stalin… Mao… and other assorted totalitarians – they were antichrists, but not the Beast of Daniel or of Revelation. The pope is a false prophet, but is he THE False Prophet, predicted to rise during the Tribulation (in Revelation 13). Jesus warned us not to set a date for the Rapture or the Seventieth Week of Daniel – we simply do not know for sure when it will start. It might be now – or many years from now. It’s coming, but we are not to speculate on exactly when.
Here’s what I’m saying in a nutshell: I believe the Philadelphia Eagles will win Super Bowl LI because they manifest a number of signs: 1) they have a core of faithful, professing believers in Jesus on the team, including the quarterback, Carson Wentz (who has a verse from Isaiah tattooed on his back); 2) they treated a Jewish person in their organization well. Ever hear of Howie Roseman? He is the Eagles’ newly restored General Manager. He is the guy most responsible for turning the franchise upside-down (so to speak) for one player in the NFL draft: fella named Carson Wentz (ever hear of him?) The Eagles had had Roseman in the organization for years, but publicly disrespected him during the “Chip Kelly Era”; 3) the importance of the number 84 – I’ve found that the product of the two most important Biblical numbers (7 and 12) has a great deal of significance in sports history. Is it a coincidence that this very season is the Eagles’ 84th season of existence (they became an expansion franchise in 1933); 4) their coach started his coaching career as a coach at a Christian School in Louisiana. Doug Pederson spent four seasons successfully coaching at a Baptist School in the Deep South. He is known to have a genuine faith in Jesus. Unlike a former Eagles’ coach (and a former starting quarterback), he did not show deference to a … mere man who claimed to be somebody important in Philadelphia in 2015.
Maybe the Trump win, kicking out the globalists, IS a positive sign for this nation… maybe the Cubs’ win after 108 years IS a positive sign of blessing… Maybe the Eagles’ winning WILL let the gospel go forth, instead of being a sign of judgment.
And our God, Yahweh, has promised to relent, if we repent. But it needs to be real…
May His will be done!