|(12d) What will happen during the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation ?|
|Book 12 LESSON TWO * PART IV |
"Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
Now think about that. At the mid-point, after Satan has been cast down from heaven, he will indwell the man Anti-christ, even as he did Judas. And as we saw in our last lesson, he's going to turn his wrath particularly upon the 144,000 Jews, but all the people of the world are suddenly going to feel the wrath of Satan. But not only of Satan, we are also going to have the wrath of God. Now what does that tell you. No wonder Jesus said that it was going to be worse than anytime in human history. People will say, "Now wait a minute, God is a God of love." Oh, He still is today. But once this day comes, His Grace ends, and He becomes a God of judgment, and a God of wrath. Let's go back to the Book of Psalms, Chapter 2 for a moment. We must overcome this theology that God is just a God of love. You see, that's another reason that people think that He couldn't possible dream up something like an eternal Hell, or the lake of fire. Here, we have to qualify. He was a God of love when He sent Christ to the Cross, that's for sure. And He has loved the human race ever since. He has poured out His Grace upon humanity. But what has humanity done with it? They have walked it under foot. And so now He finally gets to the place where His love and Grace is withdrawn and it's His wrath that has come in. Psalms Chapter 2 verse 5. This is taking us into the Tribulation:
"Then shall he speak unto them (the people of the world) in his wrath (not His Love), and vex them in his sore displeasure."
Now you know what vex means. He is literally going to torment them. And He is going to do it righteously with all fairness and justice because you see, He has so patiently poured out His love to toward the human race and they continue to react in unbelief. And that is the worse sin possible. Unbelief is the sin that sends all mankind to doom. It's just the opposite of faith. And when you have faith, then you are pleasing unto God. That is, faith in His Word. And when you have faith in His Word you are obedient to it. And when we are obedient to the Word, then we become exactly what God want us to be. Now come back to the last part of Revelation 12:12 again. The Devil is literally kicked out of heaven. He comes down to his domain on the earth. He comes to Jerusalem to join the Anti-christ:
"...having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
And how long does he have? 3 1/2 years. And he will pull out all the stops. He will use things he has never used before. I know the average person will say, "Now why would Satan do that? They are in his pocket." I've given the illustration before, but it's worth repeating. If some underworld organization can't get a business man to knuckle under their demands because he's too strong in himself, who will they threaten? His family. His wife and children, because he knows that if that father sees them suffer, then he will react. Now Satan does the same thing to God. Satan feels that when he torments and brings all of these things upon the human race, who does he really get at? The heart of God. Now God's wrath is going to be coupled with it, and that will make that final 3 1/2 years what it is. If you don't think that last 3 1/2 years is going to be awesome come back with me to Revelation Chapter 8.
We have come through six seals during our study. The sixth seal was the great earthquake which triggers the mid-point of the Tribulation. Now when you come to Chapter 8 we come to the seventh seal. The seventh seal will open up the scroll and the paying off of that mortgage that's within. The seventh seal in itself is not an event, but it triggers the seven trumpets. So out of the seventh seal comes the first of the trumpet judgments, and there will be seven of those. When we first started our study in Revelation, I put it on the board that the events of the Tribulation are like a mother approaching her day of delivery. First comes a light birth pang. Just enough to know that your time is at hand. And maybe an hour or two later comes a little harsher one. And it just keeps increasing in intensity as well as in closeness. And so it will be that way in the Tribulation. It will start out rather mild, but as it moves to the end it's going to crescendo. Until finally the last day comes and Christ returns. As we start to read, remember we are still at the mid-point, and this is what follows.
"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was (what?) silence in heaven (there is not an angelic voice, an instrument, a note of music, a shout, or trumpet, but absolute silence in heaven. Now that is sobering! Why? Because of the awful things that are about to happen on the earth) about the space of half an hour." I don't think we can get the drama of it. Everyone in heaven is so aware of the awful things that are about to happen. Now verse 2:
"And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets." These trumpets will simply announce the next event:
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
Now what was the purpose of the incense in the tabernacle? What's the purpose of incense anytime? To give a sweet aroma. That holiness of worship and righteousness. Now for God, the sweetest incense that could ever come up to His nostrils is the prayers of the saints. That's how much emphasis God puts on prayer. He wants us to pray. We are commanded to pray. So now we have the beginnings of the trumpet judgments.
"And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."
When you read of thunderings, and lightnings, and voices again, flash all the way back to Exodus. When God came down on Mount Sinai, what did you have? Thunderings, and lightnings, the voice of God; so it's just a constant replay, except on a totally grander scale.
"And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth (and as a result): and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."
We won't take time now to go back to Exodus, but if we did, what was one of the plagues? This very same thing. Fire running along the ground, and hail. I imagine it was a very traumatic thing. I always think of it this way. Even though the events in themselves will probably bring a lot of death and destruction, there will also be a lot of psychological warfare, if you want to call it that. These things are just going to lambaste the very mental part of people. It's going to be beyond our comprehension to see these things happening one right after the other. Now to the next one. Verse 8:
"And the second angel sounded (this won't be a matter of hours, but it probably will be a matter of days and weeks), and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;"
Here again, if we had time we could go back into the Old Testament, and prophecy tells us there will be great disturbance in the cosmos. In other words, I think there is going to be great meteorites coming down and hitting the earth. A good example are the ones that hit the planet Jupiter not long ago. Our scientists are trying to dream up a nuclear device to explode on any meteorite that might be heading for the earth and try to deflect it. So we know that this particular one will land in the ocean, and the third part of the sea became blood.
"And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed." It will be in an area where there are shipping lanes and lots of ships will be destroyed in this one event.
"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;"
In other words, it's going to attack the fresh water. Again go back to Egypt, and remember when Moses caused the river Nile to turn to blood? And it was normally their source of drinking water. So what did the Egyptians quickly do? They dug wells for fresh water. And then God affected even the well water. So God will constantly be one step ahead of them. Now verse 11 is very interesting:
"And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter,"
Now this is just an interesting thought, and I don't know if it has any impact on this verse at all. But what does the word Chernobyl (where they had the nuclear disaster in Russia) mean? Wormwood! So that might be just a little indication of things that may be used of God, to brings these things to pass. Well it looks like we have time for one more trumpet in this lesson. And that will be the fourth one in verse 12:
"And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, `Woe, Woe, Woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!'"
There has already been a tremendous loss of life, both man and creatures, and it's all coming under the wrath of God. And yet the angel says, "It's nothing compared to what is still future for the inhabitants of the earth."
LESSON THREE * PART I
TRUMPET & BOWL JUDGMENTS: BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
The best way to understand the Book of Revelation is to determine all the things that take place at the beginning of the Tribulation, the things at the mid-point, and the whole host of events at the end, which of course, will be at the time of Christ's Second Coming. And then He will set up the Kingdom. I know there are folks and groups who just cringe at my teachings that the Kingdom will be here on the earth at the end of the Tribulation. And I make no apologies for teaching that. Because this Book is full of it. That's what it talks about from cover to cover - the coming of this Kingdom on earth. Which in reality is where heaven will be also. And that is another concept that a lot of people can't understand, that heaven will be on the earth. When this earth is destroyed at the end of that initial 1000 years, of course, and you get into the last two chapters of Revelation, what do you have? A new heaven and a new earth. Even the eternal abode is going to be on an earth-type situation, and not up in the regions beyond in a heaven of an ethereal, and all the foggy notions that people have about heaven. But nevertheless, it's going to be a viable, social existence on planet earth.
Another thing I would like to share is that the Church Age we are in at the present time, will someday end, and I've always emphasized that the Church Age is indeterminate in time, for we don't know when it will end. It began back here in the Book of Acts, especially as Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, began preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, and calling out what he refers to as the Body of Christ. I've always told folks in my classes that it's not so important what congregation you are a member of. But are you a member of the Body of Christ? You can be any denomination you want to, but unless you are a member of the Body of Christ, you are eternally lost. The Scripture is so plain. But once we have entered into God's salvation and the Holy Spirit's work of placing you into the Body of Christ, then we have what the Bible refers to as eternal life, eternal salvation, the hope of glory.
I got a letter from a gentlemen from Indiana, who said, "Les, I just thrill at all you are teaching, but I've still got some questions about the Rapture of the Church." I'm sure he was wondering if the Church going to go into the Tribulation. I've made the statement more than once, that I could stand here for an hour or two and give you references that prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the Church will not go into the Tribulation. And mostly because this whole concept of the Body of Christ is a revelation only given to the Apostle Paul, you will never find it mentioned in the Old Testament or the four Gospels. It is strictly a Pauline revelation. Paul maintains that this Body of Christ, which is all wrapped up in another word that is predominately Pauline, is "the mystery." Now the mystery is the revelation that God is now doing something different in these last 1900 + years of time, after the revelation of these mysteries. He is calling out the Body of Christ, not under Law, not associated with the Nation of Israel, not associated with Judaism, or the Temple. It is totally the operation of the Grace of God, based upon the finished work of the Cross, His death, burial and Resurrection.
And this is so totally removed from Law, which will again come in during the Tribulation, because Israel will again have her temple worship. And you can not mix Law and Grace. We couldn't mix it during the Church Age and it won't mix in the Tribulation. The Church would be as out of place as a fish out of water in the Tribulation. It just wouldn't fit. It is not part of the Jewish program. It is completely insulated from all of God's dealing with Israel. Whereas in the Tribulation, God is primarily dealing with Israel. So as the Church Age is completed then, it must be taken out of the way so God can once again pick up where He left off with Israel.
Why is it that the world is always so concerned about peace in the Middle East? Every United States President, at least since President Kennedy, has almost made it their prerogative to somehow or other be the one that could bring peace to the Middle East. Yet, look at all the other areas of the world that need peace. They are not that concerned about those. But they are hung up on the Middle East and peace for them. Well again, it comes back to the Scriptures. What do the Scriptures say about Jerusalem? It will be a stone of stumbling. And isn't that exactly what it is. Every President has stubbed their toe on Jerusalem. They are so intent on bringing peace to the Middle East. And that's why the Anti-christ will finally be the one to do it. He will bring a seven-year treaty of peace to Israel and the Middle East. Seemingly the world is going to think that he is the mastermind and so forth. So the very fact he signs that treaty will begin God's clock ticking again, and the seven years of Tribulation will begin.
Then as we noticed in previous lessons, we have the introduction of the two witnesses who will proclaim the Word of God again to the Nation of Israel. Out of them will come the 144,000 young Jews who will be sealed and commissioned of God. We have also discussed the Great Russian invasion of Israel sometime after the Tribulation has begun. And then we have the various judgments of God begin to fall. When we get to the mid-point of the Tribulation, the Anti-christ at that time will go in and defile the temple, and immediately stop temple worship. He will demand that He himself be worshiped as God. That will trigger this final 3 1/2 years.
This is where we are now in this study. We have seen the sixth seal removed and the trumpet judgments begin. And again, I like to make the analogy that Jesus made in Matthew 24. These Tribulation judgments are a perfect parallel of a young lady approaching delivery of her little one. And when the birth pangs begin they are rather mild and far apart. But as she gets closer and closer to the delivery hour, everything will crescendo. So, as we have come past the mid-point and the trumpet judgments are taking place, they also will keep getting a little closer together. They keep getting worse and worse until finally we get to the last seven judgments and they are called the Bowl judgments. In the King James they are called `vials.' I prefer to use the word `bowl' and I'll tell you why in a little bit.
In our last lesson we finished Revelation Chapter 8 with the end of the fourth trumpet judgment. Now let's go into Chapter 9, where we come to the 5th trumpet judgment. These trumpets are merely God's way of indicating that it is now time for the next judgment to fall. This won't be isolated to the Middle East, but will be world-wide. Many of the plagues that will take place in the Tribulation are a repetition of what took place in Egypt under Moses.
Another thing to remember, all the way up through the Old Testament the supernatural was rather commonplace. All you have to do is reflect back and all of them had to do with the Nation of Israel, and we don't have a problem with that. But as soon as you get into the Book of Revelation and start talking about these supernatural things that take place, a lot of people think you've got to be a weird person to believe them. They say, "This isn't really going to happen." But yes it is, because most of them have happened before and the Book says it will. I'm not a prophet of doom, neither am I one to sensationalize. Those of you who have heard me teach over the years know that. We just simply teach it because the Book says it.
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth (now here is how you learn to study your Bible. You will notice in the next statement that this star is given a pronoun. What's the pronoun? Him. We don't know what angel it is, but it's a personality. It's a person of some sort. I think it's an angel and I don't know which one it is. But nevertheless it's not just a body from outer space falling): and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit," Now the bottomless pit is not Hell, or the lake of fire. It is a unique place that God has reserved.
"And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power."
If you have ever been stung by a scorpion, you know it has a unique sting to it. Their sting burns and lasts for quite a while. Now these locusts are going to have a psychological effect on humanity as much as anything, by their appearance and their ability to sting.
"And it was commanded them (notice God has complete control of them. This is God's wrath being poured out on God rejecting mankind. We will see shortly that everything He does is fair and just) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads." Who are those? The 144,000. Remember back in Chapter 7, verse 3, where the angel is instructed:
"Saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." Then are listed the twelve tribes from which come the 144,000 young Jews. These are referred to in Chapter 9, verse 4. These locust will not be able to touch the 144,000. Now verse 5 of Revelation 9:
"And to them (the locusts) it was given that they should not kill them, but that they (that is mankind) should be tormented five months;"
I know the first thing that comes to mind is, "How can a God of love do something like this to His created beings." Well, you must remember the big picture. For thousands of years God has been nothing but gracious, kind, loving, and patient. But back to Psalms Chapter 2, all of a sudden we break into a period of time that is going to be the wrath and vexation of God. When He has finally run out of His patience and said, "I've had enough." In the day that you and I are living and have seen the fabric of the world society just rot at the seam (even in these last 15 to 20 years), don't you often ask yourself, "How long will God put up with it?" You look at what men and women are doing today and you just have to ask yourself that question. Well it won't be much longer! And when He does stop being gracious, His wrath is going to be beyond our comprehension. And as the Scripture tells us, it is fair and just. He will torment the human race with the stings of these locust, and instead of hurting for an hour or two it's going to sting for 5 months. The 5 months refer to the length of the result of that sting.
"...and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days (remember, here we are in the last half of the Tribulation) shall men seek death, and shall not find it ; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." In other words, people won't even be able to commit suicide. Because a Sovereign God is going to take even that from them. Then verse 7:
"And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle;..."
I know for years I looked at that and couldn't figure anything out. Then one day I was catching grasshoppers for my wife to fish with, and it had never struck me before. Have you ever looked real close at the head of a big grasshopper? What does it look like? A horse's head. And then I read soon after, that in Germany there is a species of grasshopper that they call the Horseheaded Locust. And so there is something for thought. It's not way out in left field. These locusts will also be psychologically frightening. It will also attack the human race mentally.
"And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle."
We here in America have never had to come under the attack of swarms and clouds of locust. But in the Middle East, when locust can all of a sudden come up and literally cloud out the sun, it is indeed a roar that can be heard in their coming. These things are going to be so numerous and huge, that the sound of their wings will sound like many chariots.
"And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails, and their power was to hurt men five months." It's beyond our comprehension isn't it?
"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon." Which really means the "Destroyer." Beyond that, we don't know who this angel is. It's not Satan I'm quite sure. But it could be one of his lieutenants. Now verse 12 says:
"One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter." If this isn't bad enough, there are still 2/3 of it left.
"And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, `Loose the four angels which are bound in the great rive Euphrates.'"
Why the Euphrates? If you remember back in Genesis Chapter 11, what took place on the Euphrates River? The Tower of Babel. And as I have stressed over the years, all pagan religions were instituted there. Every pagan, mystical religion that you read about or research has its roots at the Tower of Babel on the Euphrates River. Now evidently at the time that God scattered the human race or even later after Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, and some of the high priests of these pagan religions fled - I think somewhere back there God confined four of these powerful demonic beings who had been under Satan's rule, and they were bound in the area of the Euphrates River. Another thing I like to point out about the Euphrates is that the Euphrates River is the boundary between East and West. Have you ever thought of it that way? Religiously and you know I don't like that word, but religiously it's the same way. East of the Euphrates has always been predominantly your pagan, idolatrous religion. West of the Euphrates you have some of the other religions - like Judaism, even Mohammedism, and of course Christianity. So the Euphrates River is like the dividing line. These four angels now have been confined in that boundary area. And now verse 15, then we will have to continue in our next lesson.
"And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men."
In other words, God has kept them waiting for a particular hour of a particular day, of a particular month.
Now I read something the other day (and I'm always stressing how God is meticulous in His timing), about how the temple that was built by Solomon, was destroyed on the same day and month (naturally in a different year) by the Babylonians.
LESSON THREE * PART II
TRUMPET & BOWL JUDGMENTS: BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
In the last lesson, we were on verse 15 of Revelation Chapter 9. These are events that are going to happen. The Book of Revelation is totally different than any other portion of Scripture. When we taught the Book of Genesis, we just went verse by verse and chapter by chapter. You can do the same thing in the New Testament, but when you get to the Book of Revelation you can't do that. It would make absolutely no sense to just simply take the Book of Revelation and go verse by verse and chapter by chapter. But you must isolate the events into the beginning, middle, and end of the Tribulation. And why the Lord has seen fit to do this, I don't know. Except maybe to make us study. I can't see any other reason for it. He just wants to make sure that it's so simple that we don't have to study it. We have been jumping around a lot purposely so we can keep the continuity of the events rather than the chapter and verse. So in Chapter 9 verse 15, we have been following the trumpet judgment, I don't know how far apart the events are at this point in time, maybe within 6 months, but they will keep getting closer together.
When we get to final seven bowl judgments, there will be, I dare say, every month a new one striking the human race. Now in verse 15 where we left off, these angelic beings that God has confined in the area of the Euphrates River are now released. They were prepared for a specific role. Their role is to slay the third part of men. I was thinking the other day, how many million people lost their lives as a result of World War II. 50 million. That is civilian, and military combined. But that's just a drop in the bucket compared to what's going to happen here. Today, we have between 5 and 5 1/2 billion on the earth. Do you remember back in the sealed judgments when we first opened the Tribulation, by the end of the disease and pestilence, 1/4 of the population will be gone. That's over a billion people in a matter of two or three years. Within a matter of months the human race will lose 1/3 of the worlds population. And people can just go on their way and think nothing of being caught in these events. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Anyway, it's coming. I think the way these people are put to death is in the next verse.
"And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them."
Those of you who know your math, how many is that? Well, that's 200,000,000. Remember there is only one power on earth that brags about being able to put 200 million men on the field of battle, and that is China. They have over a billion people. I have to feel that this is what is referred to. I feel that this 200 million men army will be the Chinese along with probably a few of the other Orientals. And they are going to be making their way westward toward the Middle East. Also remember we will be in a period of time when God is again doing the supernatural. And we will see God's Sovereignty causing the Chinese authorities to send that army westward. As they do, I feel they will be like Sherman's march to the sea in the Civil War. What did he do? He destroyed everything in their path. I think this Chinese horde is just going to literally murder and mutilate and ravage the countryside as they move to the Middle East. And at this time there is still one great natural barrier. And that is the Euphrates River. The various bridges across that river today couldn't move that many men across it. So we will see in a future chapter that God will dry up the Euphrates River so that they won't need bridges, but simply walk across. Now verse 17:
"And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone."
This is probably ancient language for tanks and all of their fire power. So this is probably the modern warfare of today. Then these 200 million men and the weapons of war will kill many:
"By these three (fire, smoke and brimstone) was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths."
Also remember, take things scripturally, and many times it's spiritual. But on the other hand, many times it's logical. What percent of the population of this planet lives in the Orient? A good part of it. I've already mentioned that China alone has 1/4 of the population of the world. And India with it's masses and millions. Japan also has millions. So if this great army is indeed just killing as they go, you can see easily see where a third part of mankind will be killed.
"For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt." And again, take this language as modern warfare.
"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:" And here again, this is unique to the Orient. You have more idol worshippers in the Orient today than any other place on earth. All the areas of the east are still under idolatry.
"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."
There is an interesting little word buried in this verse that very few people catch. And it's unfortunate that the King James translator haven't caught it. And that word is `sorceries.' And it is from the Greek word Pharmakeia. Now think for a minute. What is the English word that comes from Pharmakeia? Pharmacy. And the main role of a pharmacy? Drugs. Now read it in that light:
"Neither repented they of their murders, their drugs, their immorality, or thefts."
What do you have in that verse? The drug culture. You have the typical drug culture. Because wherever you have drugs, as we are seeing in our inner cities, what do you have? Murder. Along with murder comes theft, because they have to rob and steal in order to support their habit. And as soon as people become involved in that kind of a wicked culture then morality means nothing. So their immorality gets more gross by the day. I'm in favor of the so called "War on Drugs," but it is a losing battle. The world is headed more and more toward that end. The drug culture and demon worship many times go hand in hand. You can hardly separate them. Drugs muddle the mind. Demon worship muddles the mind. So it is an interesting verse and you can see how readily it fits into our society already, but it will be even worse during this time. The world will be completely saturated with drugs and all the evils that go with it.
Now that is the sixth trumpet, and we need to skip over to Chapter 11 and verse 15 to pick up the seventh. Do you see why you can't take it verse by verse. We have to follow the events and then come back to pick up what we had to skip:
"And the seventh angel sounded: and there were great voices in heaven, saying, `The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.'"
Now put that all together in one thought. What is Christ going to reign over? The Kingdoms of this world are going to become the Kingdom of Christ. And again, it comes right back to what we showed in our last lesson. As you come out of the Tribulation it is the paying off of the curse; it's going to deliver the world from the curse. The earth is going to revert back as it was in the Garden of Eden. And in comes the Kingdom. The thing that is amazing is the reference in Matthew Chapter 4. We know Satan is powerful and cunning, but on the other hand you wonder how he can be so ignorant as to think he can still overcome The Christ. But he will never give up until his doom is sealed. Let's look at it in Matthew. This is the temptation of Jesus, after 40 days of fasting. You all know the account:
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the (what?) kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them:"
We are not talking about something out there that is ethereal or invisible. We are talking about the Kingdoms of this world. Now from this point in history, when Satan is dealing here with Jesus during the time of His earthly ministry, what great kingdoms have already come and gone? Some of the great Pharaohs of Egypt. And then the Babylonian Empire. And then the great Medes' and Persians' Empire. The great and glorious Empire of Greece. And now we are at the very epitome of Rome. And all of these great empires flourished. And Satan says, "Look back at the centuries of time and look ahead. All these Kingdoms are mine. I'll give them to you on one condition." And what was that condition? If Jesus would fall down and worship him. Now isn't that something? Evidently, Satan at that point in time did not understand or comprehend that Christ was going to have those Kingdoms. They are going to be His, and He is going to one day just obliterate them from view, and they will blow away like the dust of the summer threshing floor as Daniel says. And He will set up His own Kingdom. A glorious Kingdom. Can you imagine what this world would be like if it was totally ruled and reigned over by Satan, as it will one day be ruled by Christ! Satan is still held in check by God's checks and balances. Satan can only do so much. But never lose sight that he is the god of this world. He is in control, but is still under the Sovereign God. But when Christ sets up His Kingdom, His power is going to be absolute and total and it will be glorious. Back to Revelation Chapter 11. Since we are fast approaching the return of Christ to set up His Kingdom, here is the language again.
"...The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
I feel that this thousand years of Christ, which is delineated in Revelation as a thousand years, will just simply be the introduction to the eternal. In other words, when the thousand years of Kingdom rule has run it's course on the planet as we now know it back in the Garden of Eden situation, it too will be destroyed. It will be burned up by fire at the end of the millennium reign.
And then as I have mentioned before in Chapter 21 and 22 we have a new heaven and a new earth. But that new earth will again be the abode of those who have believed unto eternal life. I think it will be just an extension of the Kingdom economy. It will be an earth of tremendous production and activity. We won't be just sitting around getting bored or strumming on a harp. To me that wouldn't be heaven. Or just sitting around shouting `Alleluia,' although that will be part and parcel. I feel we will be intensely busy. Remember, God didn't create us to be idle. Did He? Why no! So when His Kingdom comes and He rules and reigns, yes it will be limited to the thousand years. But like I said, it will be interrupted for a little while, when the Great White Throne Judgment for the lost is conducted and then we will go into the eternal, I think based on that same pattern. Now verse 16:
"And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God," We have made reference to these 24 elders before in earlier lessons.
"Saying, `We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.'" And here it comes again.
"And the nations were angry (in their rebellion), and thy wrath is come (it's no longer love, mercy, and Grace), and the time of the dead (I think that's the spiritual dead), that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." In other words, God is going to deal with rebellious mankind. Now verse 19. These 24 elders are declaring that God is over all and will destroy those who have rebelled against Him. And it's coming close to the end of this seven-year period.
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament (or the ark of His Covenant): and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
Come back with me to the Book of Exodus Chapter 25. Remember here, Moses has just brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt and they are gathered around Mount Sinai. And now God is going to give them instructions for building their little place of worship, the tabernacle. Here the Lord is speaking to Moses.
"And let them (the Children of Israel) make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after (or according to) the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it."
A pattern is always from an original. So where is the original? It has to be in heaven. Now come back to the Book of Hebrews Chapter 9. The blueprint that God gave to Moses and Aaron was simply a pattern or a blue print patterned after the original which is in heaven. And it's the one in heaven we are going to see opened up in these closing days of the Tribulation in Revelation Chapter 11:19. But for now, Hebrews Chapter 9:
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (or creation); This tabernacle not built with human hands is in heaven. So now back to Revelation 11:19 and this is what we see. Reading the verse again.
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament (or Covenant): and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
As God continues His wrath upon mankind, that's the end of the seven trumpets. We have had all seven of them unfold after the mid-point of the Tribulation. Now we are probably within a year of the very end of the Tribulation. We need to come all the way over to Chapter 15 where we are introduced to the final seven judgments, called the vials in the King James Version, or the bowl judgments. Now the reason they are referred to as bowl judgments is this. Picture a soup bowl rather shallow, as compared to a Coke bottle. Now if you were going to pour out the contents of that soup bowl, what would be the time element compared to pouring out the contents of a narrow-necked Coke bottle? It's instantaneous! So these bowl judgments are not going to be dribbled out. But literally, the whole planet will receive this whole bowl judgment as one quick strike.
LESSON THREE * PART III
TRUMPET & BOWL JUDGMENTS: BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
Now let's again turn to Revelation Chapter 15, where we pick up the bowl judgments. And remember as we are nearing that last year of the Tribulation, these judgments will become more severe, and closer and closer together.
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues (this is the wind down); for in them is filled up (or is consummated, or finished) the wrath of God."
This is constantly emphasized. This is truly the wrath of God. There is no love here. And it is so refreshing to know that, as believers of the Gospel of Grace, we won't be here. We will be taken out before these things begin. We can read these things and not have to worry about having to endure them. He tells us that we have not been saved to His wrath! We have been saved from it.
And for any of you who know not the Lord, who have never experienced salvation, this is written for you as an instigation to get right with the Lord, because this is going to be a terrible time. We know that eternal Hell will be worse than this, because it will be without end, but nevertheless, these folks will have to go through all of this with the physical and emotional pain and suffering and no hope of escaping it. So it is written as a warning for the unbeliever to yet consider God's offer of salvation while the time is still available. Now in verse 2 we have a vision in heaven:
"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast (here we see the martyred Tribulation saints already present with the Lord in glory), and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."
It's a verse like this where people get the idea that all we will do when we get to heaven is strum a harp. That may be part of it. But it will be far more than that! Now an interesting verse:
"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,..."
Now those are two separate songs. Let's go back to the song of Moses. Turn to the Book of Exodus Chapter 15. Remember that Israel has just come through the Red Sea. They've looked back and seen the residue of all the floating Egyptian horsemen, chariots and everything else. From all practical aspects it wasn't a very pretty picture. But when Israel could look back on their years of slavery and mistreatment and sufferings, and then be able to see what had happened to their enemies, no wonder they could sing. So this is the song of Moses. And again this is (as I have made the analogy over and over as we have studied Revelation) such a repeat of that Exodus experience and dealing with the Pharaoh and the plagues, only on a far grander and greater scale. And here is another parallel. These Tribulation saints, who are now removed from their suffering and are in the presence of the Lord, they too will sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. We won't read it all because it's too long, but here is the gist of it. Verse 1:
"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, `I will sing unto the LORD (I remember when I was teaching up in Iowa, I had a class of young people on Saturday night, and the kids would bring their guitars and we would always sing songs before I would teach. And one of their favorite songs was based on the song of Moses), for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.'" And they continue on in their singing:
"The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation: my father's God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea." Now that is only a part of the song of Moses. Now come on down to verse 11, continuing the song:
"Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation."
Do you get the picture? They are singing that song of deliverance of redemption. That is the song of Moses. Now I would like for you to stop at Psalms Chapter 22. Here is a song of David, and David could also put his thoughts into songs. Which were always to God's glory. Words of praise and worship. This chapter is the chapter of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Come on down to verse 22:
"I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him: and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel."
Now turn on over to Psalms 86 and you will see more or less that same theme of worship and praise. This, of course, will be so appropriate for those in the very throne room of heaven, having come out of that horrible Tribulation experience.
"Among the gods (that is the gods of this world) there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works."
"All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee,..."
This song is being sung in Revelation just before the Lord returns to set up His Kingdom. Do you see how appropriate all of this is? We will study about that when we get a little further into the Second Coming of Christ and the setting up of His Kingdom.
"...O Lord: and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell,"
Do you see the praise and exalting of that song? Now back to Revelation and this is exactly what they are going to be singing and proclaiming here in the very presence of God. Now verse 3:
"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, `Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways (remember I've told you that God isn't being unfair), thou King of saints.'"
"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee (it has never happened yet, but it will!): for thy judgments are made manifest."
"And after that I (John) looked, and , behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:" We saw that happen before back in Chapter 11.
"And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues (now here is your final bowl judgments), clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles."
"And one of the four beasts (or creatures. We referred to them early in the Book of Revelation. They are angelic beings) gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials (or bowls) full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever." This is a symbolic picture again of how this wrath will be poured out.
"And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled."
Now here they come, one right after the other. Each one will be more severe then the previous one, leading up to the very battle of Armageddon. And the bringing of the nations to the Middle East. But first, Chapter 16, verse l:
"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials (or bowls) of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first (angel) went, and poured out his vial (bowl) upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore (or boil, remember Egypt) upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image."
Now remember the mark of the beast (and we talked about in an earlier lesson), this is where people cannot buy or sell or do any kind of business unless they have the mark in their right hand or forehead. So just about the whole world will come under this plague of miserable boils. Now verse 3:
"And the second angel poured out his vial (bowl) upon the sea (I think this is possibly the oceans as we know them); and it became as (liken unto) the blood of a dead man; and every living soul (creatures and fish) died in the sea." Can you imagine what that does to the shores and ocean? We talk about pollution. We know nothing of pollution as it's going to be here.
"And the third angel poured out his vial (bowl) upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood."
This is literal blood. Remember again, the Egyptians had to dig fresh water wells and tried to get fresh water that way. Here, God is going to turn all drinkable water into blood. Why blood? Again look at the human race tonight. They are blood-thirsty. I've always put it this way: God created Adam a human being, but as soon as Adam became a sin creature, he became inhuman. And all you have to do is look at your newspaper tonight, and what has mankind become? He has, I think, become an inhuman being. There is not another species on earth that misuses their own species as man does. You don't see anything in the wild kingdom that torments its own. Only man. I suppose according to the Jerusalem Post that the Syrian are the masterminds on torture. They can dream up things that no one else can dream up. We use to think that Iraq was the best at this, but the Syrian puts them in the shade in torturing people. Man has intrinsic ability to somehow be blood thirsty. So God is saying here, "Alright, you've been blood thirsty now for 6000 years, now drink it." And it becomes a plague.
"And I heard the angel of the waters say, `Thou art righteous (Even the angels will never come back and say, "God, why are you doing this." Instead they say, "You are righteous God. They are getting exactly what they deserve."), O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.'" Now here is what we are talking about:
"For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy."
History tells us that during the dark ages (that period of time between about 500 to 1500 AD - that period before the reformation), in that thousand years of human history, it is estimated that at least 50 million Christians were put to death. Many of them horrible deaths. We can't even imagine, and yet they did it gladly for their faith. Bring it up to recent history. Again, during the seventy years that communism reigned and ruled Russia, also about 50 million people were put to death. By their own government! Indeed, they have shed the blood of saints.
"And I heard another out of the altar say, `Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.'"
Do you see the emphasis here? I know the first thing that we humanly think is, God isn't being fair. After all, why does this one generation have to come under such terrible cataclysmic events? It's this generation that is just simply bringing to a head everything that the previous generations have been sowing the seed of. And God has always done that. Remember the verse that contains the Ten Commandments? "And I will visit down to the third and fourth generation." That's the way God does things. Now verse 8:
"And the fourth angel poured out his vial (bowl) upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire (or intense heat)."
Go back for a moment to Isaiah Chapter 13. Because I always like to help people realize, that there are some groups who think that Revelation shouldn't even be in our Bible. But always remember, it still fits with all the rest of the Old Testament. Let's start at verse 9:
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, (now this is Isaiah written approximately 700 years before Christ), to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it." Now here it comes in verse 10:
"For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible."
And in another place, the earth will be moved in and out of its orbit. And our scientists tells us if the earth was to tilt just two degrees off of what is normal, the earth would either burn up with heat, or would freeze up in the cold. So during that time the weather will be almost out of control. We are already seeing just a little bit of it, the bizarre weather around the world. Let's come back to Revelation. I would like to finish the sixth bowl judgment and then be ready for the battle of Armageddon in our next lesson. So now let's look at verse 10:
"And the fifth angel poured out his vial (bowl) upon the seat of the beast (Anti-christ in the city of Jerusalem); and his kingdom (world-wide) was full of darkness (don't forget this also happened in Egypt); and they gnawed their tongues for pain,"
"And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up (why?), that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."
So the Euphrates River will be as dry as a bone. And that last obstacle will be removed for the 200 million-man army to come to Jerusalem.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
TRUMPET & BOWL JUDGMENTS: BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
Now to Revelation 16. We studied the last 6 terrible judgments that will be coming upon the earth. I'm going to stop before we get to number 7 for a reason. After the sixth bowl had been poured out, which was the drying up of the Euphrates River so the armies can come into the Middle East from the Far East, John says in verse 13:
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth (communications) of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet."
Satan, who is now indwelling the Anti-christ, will make contact probably by phone with all the national leaders still in place. He will ask for their armies to come to the Middle East to get rid of the real problem of mankind, the Jew (what Hitler called the final solution). I look at this final gathering of the nations at Armageddon as Satan's attempt once and for all to annihilate the Jewish people. But it's really going to end up, Satan against The Christ.
"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
When President Bush was putting together the nations in Desert Storm, the papers said he would just pick up the phone and call the leaders of the various nations. Using only phone calls, he was literally getting these leaders convinced they should unify against Iraq. That was just a little tiny preview of what we have right here. Now verse 15, and The Sovereign God is behind it:
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." In other words, the Lord is reminding us that it is time for His appearance at the Second Coming, but before He does that:
"And he gathered them together (this is the power of a Sovereign God working through, of course, the mind set of the Anti-christ who puts out the call to the nations to come to Jerusalem) in a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon."
From which the word Megiddo comes. Another word is Esdraelon. And if you go to Israel as we did last spring, that is one of the tourist attractions. You will see the archaeological digs of the ancient city of Megiddo. When you stand on the hills of Megiddo amongst all the ruins of that ancient city, you can look off to the northeast and there is that beautiful flat valley. The Nation of Israel is predominately mountainous. You have these valley areas between the mountain ranges. The reason I'm pointing this out is that when God brings the armies of the world to Israel, naturally they will put their encampments on those valley floors. And this area of the valley of Esdraelon has been a battlefield throughout time. The place had great strategic importance, since it commanded the pass through the mountains between the plains of Sharon and Esdraelon. There have been hundreds of battles fought here. So he will bring the nations of the world to the Middle East. Now I know there is not a bit of military intelligence connected to it, but you must remember we are dealing with a Sovereign God and He is going to cause those generals to pack their troops into these valleys, beyond description. They will be in there like sardines in a can, because a Sovereign God is forcing the issue.