Study 6 – More Countries Involved and Events During the Great Tribulation
There are two more nations worth mentioning as for countries that are going to be involved in the End Time scenario. One of whom is just a name mentioned, but we can see directly which country that is. Another of which we can see will play a major role in Armageddon.
Iran. This is another nation that is mentioned as coming down with Gog in Ezekiel 38:5. Persia is mentioned by name, and it is mentioned at the beginning of a small list of accompanying nations. This place usually indicates a place of pre-eminence, like it will be a leader. Some teachers see Iran as starting s conflict with Israel, then dragging Russia on down them as Russia is a strong ally. So Iran could also have a prominent role in the End Time Events.
Currently, this nation has extremists in their leadership, and is suspected in building an atomic bomb. They admit they have several centrifuges creating atomic grade material. Many nations do not trust Iran and would like to do an embargo against Iran so they will stop building these centrifuges. But, you have their ally Russia is putting a hold on the United Nations from doing that. The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, makes his intentions clear that he wants to annihilate Israel. He denies the Holocaust and is very anti-Semitic. He is very Shi’ite Muslim in his beliefs, and holds to the belief in the return of the 12th Imam. According to Shi’ite Muslim teaching, the 12th Imam will return at the end of time and rule for 7 years. They believe that there will be a time of violence that brings the 12th Imam back. Many believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will create this violent period in which the Imam can return. A friendly nation Iran is not. Even though there are several people in the country who are for the U.S., those who are in authority see the U.S. as the ‘Great Satan’. In the war on terror that is occurring in the Middle East, several weapons of Iranian origin have been found, or used, by the terrorists. So even though Iran is not directly involved in terror, somewhere from inside the government they are exporting weapons of destruction and also helping by training many terrorists. The U.S. does not even trust Iran. On 2/1/10 the guardian.co.uk had an article in which it said “Tension between the US and Iran heightened dramatically today with the disclosure that Barack Obama is deploying the missile shield to protect American allies in the Gulf from attach by Tehran.” He sent over several Patriot defensive missiles. Iran is set up now as one of the strongest powers in the region. They have a sufficient military, and they are growing technologically. They have military satellites in space, and in February 2009 they launched their own rocket into space. That makes them 1 of only 9 nations in the world that have accomplished that feat.
China. There are two passages in Revelation that warn us of a large army going into the Middle East from the East. Rev. 16:12 “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East”. Then in Rev 9:14-16 we find out the size of that army to be 200 million, “It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number”. From putting these two passages together, it looks like a large army is going to be coming from the East to cross the Euphrates River and go into the Middle East. This will be a very hostile time, as we see that a third of mankind will be killed.
Looking at modern times, this could very easily be China, which is the most populous nation in the world, being about 1.3 billion people. They have the size to be able to build a 200 million person army. But don’t worry; they are not near that amount now. It is a Communist nation; it only has one political party that controls the nation very tightly. Because their population is so large, they limit couples in most of the country to one child only. So many women are forced to have abortions if they get pregnant again. Another problem with this is that it causes couples to have sex selective abortion, meaning many girls are aborted because boys have greater earning potential to help their parent in their old age. Because of this, I found on the Yahoo! News on 1/11/10 that “More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses in 2020.” That could cause a lot of frustrated and angry young men. China exerts great power in the United Nations, by being 1 of only 5 veto-wielding permanent members. They already have several nuclear weapons. China is also currently putting more money into and building up their military. They are getting this money because the world is buying the goods they are selling. This gives them the financial means to build their military stronger. Their people have more freedom to gain money by capitalistic ventures, but the country is getting a lot of this money through taxes. They are also buying bonds from the U.S. They are increasing in their ability in space. On January 11, 2007, China flexed some technical knowledge by destroying a useless satellite just to show that they could. This goes to show that any satellites of other nations are not safe as China can shoot them down. China is also only the third country to put a man in space. Something they have done a few other times as well. It is a nation well known for their human rights violations. They are accused of using their prisoners as free laborer in manufacturing as well as selling their organs. These are just some of the things that are looked at to see where China could be setting up as the “Kings of the East” that go to wipe out several people in the world.
The United States
There is one more modern nation of significance I would like to talk about, the United States. This nation is currently the strongest in military and finances in the world. It is a nation that many people look up to in the world today. So if End Time Bible Prophecy is occur in our lifetime, this nation would have to figure somewhere in it. But when the Bible was written, the United States didn’t exist; the people who wrote the Bible didn’t even know that the North American continent even existed. So the question is; does the Bible mention the United States somewhere? And if it doesn’t mention the United States directly, is there any indirect reference to it? Well, many people have searched the scriptures diligently looking for it. Some have even thought that they might have found a reference in some scripture about eagles. But nothing has been definitely found. There are no direct or indirect references to the U.S. in the Bible. So something bad has to happen to the U.S. to make it a non-factor in End Time events, because the U.S. is currently the strongest nation in the world. This is not unusual from history, has there have been many nations that have been the strongest in the world that are either no longer in existence, or are no longer a significant power. We do not know if the End Times are going to happen in our lifetimes or not. One of a few things would have to happen to bring this nation down. Some possibilities: The United States is completely annihilated by a nuclear confrontation; another country(s) stages war against the United States and overtakes it: Something internal happens that brings the country down to insignificance. Any of these, or other, ways, either the United States won’t be in existence or will be an insignificant nation in the world. There is a possibility that it could still be a strong nation, but not participate in the wars at the end of the age. But the wars will be so major; this nation would have to be a part of it somehow. So the following is speculation as to what could happen to decrease the importance of the United States
In an effort to boost the economy and get more money circulating, last year our national leaders passed a massive spending bill which gives trillions of dollars to the Federal government to spend. This is more money than all past Presidents combined have spent. This massive spending bill also had about 8,500 additional projects added onto it by our Congress. To pay for this the treasure is printing much more money than has been printed in the past. History shows us that when a government has done this that this has caused a lot of inflation to occur in the nation. To help all that money have some real backing, the government of China has purchased about 1 trillion dollars of US Bonds. Thus putting us deep in debt, and making us pay interest, to a totalitarian nation who is working to become a superpower and is completely against our political system. Not only are they an enemy of the United States way of life, but they are well known for human rights violations. Currently in the world, the US Dollar is the main currency used in several transactions around the world, thus being the predominant global currency. The current policies the government is using is weakening the US Dollar to where some nations are urging to use a different currency as the global currency. Even China doesn’t want to buy any more US bonds because they are concerned they are being devalued and they won’t be able to get their money back. Economically, this nation is getting this nation deeper in debt than it has ever been which is complicated by this being a time that is being called the worst recession since the Great Depression. Currently the deficit is estimated to be over $12 trillion dollars. This is much worse than it has ever been in the history of the U.S.
The government is looking to do two more things. They are looking to take over healthcare for the country. Whereas many people see this as a good thing to provide healthcare for everyone, many other people see this as costing more so as to raise taxes, and also that several medical professionals will leave the profession because of the added burdens they will have to bear. These burdens will be put on a business that already sees a shortage of doctors and nurses. They also want to do what is called ‘Cap and Trade’. That is to increase the cost of utilities to get people to seek to build and use alternate energy sources. The biggest thing this will do is increase charges for the average person.
This nation’s military is seen as the most advanced and strongest in the world. Yet, even though this current administration has raise the amount spent in about everything they can, the amount of the budget set aside for the military has decreased and have cut some programs that will give us more advanced weaponry. It would keep the military using aging hardware. In what he is doing, they could thereby bring down our military to military levels of other countries of the world. It is also bringing down moral in the military because he is not showing support, although he talks that he does. He has also recently stopped the proposed missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. This would prevent protection from first strikes from Russia, Iran and other nearby nations. This at a time when Iran is believed to have nuclear weapons they can put on their missiles, and North Korea is known to have nuclear weapons and are testing their missiles by sending some over Japan. By removing the commitment to install these defense systems, it makes Russia happy, as they have wanted our country to not build these. It also harms our credibility with our new allies in the area, who were depending on us to protect them from aggression from Russia.
I am sorry if I sound too political on this next point, but I feel the need to share some things about our current President, whom several Christians do not trust. So please bear with me if you are a supporter of what he is doing.
Our new President is a man who wants to make some major changes in this nation. For one thing, he wants to pull our troops out of Iraq. This is a war that we are winning. I am not saying this is a war we should be in, but we already have a commitment that is slowly paying dividends for the Iraqi people. The President would sound retreat and pull our troops out within a specific time frame, thereby emboldening our enemies and preparing them for the exact time our troops would pull out. This complete withdrawal would also harm Iraq more by pulling away our troops who are fighting to free them from tyranny.
Financially, he wants to raise taxes. Several experts agree this would slow down any growth the nation needs, especially in this time when the nation is in a deep recession. He speaks against the capitalistic values that built this nation. Because of the financial problems that started in this nation before he became President, the government has already purchased some stock in several major banking institutions. He has given even more. Since the government owns some major financial institutions, he was able to fire a bank President. This is something no other United States President has ever done, because they have never had the authority. Because of the problems with the major auto manufacturers, he has favored and gotten a Federal bailout of these companies also, which includes some ownership of these corporations going to the United States federal government. The government now owns 60% of General Motors. As a part of this purchase, the government has not made sure that some entities that are owed money were paid back properly. Instead, they used their authority to give a good percentage of the companies to the Unions, whom financially support the Democrat Party. In all of this, he is setting up a Socialist way of the government by running companies instead of keeping them in private hands, and by doing what he wants to do instead of going by current contracts. He verbally attacks the greed in major companies. He even complained that the presidents of the auto makers flied to meetings while using corporate jets. He points his fingers at corporations as being bad and against the people. This tactic of pointing fingers at others as being bad or evil is a tactic that other radicals, like the Bolsheviks, have used before when overturning the system and setting up one of their own, many of which end up being worse than the first ones. There is a current book out, ‘Rules for Radicals’, by Saul Walensky, that support this technique. The President appears to be using this tactic. And look at what our government, at the President’s urging, has recently done. On March 21, 2010, they passed the Health Care Bill. Now our government can tell the Health Insurance companies what they can, and cannot, do. Some people say that this is setting up the government to eventually take over health care, because it could make it too difficult for companies to earn a profit, which they need to stay afloat and pay their employees.
The President’s speeches have implied that he is more interested in downgrading the US so we are not a threat, since we are such a mean nation as he says. On a European tour he took last year several commentators said that he did a lot of apologizing for this country in his speeches while there. This President is apparently doing things to weaken this country which could easily diminish it from being a superpower. Thus, he is setting up this country for the last scenario in the first paragraph. So by him being our President, he is helping to set up the United States to be in a much clearer position to fit the End Times events happening in our lifetime. That is, the United States would be much weaker than it has been, and it would be on an even par, financially and militarily, with other nations in the world. Thus, we could probably be an ally of Europe, out of which could come the Revived Roman Empire, since President Obama most appreciates their way of governing, and it looks like he wants to pattern our government after them. Not saying these things will happen, but the possibilities are there for this nation to collapse from within.
EVENTS DURING THE TRIBULATION
Whereas we have talked about some things that are going to happen within the Tribulation Period, there are three events in particular we will focus on here. There are three judgments that God will be doing that are signified by 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, and 7 Bowls. After each of these, significant events will occur. These are what we are going to look at next.
7 Seals Rev. 5 – 8
These seals are found on a scroll. This scroll represents the secret events that are held back for the End of the Age. The only one who is found worthy to open the scroll is the lamb, who is Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God who died for the sins of all who will accept Him. When these seals are opened, they set in motion events that will happen in the End of the Age. God is revealing these events that will happen at the End of the Age.
The First Four Seals – The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
These four horsemen represent a picture of man’s inhumanity to man. They appear to be a prediction of the affairs of man which will cause much human suffering. This isn’t something new. When man is in control of affairs of this world there is a history of causing his fellow humans much suffering with false hopes of peace, followed by war, famines and death.
After the First Seal is opened, a white horse appears. Its rider had a bow, was given a crown and rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. Several people believe this rider to be Jesus Himself because in Rev. 19 we see Jesus coming on a white horse with many crowns. The conquering He does is not being physical war, but spiritual war. I lean towards Billy Graham’s belief, that the rider is the Antichrist. He is coming in deception, which is the way he gains power. The rider has a bow, a symbol of aggressive warfare. But there are no arrows, meaning that he will conquer by diplomacy. Nonetheless, he is a “conqueror bent on conquest”, greedily riding roughshod over all who stand in his way in his lust for power. The crown worn here in the Greek is stephanos, or the crown of a victor in battle. But the crowns worn by Jesus in Rev. 19 are diadema, or crowns of royalty. So the Antichrist is going to be at the beginning of the Tribulation, looking like a man of peace, but aiming on great conquest.
When the Second Seal is opened, a fiery red horse came out. Its rider had a large sword, and he takes peace away from the earth by making men kill each other. Many have seen this wars being fought between men. But this doesn’t say ‘war’, just men slaying each other. This could be things like persecution or gangs rising up. Currently there is less peace in Mexico because of the drug cartels killing police and civilians. The Antichrist will look like a man of peace, but shortly after he gets power, that peace will go away.
The Third Seal is opened and out comes a black horse and its rider had a pair of scales, and now food prices have shot way up. This is going to show a great famine is going to come. With the coming of the third horse, Jesus shows how the great deception leads to wars and fighting’s, and the wars and fighting’s lead to famine and pestilence. There just won’t be as much food to go around. And when something is low in supply, the price will go way up. When the Apostle John wrote this book, a denarius was a day’s wage. In normal times, this could purchase 16 quarts of wheat. But with this famine, 1 denarius would only buy 1/16 of what it should be able to buy. Talk about a huge inflation of prices! With famines of this magnitude, there are going to be a lot of people dying for lack of food and lack of being able to buy it.
Then the Fourth Seal is opened and out comes Death himself, riding on a pale horse, followed by Hades. These had the power to kill ¼ of the world’s population by sword, famine, plague and wild beasts. The world’s population has been recently estimated at 6.8 billion people. That means around 1.7 billion people will die or be killed during this period. After WWI there was a great famine. So it makes sense that after the wars and fighting’s caused by the rider of the Red Horse that a great famine will happen. With all the diseases there are in the world, physically weakened people would set the stage for outbreaks of plagues, causing many deaths. It looks like even wild animals will join in the killing. This could be people doing the killing, because in Daniel some kingdoms are pictured as beasts. There will be worldwide death like this planet has never seen.
After all of this death and suffering, the Fifth Seal is opened. Then from under God’s altar come the souls of those who were killed for their faith in Jesus. This could be the same people as in Rev. 7:9, which describes “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language”. There will be a lot of Christians who lose their lives during the beginning of this period. These will cry out to God to avenge their loss of life. But God, who knows the beginning from the end, will tell them that the time is not completed yet. For God knows that this is just the beginning of this wicked time.
When the Sixth Seal is opened, God does pour out judgment upon the earth. There are major catastrophes throughout the earth. There was a great earthquake. The sun was blackened and the moon turned blood red. These last two could be indicators of volcanoes. Like when Krakatau exploded on August 27, 1883 in Indonesia. The sun was blotted out and volcanic ash seemed to make the moon look red. The bible also speaks that stars will fall, which could be meteors. Other cosmic disturbances will be occurring. Mankind will be hiding in caves and rocks of mountains to avoid God, because they know that this is His judgments happening to them. Yet they will not repent of their evil. More things happen before the 7th Seal is opened.
When the Seventh Seal is opened, there is silence in Heaven for about half an hour. Heaven is shocked at all that has happened. Yet this is just the calm before the storm. The 7 angels standing before God are given trumpets. Next up are the trumpet judgments.