In our previous study we finished by seeing what happened when the Lamb opened up the 7 Seals on the scroll. We will continue this where we left off, the opening of the 7th Seal. When the 7th Seal is opened there dead silence for about a half an hour. Then we see 7 angels standing before God; each one of them was given a trumpet.
This is also a time when we see what happens to some of the prayers of believers. One angel has a golden censor filled with incense. He offers this incense along with the prayers to God on his altar. This probably shows that even though many Christians will be killed during the beginning of the tribulation, there will still be some who find a way to stay alive and so continue to go through the Tribulation period.
7 TRUMPETS – Rev 8:6 – 11:19
With the 7 Seal judgments, we see a lot of damage that mankind does to himself after the Antichrist comes into power. But now with the 7 Trumpets we see a lot of what looks like natural catastrophes occurring; this is apparently judgment direct from God. Mind you, these could be caused by weapons that mankind has already developed but we just haven’t heard about yet. They could also be nuclear weapons that we are already aware of, which we know can cause massive damage. When John wrote Revelation in the First Century, nothing was known about nuclear war. So this could be John’s attempt at explaining what nuclear war would look like. It could also be God’s way of showing John a nuclear war and but giving it to him in images that John could describe. However you look at this, it does look like nature itself will be rising up in judgment against mankind.
When the First Trumpet blasts, hail and fire mixed with blood will come pouring down from the skies. This causes one third of the trees along with the green grass on the earth to be burnt up. So a lot of what makes this earth beautiful will be burnt up. This is not the first time that fire came from heaven. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone (Gen 19:1-29); also through Moses God sent down the plague of hail mixed with lightening (Ex. 9:13-26). Even the prophet Joes predicted this, along with some other trumpet judgments. Joel 2:30-31: “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” So this is not a New Testament concept.
Then the Second Trumpet blasts. It looks like a great mountain that is on fire is cast into the sea. Then one third of the sea became blood, causing one third of the animals to die. But it not only affects nature, because one third of the ships are destroyed. This ‘great mountain’ could easily be a meteor that will come blasting through the atmosphere. This is something that scientists are concerned about today; a large meteor striking the earth. Scientists speculate that a large meteor strike is what killed the dinosaurs. We know a lot of small meteors hit the earth each day. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) currently has a program called NEAR-EARTH ASTEROID TRACKING (NEAT) whose mission is to look for asteroids before they can strike the earth. They tracked a small asteroid that came real close on February 15, 2013, only about 17,200 miles away. It not only came much closer to us than the moon, but it could have taken out some weather and communication satellites as it came closer than the geosynchronous orbit these man-made satellites are in. The sea that is mentioned here could be the Mediterranean Sea;
it is not a reference to all of the oceans. The waves caused from the meteor impacting the sea could cause waves that destroy the ships, and a chemical reaction from the meteor is what could occur to turn the sea red and kill the animals. There are several ships in that sea. The U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently stationed in the Mediterranean Sea; along with the fleets of several other nations.
The Third Trumpet blasts; then what is probably another bright meteor, or maybe even a comet, comes down to strike the earth. This one must just hit at the right spot, and go deep, because it pollutes the water supply of one third of the rivers. Many people who depend upon those rivers will die from a lack of good clean drinking water. But this could be a manmade weapon that we do not know about. There are many countries that have biological weapons, which could are also known as a poor man’s nuclear weapon. This does not necessarily talk about one third of the rivers of the entire earth, but could be talking about one third of the rivers in the Middle East, or another region. A country could send one of these missiles to a place that could pollute many rivers. Gen. 2:10-14 talks about a river that watered the Garden of Eden. From there, this river was divided into 4 rivers; Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates. There still could be a location inside the earth that could be targeted which would pollute these, or other, major rivers at one time.
Then an angel blows the Fourth Trumpet and all of the luminous bodies in the sky will be affected. The sun, moon and stars will all lose one third of their light. It is interesting to see that it was on the fourth day of creation that God created the sun, moon and stars. So the same God that created these lights can also diminish them by one third. This seems to reflect the same kind of darkness that occurred during the 9th plague on Egypt in Exodus 10. It also appears to be a fulfillment of a prediction by Jesus in Luke 21:25-26, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Our finite minds can hardly imagine what forces will be unleashed upon the earth in this judgment.
You think these judgments are bad? After the fourth trumpet, an eagle, or an angel, goes flying through the midst of heaven to warn that the next three trumpet judgments will be even worse. These three trumpet judgments are known as the three woes.
The Fifth Trumpet blows, then what must be an angel appearing as a star comes to the earth and receives the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opens the Abyss, a dark smoke comes out that darkens the sun and the moon. But that’s not the only thing that comes out of the Abyss; locusts also come out that have a powerful sting, like a scorpion. These locusts could be fallen angelic beings, or cherubim’s, that mankind cannot see. This could also be symbolic for a chemical weapon that someone sends that would cause a great explosion and release a plague. We do not know exactly what this symbolizes. Whatever these locusts are, they will not harm the earth. Instead, they will sting those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, and their sting will torture these people for 5 months. The pain will be so bad that they will want to die, yet they will not be able to. It gives further description of these locusts, which no one can truly understand. The locusts even have a leader who name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon, which means, Destroyer. This is only the first woe.
Something about the people who have the seal of God who do not have to bear this torture; these could be all of the Christians who are still alive during that time, showing that there are not too many. But it could also be only the 144,000 Israelites that are mentioned in Rev 7 and 14. Christians who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture believe that these 144,000 are evangelists; these are people who come to faith in the Lord after the Rapture. This is speculation because Revelation only speaks of the 144,000 being sealed from harm, not that they scattered throughout the world and do any evangelizing. What we do know for sure, is that they are all Hebrews, 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel. This is a mystery itself how God will know this, because today’s Jews get their name from the Kingdom of Judah. Ancient Israel for many years was split into 2 Kingdoms; Israel, which had 10 tribes and Judah, which had 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin. But in 722 B.C. the Assyrians destroyed the northern Kingdom of Israel and took the people into captivity. History doesn’t say much about them after that. This is why they are called the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Today’s Jews can mostly be traced back to only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Whereas the Kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians around 587 B.C., they did stay a separate people and were able to return there in 538 B.C. So because ten of the tribes are not accounted for, we do not know how God will know how to separate these tribes of Israel from the rest of the world. Some people refer to the Tribulation as the time of Jacob’s trouble, because Jeremiah 30:7b states “It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.” So these could be the Jews who come to faith in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, during the Tribulation. But they are not just any Israelites, because of Revelation 14:4a “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.” If we take this literally, these 144,000 are men who never married, and never committed fornication. If this is not taken literally, then it could be understood to be followers of Christ who do not fall into following the Antichrist. We can see that these 144,000 are people who have been sanctified and justified before God; they are not hypocrites. Another problem I have with these people being evangelists is that we see in Revelation 14:3 “And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” I am no theologian and cannot go back to the original text, but this implies that these 144,000 are the only people who were saved during this period. But, of course, this could also mean that these 144,000 were found to be special, so that is the reason only they could learn this new song.
The Sixth Trumpet blasts. This angel is commanded by a voice in the golden altar of God to release the 4 angels who are bound at the Euphrates River. During the previous woe men were tortured but not killed. But these four angels will release troops numbering 200 million that will kill one third of the remaining people. Back when this was written, I am sure it was quite difficult to imagine an army this size. Because there were only an estimated 300 million people in the world at that time. Today we know that the population has greatly multiplied in the last couple of centuries. China at this time has the population to be able to have that many people in an army, little alone if they could get some allies to join them. The Euphrates River is in the Middle East, a major part of it is in Iraq. This river is directly between China and Israel. God will allow this river to be dried up so this huge 200 million man army to cross it in order to reach Israel; which is the main country that God is dealing with in this period. We won’t get into the description of this army given in Rev 9:17-19. This army will kill one third of the people. Despite that, people will not repent of their sins and turn to God. Time limits discussion of a few more events that occur before the 7th Trumpet sounds.
Similar to the 7th Seal, the Seventh Trumpet is more of a preparation for what is next. A loud voice in heaven declares “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” The 24 Elders, who are before God’s throne, worship the Creator of the universe; know that God is taking His rightful place on earth. They know it is time for God’s wrath to be poured out, for His saints to receive their rewards, and for those who destroy the earth to be destroyed. Then the temple of God is opened. In it we see the Ark of the Covenant (the lost ark for you Indiana Jones fans) where the original Ten Commandments, which were written by the finger of God, are in. Out of the temple come flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. This shows that God is coming and moving in His power and might.
7 BOWL JUDGEMENTS OF GOD’S WRATH (Rev 15-16)
Now comes the wrath of God. If the Pre-Wrath Rapture view is correct, somewhere after the 6th Trumpet and before the 1st Bowl is poured out is when Christians will be taken up from the earth. So the surviving Christians could be taken away before these bowls are poured out; because God has not appointed Christians to suffer His wrath. 1 Thes. 5:9, For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Surviving Christians have been through enough, they won’t have to go through this time of wrath. Whereas we have seen where some of the judgments harm a large portion of the earth; we will now see the wrath of God that will be poured out over the entire earth.
When the First Bowl is poured out, ugly and painful sores will come upon those who have the mark of the beast and have worshipped his image. These sores do not necessarily have to be explained supernaturally. People could see it as an infection due to the mark, maybe they are sores that are due to the radio frequencies use to read them, or there could be some other complication of having the mark. This judgment will come in the 2nd half of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist will have seated himself in the Temple in Jerusalem and proclaimed himself as the Christ. People will have worshipped him as the Christ, so God’s wrath will be poured out only on them. This passage does indicate that there will be people who have not taken the mark. So either this means that the Rapture will not have happened so that Christians will still be around for this, or there will be people in the world who have not taken the mark even though they have not accepted Jesus either. There could also be areas on the earth that are not under the Antichrist’s kingdom and therefore have not had to take the mark of the beast.
When the Second Bowl is poured out on the sea, the sea then turns to blood and kills every living thing; meaning both animals and plants. After the 2nd Trumpet, one third of the sea turned to blood, but this bowl includes the entire sea; whether this is all of the oceans or just the Mediterranean Sea. With all the animals dead, this would create a terrible stench and potential disease throughout the area. This could also interfere with commercial shipping. Can you imagine several large, dead animals floating on the surface of the water?
The Third Bowl is poured out over the rivers and springs of water, and they turn to blood. This will destroy the drinking water that is so desperately needed to survive. If people don’t drink water for 3 days we will die, so think of the panic and confusion that will be happening as people are seeking this essential requirement of life. God also gives us the reason for this; the angel proclaims in Rev 15:5b-6 “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” Early in his reign the Antichrist killed a lot of Christians, so he and those in his kingdom are given blood to drink as judgment against him.
The angel pours the Fourth Bowl over the sun, and a great heat comes out of it that scorches people with fire. We have all gone through heat waves, but this will be hotter and more miserable than those we have endured. Add to that the fact that the waters are turned to blood, so people won’t be able to get the needed water that is needed; this will make for a most miserable time. They won’t have the water they need to cool off and stay properly hydrated. But through all this, the Bible says that mankind still won’t repent of their sins and glorify God. Through all of the problems the earth has gone through, the stubbornness of mankind will still prevent them from coming to God.
The Fifth Bowl is poured over the throne of the Antichrist; then a great darkness overtakes the land. His kingdom goes from fiery heat to a dreadful darkness. Mankind is still in pain from the sores from the First Bowl, so much that they are gnawing their tongues because of the agony that they are suffering from. I am sure that after so much agony, they have run out of pain relievers. They have turned even more against God by cursing the one who sits on the throne, and they still will not repent of their evil. It is like Pharaoh in Moses’ time; even though all those dreadful judgments came against him, he just hardened his heart even more against God.
The Sixth Bowl is poured over the Euphrates River to dry it up so the kings of the East can easily cross through it on their way to the battle of Armageddon. The kings of the east could be China, the 200 million man army mentioned in Rev. 9:16. Armageddon probably refers to the valley of Megiddo. This is an area in Israel that has had several forts built in the past to guard the Via Maris, which was an ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. This location has seen various ancient battles. Now it could be the site of the final battle of mankind. The 3 spirits that look like frogs will come out of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. They spirits will go throughout the world performing miracles while they draw the rest of the world to fight with the Antichrist’s armies in the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
The Seventh Bowl is poured out into the air. A voice from Heaven cries, ‘It is done!’ Then flashes of lightening, rumblings, thunder and a severe earthquake occurred. This earthquake will be more devastating than any this world has ever known as it looks like it goes throughout the whole world. The strongest earthquake recorded was a 9.5 in Valdivia, Chile, on May 22, 1960. They recorded local tsunamis up to 82 ft. It sent tsunami’s throughout the Pacific Ocean. These tsunamis devastated Hilo, Hawaii. Even 6,200 miles away, in Japan and the Philippines, they recorded waves as high as 35 ft. This earthquake in Revelation will be so powerful that the great city, (Babylon? Jerusalem?,) is split into three. But that is not all. Hailstones weighing about 100 pounds come crashing down onto the earth. Imagine the devastation that will cause. But instead of turning to God in repentance, people will be cursing God because of the plague of hail.
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON. Rev. 19:11-21
Jesus Himself will come down from Heaven on a white horse. Rev 19:11b says “With justice he judges and wages war.” The robe He wears is dipped in blood, because it is His blood that He shed on the cross at Calvary by which we are redeemed unto God. He will be followed by the armies of Heaven who are also riding upon white horses and are dressed in fine white linen; indicating that they are cleansed and forgiven of all of their sin. This army from God will meet the Antichrist and the other kings of the earth in the Valley of Megiddo. The Antichrist and his armies will actually think that they can defeat the God of creation in combat. But the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be taken alive and be thrown into a fiery lake of burning sulfur. They are actually the first ones to be thrown into that fire, or Hell. Satan will not be thrown into Hell flames until after the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, one thousand years later. As for the rest of the Antichrist’s military, they will be slaughtered by the sharp sword that proceeds out of the mouth of Jesus. This looks like it will be a literal killing, not just a figurative slaughter; because the birds of the air will gorge themselves on the flesh of these people.
MILLENNIAL KINGDOM – Rev. 20:1-10
After this happens, after the Antichrist and his minions are defeated, then will an angel take hold of Satan, bind him for a thousand years, and throw him into the Abyss. Notice that this is not God who does this to Satan, but an angel. Satan is not an equal to God; he only wants to make people think he is. It doesn’t even take Michael, the only angel that is called an archangel to bind up Satan. It does not take multiple angels to take Satan down; just one. God uses an unnamed angel to take Satan, bind him with a great chain, and throw him into the Abyss. Satan will not be able to get out of the Abyss until the end of that thousand year period. He will not be able to deceive the nations for that period of time. So there will be a great peace on the earth during that thousand year period. This is the time that these passages in Isaiah 11:6-9: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Jesus Himself will reign on the earth from Jerusalem. Ruling with Jesus will be those who have lost their lives because of their testimony of Jesus. These are probably the Christians who were martyred during the Tribulation because they would not give in to the deceptions and pressures of the Antichrist.
But at the end of this thousand years Satan will be released from his prison in the Abyss. Even though mankind will not have known sin, wars or sickness for a thousand years, Satan will still be able to manipulate them and turn them away from the Christ who is still sitting on His throne in Jerusalem. It might be that people are so innocent, like Adam and Eve were back in the beginning of creation, that they will be easily deceived into doing what is wrong. But when Satan is released, he goes throughout the whole world creating an army to attack Jerusalem in his last attempt to dethrone Jesus. Exactly how long it takes him to round up this army, how many people will be involved or what kind of weapons they will have, we don’t know. They will probably just have simple weapons, because mankind has not had to build any weapons of war for a thousand years. And if any weapons have survived from before the Millennium, they would probably be in museums and useless. But what we do know is that when they surround Jerusalem to attack Jesus, fire will come down from heaven and destroy the army that Satan puts together. It is only after this that Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. Satan will be the third one there; finally joining the Antichrist and false prophet were put there before the Millennium.
GREAT WHITE THRONE Rev. 20:11-15.
After this, everyone who has ever lived will stand before the Great White Throne of God. Books will be opened in which everything that people did in their lives are recorded. God is like an ultra-good supervisor who is ready for the employee’s job appraisal; except for God does not forget anything we have done. God has made sure that He has recorded everything that we have done so that nothing will be forgotten. God is a just God, so everyone who will be condemned will know exactly the reasons why they are condemned. They will hear everything that they did during their lifetime, so they know that they are without excuse and know the reasons why they are condemned. It is not a trial by jury, but by God who is omnipresent and omniscient. He is everywhere and knows all things; even the things that we thought were done in secret. But He is also just in His judgment; because He is a loving God who has given us a way to avoid this condemnation.
Another book will be opened; this is the Lamb’s Book of Life, on whose scrolls are written everyone who is a true follower of God. Mankind will then receive their appraisal. Those whose names are in the Book of Life will receive eternal life with God. Those whose names are not in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire; this lake is otherwise known as Hell. This is the second death, and there is no escaping this for all of eternity. This is something that prevents some people from saying that they believing in God; they say they do not want to believe that a loving God could cast people into Hell. But who are we to judge God? He sent His Son to die for our sings so we can avoid the judgment; He is quite patient with us despite our struggles with sin; and God loves us unconditionally, etc. Just because we don’t want to believe in Hell isn’t going to make that fact go away or for God to give us a pass on going there because we think we know better than Him. Only God knows why this is the eternal punishment He gives to those who don’t follow Him. But eternity for Believers in Jesus is going to be quite different.
THE NEW JERUSALEM Rev 21 and 22
God will destroy the old heavens and earth, and create a new heaven and earth. Everything that is bad and harmful is out of His creation; only that which is good and helpful will be in the new heaven and earth. Even God Himself, who is currently in Heaven and out of our sight, will be there; we will be able to see God Himself. We will be able to see Jesus and the holes of His wounds to remind us what He had to go through for our salvation. We will no longer suffer with pain and there will be no more death. God Himself will wipe away the tears from our eyes. The New Jerusalem will be there. It will have gates made out of pearl, and its streets will be made out of gold. A river of the water of life will come out from the throne of God and Jesus and flow down the middle of the great street of the city. On both sides of that river will be the tree of life. It will bear 12 crops of fruit, giving fruit every month. We will be able to eat of this fruit. The leaves of the tree will be for the healing of the nations. We will be able to see God’s face. There will be no need for the sun there, for God Himself will give us light; there will not be any more night. We do not know what we will be doing, but we know that God has put in place those things that will give us a peaceful, joyful experience to spend all of eternity with Him.
Much of this was written before I kept track of sources.