Jesus promised to protect His followers from “the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10) but don’t think that because you’ll avoid the Tribulation, you won’t face trials in this life! Jesus says you will. He says you’ll face many trials and tribulations (persecution) in this world, but don’t let them bring you down, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
There is a clear distinction between Trials and Tribulations (persecution) versus The Tribulation of the End Times!!
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (PERSECUTION)!
John the Baptist, who spoke out against the adultery of Herod Antipas and was beheaded (Mark 6:21-29); Stephen, the deacon, who, preaching the gospel before the Sanhedrin and proclaiming God’s judgment because of the sins of the people, was rejected and stoned (Acts 6:5; 7:1-60); Paul, who was persecuted, beaten, and imprisoned as he preached from place to place, and was finally killed in Rome ( 2 Tim 4:6-8 ); and climactically, Jesus himself who preached God’s grace and judgment (Matthew 4:17), was persecuted by his hearers (Luke 4:28-30), plotted against by his adversaries (Mark 3:6), rejected (Luke 13:34; John 6:66), tried (John 18:12-40), and finally crucified (John 19:16-37; Philippians 2:9).
THE TRIBULATION (THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE) OF THE END TIMES!
A brief look through the pages of Revelation chapters six, eight, nine, and sixteen–describe the living hell you can avoid if you are saved this morning.
Here are only a few of the dreadful disasters that take place during the Tribulation:
• One out of every two people will die during the Tribulation (see Rev. 6:8 and onward), some through the ravages of war, others by starvation, and amazingly many others by the ‘beasts of the earth’. So, whether by death that comes instantly and thus less dreaded or a slow and painful death that is lingering and agonizing-50 percent of all people will die.
• One-third of all vegetation will be burned up. All grass, every tree, everything green will be destroyed (see Rev. 8:7).
• The sun and the moon will be darkened as nature goes into revolt (see Rev. 8:12).
• The gates of hell will open and hordes of locusts, the size of horses will come upon the earth. Those locusts will be allowed to sting men like scorpions and the pain will last for five months. The Bible says men will beg God to let them die but they will not die (see Rev. 9:3-6).
• There will be worldwide famine, unlike anything the world has ever seen (see Rev. 18:8).
• There will be a world war so bloody that the blood of those killed in battle will flow for two hundred miles up to the bridle of a horse in the valley of Jezreel. This will be the Battle of Armageddon (see Rev. 14:20).
All told, during the Great Tribulation, as many as half of all the people on the earth will be killed. Now do you see why God refers to the Rapture as a ‘blessed hope’? Because the Tribulation to come is so terrible!
That means we are gone and will escape everything, right? Yes, exactly, we will miss every part of the TRIBULATION, but we will probably go through some of the worst days we have ever seen before it starts and that is what Jesus is pointing out to us in Luke 21.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO WHEN WE FACE TESTS AND TRIALS?
What is a Christian to do when faced with disappointment, disaster, and despair? Scripture teaches us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Yet when we encounter difficulties, we often wonder, Why? Searching for answers and learning to view “bad things” as “good things in disguise” are disciplines that God wants His children to develop as they mature spiritually. (See I Corinthians 2:14 and Romans 8:1–17.)
When you respond to God’s grace and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are “born again” into the Kingdom of God. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your spirit. He confirms your relationship with God, comforts you, and leads you into all truth. (See Romans 8:16, John 14:16–17 and 16:13.)
God begins the supernatural work of transforming you, His child, into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who was and is perfect. (See Romans 8:29.) As you mature in your faith, God uses tests and trials to develop your character and ministry. By responding to trials in the grace of God, you will experience the power of God’s Spirit, which will be manifested in your life through the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. (See Galatians 5:22–23.)
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:12–13).
THE TRIALS AND TESTS WE ENCOUNTER
Below are brief descriptions of eight types of tests that every Christian will likely face:
Fiery trials: intense encounters or struggles; bursts of anger, grief, or lust
Infirmities: physical limitations and illnesses
Reproaches: ridicule and rejection on account of faith or holiness
Persecutions: harassment and oppression due to religious convictions
Necessities: wear and care of daily responsibilities
Distresses: disappointments and deep hurts
Tribulations: unusual pressures and challenges
Temptations: opportunities to yield to our sinful nature
Your Response Makes All the Difference
The Apostle Paul regarded these “tests” as opportunities to grow spiritually. Instead of despairing when he encountered trials, Paul said he would glory in his infirmities so that the power of Christ would rest upon him. (See II Corinthians 12:9.) As we, like Paul, choose to trust God and accept the grace He gives us, Christ’s character will be formed in us. “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3–5).
Unless you accept God’s grace to deal with suffering, inevitably you will become bitter. However, if you choose to trust God to bring about His purposes through the suffering, you can avoid the trap of bitterness and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. (See II Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:14–15, and II Peter 3:18.)
You can be confident that God will not allow anything to happen to you without His permission, and He will not let any “bad thing” happen that will not ultimately bring you more good than destruction. (See I Peter 4:12–13, Romans 9:14–24, Isaiah 55:8–9, Job 1:6–12, Genesis 50:20, and Psalm 121.)
How can we take advantage of these opportunities to mature spiritually? The following five responses are keys to enduring tests and trials through God’s grace:
1. Give thanks!
Sometimes being thankful in a difficult situation is the most difficult thing you can do. Yet, Scripture is very clear about this response: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). To be thankful rather than to complain takes a conscious act of the will and a sacrifice of natural desires. Psalm 107:22 appropriately speaks of this choice in terms of a sacrifice: “Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.”
Unfortunately, most of us respond with murmuring or complaining when we face the hardship of any kind—emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical. However, through trials, “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:13–15).
Thanking God in all things does not mean that we thank God for evil. It means that we are thanking God for the benefits He intends for us when He allows things to happen.
Along with giving thanks, we also are instructed to rejoice in all things: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Thanking God is an act of the will, but rejoicing is a response of the spirit. Therefore, it is possible to be sad and joyful at the same time. We cannot escape the pain of a difficult situation, but we can learn to rejoice in God Himself and in the good things God will do through our suffering.
We should try to discern the positive benefits that could come about through the situation. Ask the question, Why did God allow this to happen? Tests and trials give us opportunities to come to know God better and to bring glory to God.
The Apostle Paul stated: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. . . . We are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:14–18).
When you experience a trial, choose—by faith—to put your trust in God. This choice will help you be more objective and consequently more alert to the reasons why God may have allowed the trial to occur. As you deal with the difficulties, remember the following truths:
Gaining intimate knowledge of Christ exceeds the value of gaining more possessions. (See Philippians 3:8.)
Developing stronger character is more important than getting your own way. (See Hebrews 5:8.)
Demonstrating self-control is more heroic than dominating your competitors. (See Proverbs 25:28.)
Eternal treasures are more valuable than earthly riches. (See Matthew 19:21.)
3. Believe and act on the Word of God!
When Jesus was tested in the wilderness, He responded to each temptation by quoting Scripture. For example, when Satan urged Christ to turn stones into bread, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We can follow Jesus’ example and successfully engage in spiritual warfare by proclaiming truth in the face of tests and temptations.
Ephesians 6:17 describes the Word of God as “the sword of the Spirit”—the only offensive weapon in our spiritual armor. Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). They are also the authority by which we can claim the promises of God, since we are told, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
As you meditate on the truth of God’s Word, which is living and active (see Hebrews 4:12), you can learn to effectively battle the enemy of your soul, Satan, with the sword of the Spirit.
4. Cry out to God!
Perhaps the greatest reason God has for taking us through the trials of life is to bring us to the firm conclusion that we need God. What is God’s purpose in giving us commands that seem impossible to carry out? He desires to work powerfully through our lives; therefore we must learn to depend on Him. He alone must become our source of strength, provision, protection, and direction.
God has the ability to protect us from every trial or distress. Instead, He often chooses to deliver us in the midst of trials. In Psalm 50:15 we are told, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” God’s goal through our trials is to strengthen our dependence on Him. We must trust Him to work in the ways and in the time frame that will produce the most good in our lives and the most glory for His name. As we call to the Lord in our distress, He will deliver us.
5. Overcome evil with good!
Jesus gave His disciples a clear set of instructions about responding to those who made life miserable for them. (See Matthew 5:44.) These directions are completely opposite to what we would naturally do:
Love your enemies.
Bless those who curse you.
Do good to those who hate you.
Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.
Such responses would never be a person’s natural tendency, but they do reflect the heart of God: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
God promises to give a blessing to those who reward evil with good. Although we cannot fully predict or describe that blessing, we know that it will include the power of genuine love. “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren . . . not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (I Peter 3:8–9).
If you react to a person who offends you and becomes bitter toward him, you actually put yourself in an emotional prison. Bitterness will control your thought life, your emotions, your free time, and your health. In order to be freed from this prison, you must forgive.
Scripture provides many examples of those who forgave offenders, including Job, Stephen, and Jesus Christ:
Job’s companions were about to encounter God’s wrath, but Job prayed for them and God delivered Job: “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends . . .” (Job 42:10).
Stephen prayed for God to forgive his murderers, even as they were stoning him: “And they stoned Stephen, [who was] calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59–60).
Because Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (see Isaiah 53:5), we are among the group of people He released when He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
The Rewards of Responding With Grace
As God faithfully pours out His grace upon us in the midst of each fiery trial, we can endure hardships and overcome the enemy in God’s strength. (See II Chronicles 20:15.) Scripture reveals that there are great rewards for responding to trials with grace, including those listed below:
The strength of Godly character
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3–5).
Exceeding joy in God’s glory
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s suffering; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:12–13).
God’s strength in our weaknesses
“. . . Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Corinthians 12:9–10).
Fellowship with Christ
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . . . that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:8–10).
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11–12).
Reigning with Christ
“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:11–12).
God has assured us that He will not permit us to be attacked with trials or temptations that are too overwhelming for us to handle. He will grant us grace to be overcomers. In I Corinthians 10:12–13, the Apostle Paul exhorts us with these words: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
THE GREAT TRIBULATION!
The Scriptures speak of a “Great Tribulation” that is coming on the earth. Jesus in His “Olivet Discourse” uttered on the Mt. of Olives on the Tuesday evening before His Crucifixion said-
“Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the Elect’s Sake (the elect of Israel) those days shall be shortened.” Matt. 24:21,22.
That this Tribulation was not the terrible sufferings that befell the Jewish people at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, is clear, because many of the things that are to happen before and after “The Great Tribulation,” did not happen at the destruction of Jerusalem.
1. The “FACT” of the Tribulation.
Turning to the Old Testament we find in Jer. 30:4-7, that it is the time of “Jacob’s Trouble,” and is compared in its sufferings to the “birth pangs” of a woman. In Ezek. 20:34-38 it is spoken of as the time when Israel shall “Pass under the Rod;” and in Ezek. 22:19-22, we read how that God is going to cast Israel into His “Melting Pot,” where they are to be refined as “gold is refined.” See also Malachi 3:1-3, and Zech. 13:9. Daniel speaks of it as a “Time of Trouble” for his people, the Jews. Dan. 12:1.
From these references we see that “The Great Tribulation” is something that has to do with the Jewish people, and is a judgment through which they must pass as a “refining process”. Indirectly the Gentiles will be affected by it, but the Church will be “caught out” before that “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.”
In the New Testament we have two descriptions of it.
The first is by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse, Matt. 24:9-22, and the second is in the Book of Revelation, chapters 6:1 to 19:21, where in the breaking of the “Seals,” the sounding of the “Trumpets” and the pouring out of the “Vials” John sees in vision the things that are to occur during the Tribulation Period.
2. The “TIME” of the Tribulation.
The Old Testament prophets speak of it as “That Day,” and the “Latter Days,” and the Prophet Joel calls it the “Day of the Lord.” Joel 1:15; 2:1; 3:14. The Scriptures speak of “Four Days.”
“Man’s Day.” That is the present Dispensation in which we are living.
“The Day of Christ.” That is the day when the Lord Jesus will come and take His Church out of the world, and includes the time between the “Rapture” and the “Revelation.” On earth it is the “Day of Antichrist.”
“The Day of the Lord,” that is the day of “Vengeance of Our Lord,” and includes the period of the “Great Tribulation” and the Millennium that follows.
“The Day of God.” That is the period that begins with the “Renovation of the Earth by Fire” and extends to eternity. See the Chart on the “Days of Scripture.”
The time of the Tribulation then is “after” the Church has been “caught out,” and during the reign of Antichrist on the earth.
The Prophet Daniel in his Vision of the “Seventy Weeks” (Dan. 9:20-27) was told that it would be 69 weeks from the going forth of the Edict “to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince.” Those were “Prophetic Weeks,” in which each week stood for “seven years,” and they were literally fulfilled, for it was exactly 483 years of 360 days, from the going forth of that Edict, B.C. 445, until Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem, A.D. 30, and was hailed as the promised Son of David.
Within a week the Jews had Jesus crucified and then “God’s Clock” stopped, and the remaining “one” week, the “Seventieth,” has still to be fulfilled! In the meantime, in the break between the “sixty-ninth” and “seventieth” week, the Holy Spirit is gathering out the Church, and when it is complete it will be taken away, and then “God’s Clock” will begin to tick again, because He will again be dealing with His People the Jews.
It is during this last, or “Seventieth Week” of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks,” that the Tribulation is to occur, and as the “weeks” of the already fulfilled “sixty-nine” weeks, were each “seven years” in length, so this last, or “Seventieth Week,” must be the same. The length then of the “Tribulation Period” should be “seven years,” but Jesus tells us in Matt. 24:22, that for the “ELECT’S SAKE” Those Days Shall Be Shortened. Not the “Elect” of the Church, for they are “caught out” before the Tribulation, but the “Elect” of Israel, the 144,000 “Sealed Ones” of Rev. 7:1-8.
3. The “CHARACTER” of the Tribulation.
While the “Tribulation Period” shall last for seven years, as to its severity it will be divided into two parts of three and a half years each. The second or last part so far exceeding in its severity the first part as to be known as “The GREAT TRIBULATION.”
What was to happen during Daniel’s “Seventieth Week” was not revealed to Daniel. He received communication which he did not understand and was told to “seal the Book up until the Time of the End.” Dan. 12:4,8,9. All Daniel knew was that the contents of the Book had reference to the “Time of Trouble” that should befall his People at the “Time of the End” (of their sorrows), not the “End of Time.” What that “Sealed Book” contained is no longer a Mystery, for the Apostle John saw the “seals” of that Book broken, and was told to record what it contained. The “Seven-Sealed Book” of the Book of Revelation is the Book that Daniel was told to seal up.
If we want to know then about what is to happen during the Tribulation, all we have to do is to read and study the Book of Revelation from Rev. 6:1 to 19:21.
As the Dragon is cast out of the Heavenlies in chapter 12, and he is cast out in the “Middle of the Week,” it follows that chapters 6 to 11 inclusive cover the “First Half” of the Week, or 3½ years, and chapters 13 to 19 inclusive the “Second Half.” See the Chart on “Daniel’s Seventieth Week.”
FIRST HALF OF THE WEEK
The “Week” begins with the breaking of the “Seals.”
First Seal Rev. 6:1,2!
A “White Horse” appears, the Rider of which is uncrowned at first, but is afterward crowned. He has a bow in his hand, and goes forth conquering. This rider is not Christ. Christ as the Lamb, is holding and breaking the “seals” of the Book. He does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19.
The “Rider” is Antichrist, and pictures him before he is crowned and becomes the Chief Ruler of the “Ten Federated Kingdoms” of the revived Roman Empire. He is the “Prince who is to come,” and who shall “confirm the Covenant” with the Jews for “one week:” Dan. 9:26,27. This proves that Antichrist appears at the “beginning” of the “Week” and not in the “Middle” as some claim.
Second Seal. Rev. 6:3,4!
A “Red Horse” appears, the Rider of which has power to take peace from the earth. The symbolism is clear. Red, the color of the horse, is a symbol of “blood,” and the sword of “war.” The time is clearly that prophesied by Christ. Matt. 24:6,7. The outcome of these wars will probably be the “Ten Kingdom Federation” over which Antichrist shall become the head.
Third Seal Rev. 6:5,6!
A “Black Horse” appears, the Rider of which holds a pair of scales in his hand and a voice cries-“A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” The meaning is clear. When all able-bodied men are drafted for war, the fields remain untilled and “famine” follows, just as Christ prophesied. Matt. 24:7. The olive and the grape do not need cultivation, so their ruthless destruction is forbidden.
Fourth Seal Rev. 6:7,8!
A “Pale Horse” appears, the Rider of which is “Death.” It is noteworthy that the Riders of the first three horses are not named. They will be recognized when they appear.
Hell (Hades) follows in the wake of “Death” ready to swallow up his victims caused by war and famine.
Fifth Seal Rev. 6:9-11!
When the Fifth Seal was broken John saw the “souls of martyrs” under the Altar. These Martyrs, whose “souls” John saw are not the Martyrs of “past ages;” they were taken up with the Church, but the Martyrs who will be killed for the “Word of their Testimony, and who love not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11), during the Tribulation. After the Church is caught out the preaching of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” will be resumed. Matt. 24:14. As it is a proclamation that Christ is about to set up an “Earthly Kingdom,” it will be exceedingly distasteful to Antichrist and his followers, and ‘a “Great Persecution” will follow. Matt. 24:9-13. It is the “souls” of the martyrs of this Persecution that John saw under the Altar.
They asked that their death should be avenged, but were told to rest for a “little season” until they were joined by their fellow servants and brethren who should die as they did. The promise is fulfilled in Rev. 20:4.
Sixth Seal Rev. 6:12-17!
When the Sixth Seal is broken great “physical changes” will occur on the earth. Joel 2:30,31; Matt. 24:29; Isa. 13:9-11. So terrible will these changes be that men will call upon the mountains and rocks to fall and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. The 24th chapter of Matthew should be compared with Rev. 6:1-17.
Between the breaking of the “Sixth” and “Seventh” Seals, there will be a pause or interval, during which 144,000 of the Children of Israel, 12,000 from each of the Twelve Tribes, will be “sealed.” As there were 7000 in Ahab’s time who would not bow the knee to Baal (I Kings 19:18), so in the Tribulation, there shall be 144,000 of Israel who will not bow the knee to Antichrist. They are “sealed” by an angel, and the “Seal” is the imprint of the “Father’s Name” on their foreheads. Rev. 14:1; 22:4.
Then John saw a
“Blood Washed Multitude.” Rev. 7:9-17.
This introduces us to another class of saving of the “End Time.” They are not the Church, for they come out of the “Great Tribulation.” They are probably Gentiles who accept Christ as their Saviour after the Church is caught out. They are saved and shall serve God in His Heavenly Temple, and never hunger or thirst anymore, but they are not part of the Church and shall not participate in any Millennial blessings on the earth.
Seventh Seal Rev. 8:1!
At the breaking of the “Seventh Seal” there will be “silence in Heaven” for a limited period. This will be a period of preparation for the greater conflict to follow.
Following the “Silence,” Seven Angels in succession sound upon Seven Trumpets.
First Trumpet Rev. 8:7!
When the “First Trumpet” sounds “hail” and “fire mingled with blood” will be cast upon the earth and a “third part of the trees” and “all green grass” will be “burnt up.” This will be a fulfillment of Joel 2:30,31. This is a repetition of the “Seventh Egyptian Plague.” Ex. 9:22-26. That was “literal.” Why should not this be?
Second Trumpet Rev. 8:8,9!
When the “Second Trumpet” sounds a “burning mountain,” probably a Meteor, will fall into the sea (Mediterranean) and will destroy a “third part of the creatures of the sea” and a “third part of the ships,” probably some fleets assembled for a naval battle, and the “blood” of the destroyed will discolor a third part of the sea.
Third Trumpet Rev. 8:10,11!
When the “Third Trumpet” sounds a “great burning star,” called “Wormwood,” will fall from the heavens and poison the streams of freshwater. This will probably be another Meteor that in exploding will fill the atmosphere with “noxious gases,” that will be absorbed by the rivers and fountains of water, and poison them, so as to cause the death of all who drink of them. Wormwood is used in the manufacture of “Absinthe,” an intoxicating beverage much used in France, and poisonous. The Prophet Jeremiah refers to this time. Jer. 9:13-15.
Fourth Trumpet Rev. 8:12!
When the “Fourth Trumpet” sounds the “third part” of the sun, moon and stars will be smitten and their light diminished a “third.” This is one of the “signs” spoken of by Christ. Luke 21:25,26.
An Angel will then fly through the midst of heaven announcing “Three Woes” that are to follow the sounding of the three Trumpets yet to sound. Rev. 8:13.
Fifth Trumpet. Rev. 9:1-12!
“The Plague of Locusts.”
When the “Fifth Trumpet” sounds a “Star” will fall from heaven to the earth with the “key” of the
This is not a real star, but an Angel who will look like a Star, for “to him” was given the Key. He will not be a “Fallen Angel,” nor Satan himself as some suppose, for God would not entrust the Key of the “Bottomless Pit” to Satan, but he will be the “same Angel” that will bind Satan and cast him into the “Bottomless Pit” for 1000 years. Rev. 20:1-3. When the “Bottomless Pit” is opened a cloud, like smoke, of “locusts” will emerge and cover the earth. They will be a combination of horse, man, woman, lion, and scorpion. The “sound of their wings” will be as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
Their size is not given, but they will doubtless be much larger than ordinary locusts, but they will not be like them, for ordinary locusts feed on vegetation, but these locusts will be forbidden to hurt the grass or the trees, or any green thing, and only be permitted to afflict “men,” and only those men who have not the “seal of God” in their foreheads, and these they shall not be permitted to “kill,” but only “torment.”
The meaning of this scourge of “Scorpion Locusts” seems to be that a vast army of “Demons” will be liberated from the “Bottomless Pit,” who shall enter into and take possession of the “bodies” of men, and so “torment” them that they shall desire to die and shall not be able, the demons preventing them.
These “Scorpion Locusts” have a king, which ordinary locusts have not. Prov. 30:27. This king’s name in the Hebrew is “Abaddon,” but in the Greek is “Apollyon.” The word means “destroyer.” This king is not Satan. Satan is at liberty, while the king of the “Bottomless Pit” is confined with his subjects.
Sixth Trumpet Rev. 9:13-21!
“The Plague of Horsemen.”
When the “Sixth Trumpet” shall sound a voice from the “Golden Altar” will command the Trumpeter to loose “four angels” which are bound in the great river Euphrates. That they are “Bad Angels” is seen from the fact that they are “bound” and that they are the leaders of an army of 200,000,000 “Infernal Cavalry.”
This Cavalry will not be composed of ordinary men and horses. The horses will have the “body”, of a Horse, the “head” of a Lion, a “tail” like a serpent, with the “head of a serpent” at its end. Out of their mouths will issue “fire,” “smoke” and “brimstone,” and by these three the “third part of men will be killed,” and the sting of their “serpent tails” will cause great pain. The riders upon these horses will have “breastplates of fire and brimstone” to match the breath of the horses.
Supernatural armies are not unknown to the Scriptures. 2 Kings 6:13-17. When Jesus returns He will be accompanied by the Armies of Heaven, and it stands to reason that Satan has his armies. Awful as this “demon” invasion will be it will not cause men to repent.
According to the Revised Version verse 15 should read: “The four angels were loosed which had been prepared for the Hour and Day and Month and Year.” That is, the Four Angels now bound in the Euphrates will be loosed in the Exact Year, Month, Day and even Hour predetermined by God for the “Demon Invasion,” and not, as some think, to slay for a year, month and day, or 391 days. These two invasions of “Scorpion Locusts and “Infernal Cavalry” warn us that in the days after the Church is caught out, Satan and his “Demon Forces” will be increasingly active and do all they can to torment and destroy mankind.
Between the sounding of the “Sixth” and “Seventh Trumpets,” there will be an “Interval,” just as there was between the breaking of the “Sixth” and “Seventh Seals.” During this “Interval” a “Mighty Angel” will come down from Heaven having a “Little Book” (open) in his hand. This “Mighty Angel” will be Christ Himself, for the description of Him corresponds with chapter 1:12-15, and as His “voice” is like that of a Lion, this identifies Him as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” of chapter 5:5; and in chapter 11:3, He speaks of the “Two Witnesses” as “My Witnesses.” When the Mighty Angel” shall set His “Right Foot” on the “sea,” and His “Left Foot” on the “earth,” and lift up His hand to Heaven, and swear that there shall be “Time no longer” He shall take formal possession of the Earth. The expression, “Time no longer,” should read, as in the Revised Version (margin), “No longer delay,” for Time does not end until the close of the “Perfect Age.” While Christ at this time will take formal possession of the earth, actual possession will not be secured until He comes again to the Mt. of Olives, at the close of the Tribulation.
The Two Witnesses.
In chapter 11:1-14 we are given a description of “Two Witnesses” who are to prophesy, during the greater part of the last half of the Week. Who they will be is very clear. One has “power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy.” This can be no other than Elijah who was translated that he might come again before the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5,6), and who will shut up the heavens for 42, months, or 3½ years, which is exactly the length of time he did it in the days of Ahab. The other Witness will “have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as he will.” This identifies him as Moses, for he is the only person mentioned in the Scriptures who had such power, and it was for this purpose that he was raised from the dead. Jude 9. As Moses and Elijah appeared together on the Mount of Transfiguration with Christ and as they probably were the two “men” in “white apparel” (angel-like) that testified at the Ascension to Christ’s coming again (Acts 1:10,11), what more probable than that they are the “Two Witnesses” who will return to the earth to announce that Coming? During their “witnessing” they will have power to destroy their enemies with “fire” that shall issue from their mouths, but at the end of 1260 days they will be slain and their bodies lay exposed in the streets of the city of Jerusalem for 3½ days, when they shall rise and ascend to Heaven, to the amazement of those who see them go. Their ascent will be followed by a destructive earthquake, which completes the “Second Woe.”
Seventh Trumpet Rev. 11:15-19!
The “Seventh Trumpet” includes all that follows down to the end of chapter nineteen. We must not forget in our study of the Book of Revelation that the “Seventh Seal” includes the “Seven Trumpets” and the “Seven Vials,” and that the “Seventh Trumpet” includes the “Seven Vials,” for the “Seventh Seal,” and the “Seventh Trumpet,” and the “Seventh Vial all end alike with voices,” “thunderings, “lightnings” and an “earthquake.” Rev. 8:5, 11:19; 16:18.
MIDDLE OF THE WEEK Rev. 12:1-17
In the “Middle of the Week” two “Wonders” shall appear in Heaven. The Revised Version calls them “signs,” that is, they are “symbols” of something. The first will be a
This “Woman” is neither the Virgin Mary nor the Church, she is Israel. We have only to be reminded of Joseph’s Dream of the “sun” and “moon,” and the “eleven stars” (Gen. 37:9), to see that this “SunClothed Woman,” with the “moon” under her feet and upon her head a crown of “Twelve Stars,” is Jewish in character. Joseph was the twelfth star. Israel is again and again compared to a “married” woman in the Old Testament, but the Church is a “virgin,” and only an “espoused virgin” at that. 2 Cor. 11:2. This “Woman” is described as being “with child” and “travailing to be delivered.” When was the Church in such a condition? Paul says of Israel, “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.” Rom. 9:4,5. And Israel looked forward to the time when she could say-“Unto us a Child Is Born, unto us a Son is given.” Isa. 9:6,7. But before that could happen Israel had to pass through many sore afflictions and judgments. These were her “Travail Time.”
As the result of her “travail”, the Woman brought forth a “Man-Child” who was to rule the nations with a “Rod of Iron.” There can be no question as to who is meant by the “Man-Child.” The 2d Psalm settles that. He is Christ, who at His Ascension was caught up and seated on His Father’s Throne.
After her child is delivered the Woman “flees into the Wilderness” where she hath a place prepared of God, and where she is fed for 1260 days. Here is where many interpreters make a mistake. They over look the fact that between the “fifth” and “sixth” verses of this chapter the present “Church Period” comes in. Here is the “gap” between the “Sixty-ninth” and “Seventieth” Weeks of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks.” John jumps over this “gap,” from the Ascension of Christ to the casting out of Satan, because he is not dealing in these Tribulation chapters with the Church but with Israel, and wishes to continue her history without a break. Here is further evidence that the “Woman” is not the Virgin Mary, for she does not flee into Egypt, but into the Wilderness, neither does she flee “with” her child, for that was caught up to the Throne of God; neither does she flee for her child’s “protection,” but for her own.
‘The second “Wonder” that will appear in Heaven will be a
“Great Red Dragon.”
We are not left in doubt as to who is meant, for in verse 9 he is called that “Old Serpent,” ‘The Devil,” and “Satan.” His color is “red,” the color of “blood,” for he was a murderer from the beginning. John 8:44. The “Stars of Heaven” attached to his “tail” reveal the fact that Satan will lead astray a third of the Angels, for the Angels are spoken of as “Stars” in the Old Testament. Job. 38:7. They will be cast to the earth with him. The casting out of the Dragon is described in verses 7 to 12. His expulsion will start a War in Heaven.
That the Dragon has not yet been cast out of Heaven is clear. He had access to God in the days of job, 2000 years before Christ. Job 1:1-2:8. He tried to destroy the “Man-Child” (Christ) at the hand of Herod when He was born. Matt. 2:16-18. He was at liberty to tempt Christ in the Wilderness, and to sift Peter. He is today the “Prince of the Powers of the Air,” Eph. 2:2, and the “God of this World” (age). 2 Cor. 4:14. When the “Dragon” is cast out of the Heavenlies there will be great rejoicing in Heaven because the “Accuser” of Christ’s “Brethren” (the Jews) is cast down, but there will be “woe” for the “inhabitants of the earth,” for the “Dragon” will be filled with “great wrath” because he knows that he will have but a “short time” (3½ years) to vent his wrath on the inhabitants of the earth before he is chained and cast into the Bottomless Pit.
When the “Dragon” is cast out, knowing that his defeat has been brought about by the elevation of the “Man-Child” to the place of power, he will concentrate his hatred and malice on the “Woman” (Israel) who gave Him birth. To the “Woman” will be given the “wings of a great eagle,” that she may fly into the “Wilderness,” into “her place,” where she shall be nourished for a “Time, Times, and Half a Time,” or 3½ years. This takes us back to the flight of Israel from Egypt, of which God said-“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians; and how I bare you on ‘Eagle’s Wings,’ and brought you unto myself.” Ex. 19:4. As the “Woman” and the “Dragon” are symbols, so are the “Eagle’s Wings.” They speak of the rapid and safe flight of the “Woman” (Israel) into the “Wilderness,” where she shall be safely kept and nourished for 3½ years until the “Dragon” is bound.