Friday, April 19, 2013

The Seventh Seal is Opened

Just to make things a little less confusing, let me reiterate.
  1. We have studied the blowing of the first five trumpets
  2. and the pouring out of the first five bowls of wrath
  3. We have studied the opening of the first six seals.  
  • The first four were the "four horsemen of the Apocalypse"; 
  • the fifth was when God sealed the saints in their foreheads; 
  • The sixth was when the 144,000 Jews were sealed.
   All the loose ends will be tied together when the seventh (the last) trumpet shall sound and when the seventh, the last bowl, of wrath is poured out and Christ returns. 

   When he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about half an hour. 8:1 

Silence in Heaven

   Of course, it goes without saying that we must not confuse the seventh seal with the seventh trumpet.

   To refresh our memory: no one was found worthy except the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome, to open the scroll and its seven seals." 5:5

   No events are recorded with the breaking of the seventh sealBut an ominous silence pervades all nature, which is indicative of the solemnity of the things that are about to take place. It is the calm before the storm. The KJV Bible Commentary.  Chapter 8 begins where chapter 6 ended. KJV Study Bible  

   Here is another, more accurate, point of view:
  At the end of chapter 6, the events of the sixth seal happen.  
  • In 7:1 the four angels holding the four winds appear to wreak havoc on the earth.  
  • in 7:2 the angel with the seventh seal appears and tells the angels of 7:1  with a loud voice ... "Do not harm the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees.   
  • This parenthesis introduced in 7:3 with the words, Do not harm the earth ... till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads is closed at the end of 8:1 with these words there was silence in heaven about half an hour.
  • In 8:2 the story from 6:17 resumes with the opening of the seventh seal. And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 
   The description of the 7th seal is in 7:1-2.  Nothing is said in 8:1, about the seventh seal except that it was mentioned as being opened.  This would not be so confusing if the man who divided the Bible into chapters and verses would have left 7:1-2 as 6:18-19.

   The gales and hurricanes mentioned in 7:1-2 are the fulfilment of the seventh seal of 8:1, for if they are not, we have the unlikely scenario of having only one seal (the seventh), for which we are not given the contents.   Furthermore, the actions of 7:1-2 do not fit into the sixth seal which is recorded in chapter 6; but they do fit into the seventh seal in 8:1.

  There are many Bible commentaries which teach that the opening of the seventh seal sets into motion the sounding of the seven trumpets.  I see a problem with that teaching because there is a time lapse between the opening of the seventh seal in 8:1 and the time when the angels who stood before God were given the seven trumpets in 8:2. 

   Furthermore, if The Apocalypse is arranged, as it is in this study, five of the seven trumpets have sounded and five of the seven bowls of wrath have been poured out before the events of chapter 8:2 take place.  

   Though the first four trumpets are listed in order in chapter 8:7-13 we must recognize that history continues to happen even during the blowing of the trumpets.  It is not as though a trumpet sounds and some history all of a sudden starts happening, then another trumpet sounds and history starts happening again.  History is a continuous ongoing thing. It is that history which is found in the last chapters of The Apocalypse which is interlaced into the sounding of the trumpets and the pouring out of the bowls of wrath.

   Admittedly, this sounds confusing but it is not trivial.  If facts like this are not put in their proper place when studying the Bible, we end up with teachings such as, for example:  
  • Christ will return before the Great Tribulation,
  • Christ is coming back two times,
  • our dead friends are watching over us now, 
  • we go to heaven as soon as we die, 
  • and the more flighty; people become angels when they die.  
These doctrines are not in the Bible!

Time in Heaven

   On opening the first seal, one of the four creatures was saying with a voice like thunder.  By way of contrast, after the seventh seal is opened, there was silence in heaven about half an hour.  Some have suggested that silence means inactivity, e.g. no trumpets blowing, no opening of seals, no visions for John. 

 The space of half an hour is not a reckoning according to a heavenly chronometer, but it does indicate a very brief period. The KJV Bible Commentary

   With a different point of view in mind, a technical question could be asked; if John were really in heaven, our eternal abode, how could he have recorded the time to be half an hour, since, we are told, there is no time in heaven.  

   The statement by John that it was half an hour lends weight to the idea that John was inside a spaceship, which at that juncture had its clocks set to measure earthly time.  

  As I said in the introduction to this study, in almost every aspect of The Apocalypse one can choose one of many paths to follow and the chosen path seems right.  One thing I am sure of, I have not yet read any interpretation and arrangement of The Revelation with which I agree at many points.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The False Prophet Appears

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
   And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 

He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
   And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
   He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
   He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
   and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. 13:11-18   

   The first beast, the Antichrist, came out of the sea. 13:1. For more on this see: 

   Now, another beast, the false prophet, is shown as coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns, like a lamb.  He seems thoroughly gentle as a lamb.  Mr Foster*** wonders if the two horns might represent the leaders of the ecumenical movement and ungodly education; this beast spoke like a dragon. That is, inwardly his intent was as deadly as the intentions of the red dragon, Satan. Outwardly, though, he appears to be interested in the unity of all religions and enlightenment by education.

   He has all the power of Antichrist, the first beast, the last political ruler.  The purpose of the false prophet is that everyone on earth will worship the Antichrist.  

   The false prophet can work miracles such as making fire come down from heaven.  In this connection, we need to remember the words of our Savior, For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders. Mat. 24:24.   We also remind ourselves of the words of Paul, then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth…The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders. 2 Thes. 2:8-9

   By his miracles, the second beast, who is the false prophet, deludes humans and convinces them to make an image to the first beast, the Antichrist.  This sounds as if the false prophet, the last leader of the universal church, will be willing to do and teach anything that the world’s last political leader would approve of or demand.

   He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark... and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark.  While studying chapter 7, we read of God sealing his servants in their foreheads.  Here in 13:18, Satan, the great counterfeiter, is issuing a mark to all humans and they must accept it, on the penalty of death, for without it there will be no buying or selling of the necessities of life.  If a person will not worship the beast, that person also will not get the mark, and without the mark, starvation is inevitable to the people of the world in the last days.

   His number is 666.  Mr Foster suggests that since the number six represents sinful mankind, or even sin itself, then 666 represents sin to its sixth power and that number again to its sixth power.  Though he does not write it in technical terms his point is that the false prophet is a man as wicked as a man can be.

   If we believe the mark or the number of the beast is for the purpose of business transactions than it makes sense that no two of the numbers issued would be identical.  What is the purpose of identifying numbers, if every number is the same?  The Bible does not say that every number will be the same; it says that "666" is the number of the beast.  

   One can surmise, that the 666 are the first three digits, (specifying its origin) of a longer series of numbers.  The sequential numbers after that might represent countries, date of issue, a person’s sex, date of birth or other facts down to identifying the individual.  They would be much like numbers on plastic cards are in our present day society.  The whole idea of having chips implanted into the forehead or into the right hand, for business reasons, is really frightening. 

Delving into upcoming atrocities created by these chips is far outside the scope of these posts and so we will not go there except to mention this one possibility.  

A scary thought about all of this is that technology could easily develop to a point where a signal could be sent from "head office" to a person's implant which would cause a person to act in a way he would not normally act.

For more on this topic see: 

   Buying and selling are already done on “the screen”, but in the future perhaps all business transactions could be done that way.  So unless you have a number, like an Internet customer number, you cannot buy or sell, and you cannot get a number unless you pledge allegiance to Antichrist.

It seems as if many Christians are already doing that, judging by where and how they are spending their time.  Two minutes a week in Bible reading, three minutes a week in prayer (both in the Sunday morning church service) and about thirty hours a week watching the blasphemers on the TV screen.

   the number of the beast, ... is the number of a man: His number is 666.  The first beast is a man, the leader of the last worldly political system; the second beast is also a man, his number is 666 and it seems that he is the head of the worlds last artificial church.

   The words that Christ spoke to the church at Ephesus, Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love, 2:4, and the words He spoke to the church at Laodicea, I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth, 3:15-16, are certainly applicable to the modern church.
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The European Common Market?

Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 13:2

So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 
Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 
If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 
He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.13:4-10 

    The beast is swift as a leopard, (swiftly he will infiltrate all countries), strong as a bear, (to tear down anyone standing in his way), insatiable as a lion, (being ruler over a few countries will not be enough for him).

The Dragon - Satan

  • has seven heads,
  • ten horns
  • seven crowns upon his heads
  • The dragon has no name of blasphemy.     
  • He wears the crowns on his head because he is the "undisputed"        king of this world.
  • To the beast, he gives His power, 
  • His authority and 
  • His throne

The Beast - The Antichrist

  1. has seven heads,
  2. ten horns
  3. ten crowns upon his horns. 
  4. The beast has the name of blasphemy.
  5. He wears his crowns on his horns because he is not the king but his crowns are in honour of his achievements.  As we already learned "horns" represent strengths or accomplishments.
  6. is just a pawn in the hands of his master, the dragon (Satan). 13:4. 
  7. this mouth is speaking great things. 
  8. blasphemies are given to him. 
  9. Also, the power to reign, for three and a half years, is given to him. 13:5.  
   We read the word he to represent a human.  Some say it is not just one person but an institution created by humans.  Adam Clarke insists that this beast refers to the Roman Catholic Church.  Barnes agrees with him but he is not quite as adamant about it.  

   One major problem with thinking of this as an institution is that it lasted only 3.5 years.  On the other hand, we remind ourselves, again, that the term "3.5 years" may be a figurative number only, without any meaning as to actual time.  It is exactly half of the number of perfection, therefore it might represent evil.

   Without Satan's power, he could do nothing.

   It is strange what the power of suggestion or flattery can do.  The world is worshipping him, saying he is the greatest, and he starts believing it and opens his mouth even against God. 13:6.  

  It brings to mind so many of the movie and sports stars who, by words and awards, have been led to believe, that "they are the greatest".  It has come to a point where public blasphemy against Jehovah, His Church, and all those who dwell in heaven is what one expects to hear from the "stars". 13:6.  

  For how long is the church going to be among those who are mesmerized by those haughty, immoral, self-seeking snobs?  The Lord said to His Church, Come out from among them and be separate. 2 Cor. 6:17

  It is distinctly stated that this prophecy is for the whole world, not just for the Near East; over every tribe, tongue, and nation.13:7   His main thrust will be against Jehovah's chosen: those who actively follow Christ's teachings.  Many saints will be killed as martyrs. 13:7.  

Another Call to Repentance

   All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life ... If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  Surely, this means that if God, in His grace, has let you hear the warning about the last days, the least you can do is pay attention to it.
  The phrase, The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is easier to understand as Wuest# has translated it, The Lamb who has been slain (in the mind and purpose of God) since the time when the foundations of the universe were laid.

   In the past, many Bible scholars agreed that the seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns, referred to Europe in the latter part of the twentieth century, namely: the European Common Market.  As late as 1998, Jack Van Impe, in his book, Final Mysteries Unsealed, insisted that it must be understood that way. 

  However, history moves on, and suppositions must change as the political scene shifts.  Because of that, it behoves all Bible teachers not to be too dogmatic in teaching certain areas of theology.

  As was mentioned in the studies of chapter one, the word “horn” can be a symbol of strength.  According to The Revelation, each of the ten horns is wearing a crown.  

  Perhaps, it is still too soon to pinpoint those “horns”.  However, we are seeing events happening in the Middle East, which causes new speculations.  The allied forces are fighting terrorist groups all over the Near East.  People are disposing of the dictators of their countries, around the Mediterranean Sea.  Perhaps, before all this turmoil is finished ten crowns (rulers) will have fallen.

  He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.  These words seem to fit well into the scenario of those dictators of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea in 2011-2017.

  Those dictators led their own people into captivity, then the dictators were taken captive or killed by their captives.  

# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Antichrist Appears

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
   Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
   And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
  So they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

    John was watching another "video", and the scene he was seeing made it appear to him as though he was standing on the shore of The Mediterranean Sea.  It was mentioned before that symbolically "sea" represents hordes of people.  Out of that horde of people, one stood above all the others, he is known as the beast.  He will be the ruler over seven kingdoms.  In all, he will have subdued ten countries.  Concerning the phrase, on his heads (he had) a blasphemous name, Concordia writes, the title favoured by Domitian (for himself, was) “Lord and God” We, of course, are still expecting a blasphemous ruler in the future, we do not look for him in history.

In studying this section of The Apocalypse, it is of utmost importance to keep in mind, the difference between: 

The Dragon

The Dragon is Satan. In the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he is known as a serpent.

The Beast 

The First Beast, who is known as the Antichrist; is a beast of a man and he will be the world’s last great political leader before the return of Christ.  Listening to the news these days, one can not help thinking of North Korea in this regard.

Dr McGee, writing about the beast, seems to have overlooked 13:3 in his studies.  He writes, Who is he? Whom were we last talking about in the previous chapter? He is the same person, and that, of course, is Satan.  However, 13:3 distinctly says, The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.  Therefore, the word, him, cannot refer to the dragon, but rather to the First Beast, who is known as the Antichrist, and he was mentioned, in 13:1.  It is to him that the power was given by Satan, and not to the false prophet.

   I believe that the beast is the last political force that will fight against Christ and His army.  The beast's followers say, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? 

   Here, Concordia deserves to be quoted. As Satan is anti-God, so he has his anti-Christ, a world power in which his opposition to God becomes incarnate (the first beast). As the Holy Spirit witnesses to Christ and glorifies Him, so there is a satanic anti-Spirit to witness to the Antichrist and to glorify him.

   Many translations have he stood in place of I stood in 13:1.  Furthermore, some translations have moved this phrase, Then I stood on the sand of the sea to become the last words of 12:17. 

   I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, presumably to meet the red dragon, which was standing on the shore if we read this as he stood upon the sand of the sea.

   I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded,   There are those who say that the beast is the pope and that the deadly wound happened when the pope of the Roman church was carried into exile to Avignon, in 1798, at a great loss to the Roman church. 

and his deadly wound was healed.  However, the wound healed and the Roman church regained its power.  In stating his views, Mr Jim Crews, of The Seventh Day Adventists, makes a poignant case in, The Beast, the Antichrist and the Woman.  However, it seems that there may be other explanations, which may be even more logical.

The False Prophet

The Second Beast is the False Prophet, and many say he is the last head of the World church. However, it does seem strange that the leader of the world church would get such an important role at the end of time when we consider the small impact that Christianity is having in the affairs of Europe and the Eastern countries, and especially in the “Arab world”. Maybe, though, the term "world church" should no longer carry the connotation that it is based on the Christian foundation. It will be the "world church" in which the False Prophet will decide what everyone must believe and those that do not will be executed! 

   The false prophet is the last church leader, the one who endorses the last wicked theological position attested to by the last unified church; a church that would include Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and any other body that would care to join?  

   We see the modern church going that way now.  Important doctrines that the Bible teaches and The Church has held dear are being swept aside in the name of universal peace.  Christ said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Why, then, is the church destroying itself in the name of peace?

  So they worshipped the dragon.  As Christians keep on slipping deeper and deeper into tepidity and immorality, Satan worship will keep on getting worse.  It is already prevalent in North America, and I predict that it will get even worse.

  The world worshipped the beast saying that he is the greatest and that there is no one that could fight him. 13:4.  Doubtless, there are those that would dare take up arms against the Lord of Hosts, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him.  Those that do, will be destroyed.

A few years ago I read a very crass comment w
ritten in response to a post in a blog.  Part of the comment, very much cleaned up here, ran along these lines.  If Jehovah is not afraid of the outcome of the last war why doesn't he start it already?  When he does, I am sure that we will make an end of him.

There will be more on the topic of the Dragon, the Antichrist and the False Prophet later.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Fifth Bowl

The angel of Darkness

   And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. 9:11. 

   Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 
   They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds. 16:10-11 

One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things. 9:12

    The ruler of this army is the angel of the bottomless pit.   In English, his name is the Destroyer.  In my next post, I will repeat this statement, The First Beast (a beast of a man) is the world’s last great political leader, known as the Antichrist.

    To fulfil the fifth trumpet blast which coincides with the fifth bowl of wrath, which is the first woe the Destroyer appears on the world stage, ready to fight against Israel.  The countries of the world will take up arms; either for Israel and Jesus Christ or against them.  The Apocalypse says, And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him (Christ) who sat on the horse.  He cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” 19:21,17-18.

Anyone who has studied the Apocalypse realises that not everything in the book can be taken literally.  So let's modernize these two verses.

the rest - those that will dare fight against Christ
were killed with the sword - any type of modern war machine
which proceeded from the mouth - by Christ's command
He cried with a loud voice - as the Captain of the world's final army He gave the following command
to all the birds that fly - the warplanes in His army
Come and gather together - come, let's put an end to this battle once and for all
that you may eat - destroy
kings - the final word in all matters of the country
captains - the highest ranking soldiers
mighty men - leaders of armies serving under the captains
horses - methods of transportation 
those who sit on them - and their pilots
the flesh of all people - all those who serve as privates
free and slave - mercenaries and conscripted soldiers.

It will be a bloody war when Christ returns to head up the battle of Armaggedon

The striking similarities between the fifth trumpet blast                       
and the fifth bowl of wrath are that both involve the throne of the beast and the ensuing darkness.  The severe pain and sores are also common to both the trumpet and the bowl of wrath.

Modern News Headlines

From a blog written by Marianne,  Heaven Awaits,                                                          comes the following insightful information.

   Whether right or otherwise, Marianne makes Joel 1:4, sound very up to date. She writes that the names of the places mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, when translated, become modern words; words which we have all learned from our generation's newscasts. (Bold emphasis are mine).  It is interesting to note that Joel prophesied about 2800 years ago!

so you are looking at Joel 1:4 and seeing this:That which the palmerworm (Gazam – Hamas) hath left hath the locust (arbeh-arab) eaten; and that which the locust (arbeh) hath left hath the cankerworm (yelak-terror cell) eaten; and that which the cankerworm (yelak) hath left hath the caterpillar (Chaciyl- Hezbollah) eaten.

Rewritten:That which HAMAS does not destroy, the Arabs will destroy.
That which is left by the Arabs, the terror cells will destroy.
That which is left by the terrorist cells, will be destroyed by Hezbollah.Joel 1:4


   The armies are gathered together in a place called Har Megiddo, meaning, hill or city of Megiddo.  

  1. It was there that Gideon obtained the victory over the Midianites. 
  2. It was there that King Josiah and King Saul were killed in battle. Unger++
  3. It is located about fifteen miles from the Mediterranean Sea and about twenty-five miles South West of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. 
  We do not read here that the war happened; we read only that the forces were gathered together there.  I also read that har Megiddo (Armageddon - the place) has experienced more wars than any other place in the world.

This is the first woe, and also the first of three plagues since Satan was released from prison!
++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Fifth Trumpet

The angel of Darkness

   Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 
   And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 
   Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 
  They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 
   And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 
   In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. 
   The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
   They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 
  And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.
  They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months.9:1-10

   A short note just to avoid confusion. For the first four trumpets and the first four bowls, I had both the trumpet and comparable bowl together. I did not do that with the 5th, 6th and 7th trumpets and bowls because the Bible has much more to say about these last three and by joining them the posts would have become too long.

The Fifth Trumpet Blast

One Bible scholar noted that John wrote more about the fifth trumpet than he did about the first four all together.

The sounding of the fifth trumpet heralded the opening of the bottomless pit in 9:1.  This may not be a pit at all, but perhaps rather a place.  The fact that it is called bottomless simply implies that it has an unlimited amount to horror and bloodshed.  Jehovah is preparing to pour out the wine of his wrath.  Some say that the star that fell refers to Lucifer and that he received the key.  We studied about this incident in, "A War in Heaven",12:7-10

    Wuest# translates the word star as meteor as he also did in 8:10.  Perhaps, it could be supposed, that a giant meteor could have authority to damage the earth; it could also be argued that a meteor smashing into the earth could open up fountains of molten lava with its associated smoke.  But why would the smoke of molten lava produce locusts?

   John did not say that he saw the star fall; he saw a star fallen from heaven. The word key signifies authority.  According to my theory, after the pit was opened by Satan, a wicked army leader took over, under Satan's control. Associated with the smoke were locusts. 

   Some Bible teachers tell us that this smoke means spiritual delusion.    If the smoke represents spiritual delusion what do the locusts, the scorpions, the grass, and the trees represent?  If smoke refers to spiritual delusion why is the torment for only five months?  To me, it seems more logical to think of this scene as a preparation for the Battle of Armageddon.

   Enough smoke came out of the pit to obscure the sun and pollute the air as is seen in 9:2.  It seems that the picture here is that of chemical warfare. However, the chemical used does not kill people but it causes severe anguish, to the sufferers, for five months (whatever five months meant to John).  In fact, 9:5 says; the torment was like the torment of a scorpion.   The typical life span of a scorpion is five months. Concordia Bible Commentary 

    Out of the smoke (the origin of the chemical warfare) locusts came (not scorpions).   These locusts (flying military tanks, maybe in the shape of drones) had power, and in some sense, this power resembles the power of the scorpions. 9:10.  It is also interesting that these locusts attack humans, except those people that have the seal of God on their foreheads.   The locusts were forbidden to attack the greenery, even though that is what locusts normally do.

   Could this seal of God refer to those nations who refuse to take up arms against the Lord's anointed; because they do not take part in The Battle of Armageddon they will not be tormented by the chemicals?  This scene may be strictly physical and have no spiritual connotation at all.

Modern Warfare

   These locusts had the sting of scorpions in their tails but the shape of the locusts was like horses (a means of transportation) prepared unto battle.  
  • They had faces like the faces of men (the men inside the war planes), 
  • and they had hair like women’s hair (possibly those men, of that air force, grew their hair long to make a religious or political statement. 
  •  They had something like crowns like gold on their heads, (these were their communication devices). 
  •  their teeth were like lions teeth, maybe the writer looked directly into the front of a jet engine, and thought of it as having teeth! 
  •  They had breastplates of iron, (the metal nose and sides of the plane), and they had wings.  Was John looking at some sort of a flying tank; 
  • a tank that stings with its tail like the gun barrels of a tank do?
the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.  Here it is easy to picture the wings of an aeroplane with the engines on the wings, and it was the engines that made this sound of many horses running into battle.


# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest

Friday, April 5, 2013

Satan's Release from Prison

The Worst is Yet to Come


   Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 
   and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 
   They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 20:7-9

   When Satan's term in prison is up he will be released and he will go to all the nations.  This prophecy is obviously not only for the Mediterranean area, but possibly it is only for the four-corners of the then known world since it specifically mentions the lands that make up the territory of Magog.  

It is worthy of note that four trumpets have sounded and four bowls have been poured out, but so far no “woes” have happened.  Now with Satan’s release from prison, the horrible things that happen on earth are so much worse that they are classified as woes.   It is also notable that the angels with the trumpets are sequential, 9:11, like the angels with the seven bowls of wrath, are.

 According to some, Magog, means, the region of Gog.  Plainly, Gog is a person, or, the prince of an area that bears his name; Magog.  In the words of Unger++, Gog, the prince and Magog, his land, will invade Palestine by a great northern confederacy, ostensibly headed up by Russia.  Gog is belonging to the land of Magog the situation of which is defined by its proximity to the isles of the Aegean.  

Allowing for some discrepancy between people who make maps, an atlas shows that the Meshech is the area between the Caspian and the Black Sea, which today is called, The Ukraine.  Tubal, known as Turkey, is directly south of the Black Sea.   Ezekiel chapters 38&39 have much to say about Gog and the last war against Israel. 

Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal". Ezekiel 38:3  Isn't it interesting that Russia has taken Syria's side in a war that probably will spill over into Isreal?  If it does I think that we can expect Christ's return soon after Russia and the Northern Confederacy turn their eyes on Israel!

   In the neighbourhood of fifty years ago, when preachers would still explain Biblical prophecies relating to the end times, they told us that Gog referred to Russia and Magog to China.  What I found interesting about this, now, is that during the Syrian crisis, when the United Nations wanted to impose sanctions against Syria it was Russia and China who opposed the idea.

   Even though we have all this information about the chief prince of Gog, (the northern confederacy) we cannot accept that only those areas, just mentioned, which are north of Israel, will wage a war against the Jews at that time.  We just read that The Destroyer shall go out to the nations, which are in the four quarters of the earth. 

The Last Great War 

  This will be the last great onslaught of anti-Semitism in the history of our world, and unfortunate will be those nations that take up arms against Israel at that time.

   Satan will gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 20:8.   This army was also predicted by Ezekiel; You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you. Ezekiel 38:9.  We read that the army compassed the camp and the city but here we do not read that the war against the Jews actually happened.

“I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother”. Ezekiel 38:21.  The picture I see is that of an army, composed of so many different nations and attitudes, and perhaps different reasons for being there, that before they engage Israel in war, they turn on each other with their weapons.

According to Christ Israel will certainly experience the agony of that war. Mat. 24:15  Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" ... then let those who are in Judea flee upon the mountains ... For then there shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor by any means shall be. Mat. 24:15-16+21  

   As was said earlier about the word “horses”, it can mean “a method of transportation”; in like manner, the word “sword”, can mean “any weapon used in war”, so that the word sword could include rifles, land mines, tanks, etc.  We also note that fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 20:9

   As noted several times already, the word, heaven means an elevated (or lofty) place.  Therefore the fire that came out of heaven may be something as ordinary as fire (bombs) from an aeroplane or perhaps extraordinary as fire from other airborne objects.  

About this same incident Ezekiel wrote, I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Ez. 38:18  A scene, perhaps, not too different than that which the Allied forces enacted in Libya in 2011.  Just because the Lord says He will do it, it does not mean that He will not use man made war machines to carry out His plans.

  Throughout these posts it is being maintained that the trumpets and the bowls of wrath go hand in hand; a trumpet sounds the warning and the associated bowl of wrath is poured out immediately after. 

  It is also accepted that the trumpets are blown and the bowls of wrath are poured in the sequence in which they are written and that the last three trumpets will be blown and the last three bowls poured after Satan is released from the pit.  It seems that because of his presence and his desire to do damage and destruction, the effects of the last three bowls of wrath are more severe; severe enough to be referred to as woes.

++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger