God’s Planned Future

Considering biblical eschatology, looking at God’s timeline throughout biblical history with a forward look towards the future.

God’s Planned Future (11) Final Judgement to Eternity

Satan’s final rebellion and doom
The 1000 year Millennial Kingdom shall be a spectacular reign on earth by the Lord Jesus Christ. Every remaining and unfulfilled prophecy shall be fulfilled, and Israel shall have her place of prominence as always intended by her Lord (Isaiah 11:10-12).

However, in the wisdom of God, Revelation 20:7-8 tells us that when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. It’s difficult to imagine, but during the 1000 year millennial Kingdom, there is going to be many people who will restrain their rebellion against King Jesus. It’s almost unbelievable, while living a the most wonderful world imaginable, sin will still live in the hearts of some. At the end of the 1000 years, upon his release, Satan alone, without any demonic assistance, will travel the world recruiting people into his army. People who had previously been secretly rebellious against Jesus, will align themselves with Satan for one final revolt against the King of kings.

This army will be enormous, like the sand of the sea. And they shall march on foot over the broad plain of the earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city… (Revelation 20:8-9). This huge army, led by obstinate Satan, will surround Jerusalem with the intent to destroy both King Jesus and God’s people, Israel. Revelation 20:9-10, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

As with the battle of Armageddon, there is no battle (Rev 19:11-21). Satan and his army are completely wiped out by the fire God sends down upon them. This time, by divine power, the devil is thrown into the lake of fire, which will be his eternal home. All opportunities for roaming free are permanently removed. Now, the unholy trinity of Satan, antichrist, and the false prophet, shall spend every moment of eternity future, suffering torment without even the slightest relief. This ends all satanic influence; all demonically inspired beliefs, and all wicked behaviour abruptly stops on this day. Never again will there be sin, idolatry, unbelief, rebellion, or even temptation, it all stops on this day. Never again will Satan have an opportunity to deceive mankind with his lies. All his freedoms and liberties are permanently revoked. The earth will no longer be the roaming ground for the devil. The father of lies (Jn 8:44), who was a murderer from the beginning, is eternally locked in hell with no possibility of release or escape.

The Great White Throne Judgement
As the vision continues, the apostle John saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

Following Satan’s incarceration, the highest court in God’s Kingdom is set in session. The Judge, who is God Almighty, takes His seat upon the great white throne ready to dispense divine justice. The accused are all the nonbelievers down through all of human history. Every lost person stands in the dock of God’s court. This is the saddest of all prophetic scenes, when only the guilty are called up before their Creator to receive final justice for their sin in the final court that God Almighty will ever hold.

God calls every unrepentant sinner who entered death without faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ, from their graves. No matter what the cause of death, and no matter how completely their physical bodies have been destroyed, every unbelieving soul shall stand in the dock of God’s court.

The books containing God’s meticulous records of individual history are opened and the evidence is presented. Each person shall be judged according to their lives without comparison to anyone else. Their hearts affections, their attitudes and motives, their actions and speech shall all be exposed before Holy God. Every time they have thought of God and rejected Him shall be replayed. The judge shall only base His verdict upon what each person has done. No assumptions or speculations will be made. The facts will speak for themselves.

The accused will stand speechless as they realise that all their foolish imaginations of what God is like is proven false. Their rejection of God’s self-revelation will be proven to be of no value. All their past boasting of how they plan to correct God, or make some kind of a deal with God, shall evaporate in the horror of this final court with the overwhelming evidence speaking against them.

The Book of Life shall also be opened in this court. This is the record of all who are registered as citizens of heaven (Php 3:20), all of God’s chosen people (Mal 3:16; Luk 10:20; Php 4:3; Heb 12:23). And, it shall be precisely as John says in Revelation 20:15, if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Every prisoner appearing in this court will have come from Death and Hades. And the inescapable destiny for them is to be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). Jesus words of warning will be fulfilled, whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:18). All those who have been determined to reject God’s mercy in favour of independence and sin, shall finally reap their reward of hell. The tragedy is great, but it is avoidable through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But to all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Romans 8:1 makes it plain, that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. There will not be a single person present in this court who has repented of sin and put faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness – Praise God!

Righteous justice shall prevail at the Great White Throne Judgement. There shall be no bail, no temporary holding cells, no purgatory, no defence, and no right of reply. Likewise, there shall be no challenges, no complaints of injustice, no appeals for retrial, and no pleads for mercy. All who find themselves in this court shall be found guilty. The sentence is severe, it is irreversible, and it is eternal. This brings to an end the history of rebellion and sin. The age of unbelief is shut down, never to be reopened. Satan’s time as the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2) is finished, never to be repeated. Suffering and death has come to an end without the possibility of ever returning.

A new era dawns, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 tells how Christ sovereignly closes this chapter on evil to open a new and eternal realm under the rule of God the Father. Then comes the end, when he (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he (Christ) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him (Christ), then the Son himself will also be subjected to him (God the Father) who put all things in subjection under him (Christ), that God may be all in all.

Christ’s earthly mission is accomplished, all sin, all idolatry, all enemies have been brought under the ultimate Lordship of Jesus Christ. All creation, good and evil, has come before King Jesus, and all have bowed down on their knees in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). At this time Christ takes all that He has accomplished on behalf of His Father and surrenders it all, along with Himself, to the glorious sovereign Father. So that in all things, and through all things, God the Father is glorified.

New Heaven and Earth
The Day of God                (2Pe 3:7-13; Rev 21:1-22:5)
The apostle John, quoting from Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22 gives expression to what he now sees in his ongoing vision. Nothing old remains. No remnant of the past will survive this event. Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. John does not see a rebuilt, or refurbished heaven and earth. There will be no cleaning of the old creation. John sees a first time created heaven and earth, a new heaven and earth. Nothing is carried over from the previous corrupted creation.

With sin totally erased, and every last one of God’s enemies gone, all that remains is the sin contaminated creation of the universe and planet earth. So, God deletes everything of the old created universe, including planet earth. Job 15:15 tells us that the heavens are not pure in his sight. Isaiah 24:5 says the earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. And speaking of the old heavens and earth, Psalm 102:26 explains that they will perish, but you (God) will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away. Jesus affirmed this truth in Luke 21:33, heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Once again, we see the unlimited power of God on display, when, in an instant, everything old is gone and an entirely fresh heaven and earth materialises. Whereas in Genesis chapters 1-2 we saw God create the heavens and earth over a period of six days, but not this time, it’s instantaneous. We saw that the heavens and earth were dramatically changed during the 7 year tribulation period under God’s judgement in preparation for the 1000 year Kingdom period (Rev 16-17), but not this time, it will all get totally replaced. In a single act God shall destroy the old and create the new.

Peter gives insight to this event, saying that the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved… (2 Peter 3:10). When God unleashes His power, everything material will be vapourised in an instant. The Lord does not use any natural phenomena, and no angelic assistance will be involved as it was during the tribulation. This disintegration and creation of the new is totally the result of God’s infinite power.

Heaven Looks Like
Revelation 21:1 introduces us to the heaven of eternity future, it’s a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. This marks the beginning of a new era, a new chapter in God’s eternal reign. Heaven is an actual place, it is not simply a state of mind or a state of spiritual consciousness, but a place. And in this place God has created a new planet earth. Here we see for the first time ever, that the new heaven and new earth shall co-exist as one.

The first this John notices about the new earth is that it has no sea, no oceans. At present, the earth is approximately 70% covered by salt water. It may seem strange to us, but an earth without oceans points to an entirely new planet structure and operation. The new earth will no longer depend upon the hydrological cycle where there is a continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the earth. The effects of rivers flowing into the ocean, and the evaporation of the ocean which feeds the clouds with water vapour, will all be gone. The new creation will look and operate very different from the corrupted present earth.

While there will be no ocean, John saw that there shall be a single river, but not a river flowing with water made up of hydrogen and oxygen. No, heaven’s river will flow with the water of “life” (Rev 22:1). Instead of supplying liquid to sustain the new environment, God’s new river will flow with the essence of life to sustain all that exists.

The New Jerusalem of Heaven
The unmistakable centrepiece of the entire new heaven and new earth shall be the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:2, and I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

In the new creation, God delivers an actual city that is both prebuilt and complete, without any need for further construction. The city is named the “New Jerusalem,” and it is lowered from God’s existing dwelling place to His new dwelling place. John provides us with a great deal of information about this spectacular city, of which he says above all else, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God (Rev 21:3). And because God dwells there, it is “the holy city.” Temptation, sin, error, and falsehood shall never be experienced here. Holiness that perfectly expresses God’s holiness shall be the character of this city. As such, this city shall be the capital city of all the new creation from which God’s holy life shall radiate out.

Therefore, God presented the new Jerusalem as a bride adorned for her husband. John MacArthur comments on this in His MacArthur New Testament Commentary for Revelation 21:1.
Further describing heaven’s capital city, John notes that it was made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. The city is pictured as a bride because it contains the bride and takes on her character. The imagery is drawn from a Jewish wedding, which typically had three parts. First was the betrothal, which was like a modern engagement, but more legally binding. The betrothal of the Lord’s bride took place in eternity past when God pledged to His Son a redeemed people. The next stage was the presentation, a time of celebration and feasting leading up to the actual wedding ceremony. The presentation of the bride took place following the Rapture of the church, when believers are taken to heaven. The third stage was the ceremony, which for the Lord’s bride began at the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:7-9) and stretched through the millennial kingdom. The final stage was the consummation, which corresponds to the eternal state. John saw the bride adorned for her husband because it was time for the consummation.

With God literally existing in the same location as mankind, the place will have no resemblance of the old creation. Revelation 21:4 explains that God will remove the sorrow of tears, the pain of death shall never be experienced again, and the grief of having lost those we love to death shall never be part of this creation. Likewise, pain of all kinds will be no more, sadness causing tears will not exist, as they all belonged to the old and disintegrated former things which shall never return. In every way possible, God’s testimony to John is, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5).

In this new creation, in the new heaven and earth, the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, will never be seen or heard. That’s because sinful people like that will have already been removed through God’s judgement (Rev 20:11-15). Their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Rev 21:8). Here, they are outside of God’s new creation, in a totally different and separate place, a dimension where sinners will exist under continuous and eternal punishment. They will never be able to enter or influence God’s new creation. There will be no interaction between hell and the new creation.

In John 14:1-3, we read Jesus’ comforting words to the disciples the night before His crucifixion.  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. The new Jerusalem shall be the place Jesus’ was speaking of.

An amazing thing happens to the apostle John, one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues approached John saying, Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb. (Rev 21:9), which is the new Jerusalem. John gets a panoramic angelic guided tour of the new Jerusalem by this mighty angel. Below is a summary list with some of the features John sees:
Because of God’s presence in the city, it possesses the glory of God, radiating out just as a jewel shines out light. Plus, it’s translucent, clear as crystal, which means it will magnify and fire out the multicoloured beams of light created from God’s glory in all directions and at all levels (Rev 21:11). The city, and its roads, are constructed of pure transparent gold (Rev 21:18, 21), which means that as the brilliant light of God’s glory radiates out, it will shine through all the dimensions of this city in all directions as a magnificent multicoloured light show.

  • The city is a giant cube in shape, 4 square, it’s as high as it is wide, as it is also in depth. The city measures 12,000 stadia in each direction, that’s about 1500 miles, or 2414 Kilometres (Rev 21:16).
  • The city has a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel… (Rev 21:12-13). There will be 3 gates on each of the 4 sides of the city wall. These 12 gates were made of twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl (Rev 21:21) and shall permanently remain open (Rev 21:25).
  • This outer wall is 144 cubits, that’s about 65 metres, but John does not tell us if that is it’s height or thickness. However, John does say that the wall is made of jasper, which is a crystal material similar in nature to diamonds (Rev 21:17-18). This means the wall will be transparent also.
  • The huge wall sits on 12 foundations which have the names of the 12 apostles inscribed into them (Rev 21:14). These 12 foundations were decorated with every kind of jewel (Rev 21:19).
  • The new Jerusalem will have no temple, as its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb (Rev 21:22).
  • In this entire environment, there will be no sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Rev 21:23). The glorified Lord Jesus Christ will be the One emitting the glory of His Father to illuminate the city.
  • The light which shines from Christ will be so magnified as it beams out through the city, that the entire new heavens and earth will be illuminated by the Father’s glory (Rev 21:23-24). The light will be so pervasive that there will never be a need for a sun or moon ever again. Night-time will no longer exist; it shall be one forever day in the glory of God throughout the new heavens and earth radiating from the new Jerusalem (Rev 22:5).
  • Within the city shall be the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:1). Flowing out from under the throne will be the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, and it shall flow through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month (Rev 22:2). As already noted, this river is not flowing with H2O, but somehow by the power of God, it flows with life. Again, the river of life flows as clear and as bright as crystal as it radiates the glory of God flowing out through the city.
  • As there is no sun or moon, and Gods glory enlightens the entire kingdom continuously, there will be no time as we presently know it. Therefore, John’s choice of words describing the tree of life producing a crop every month is simply illustrative of this tree’s never ending and regular production of fruit.
  • The leaves of this tree shall provide nutrition or therapy which the nations will have access to. As there will be no sickness or disease of any kind, it is difficult for us to imagine the precise function of these leaves. Possibly, if a person is injured in some way, these leaves may provide super-enabled recovery properties for the person. John does not provide us with enough information to speculate further.

The Ultimate Glory of Heaven
As noted earlier, the most amazing thing about our heavenly future is that the dwelling place of God is with man (Rev 21:3). With the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:1) being located in the new Jerusalem, all occupants of the entire eternal kingdom, both human and angelic, will have access to God the Father and Son.

The theme of eternity future will be worship. No longer will there be distractions or limitations to worship. The scene of heaven is set, no longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Rev 22:3-4). Faith will have given way to sight, as everyone will be able to enjoy personal and intimate face to face worship. This will be the ultimate fulfillment of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:8, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The intimacy of relationship with God will be seen by all, as God imprints His name on the foreheads (Rev 22:4) of every redeemed human resident in His heavenly kingdom.

By the light of the glory of God will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into the new Jerusalem. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations (Rev 21:24-26). The human nations will obviously be productive in various ways that we can only imagine. However, whatever these nations produce, their produce will be a sacrifice of worship to God.

The capital city of heaven, the new Jerusalem, will be a place where our present language cannot explain the full nature of worship that will fill it. For us, living in our present fleshly bodies and limited by our tiny minds, heavenly worship is unimaginable and indescribable, no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot express the fulness and wonder of it. However, with all sin removed, and being recreated in perfect likeness of Jesus Christ, we are confident that we will worship like never before. Our minds and our language will no longer suffer limitations. No longer will we have doubts or fears. We shall never pull back in shyness or nervousness. Unrestrained worship shall be as natural and as expected as breathing.

Eternity will echo with the worship expressed in Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

I close this lesson with the challenging words of the apostle Peter as He thought of God’s planned future.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(2 Peter 3:10-13)

So, we say in response, come Lord Jesus!



God’s Planned Future (11) Final Judgement to Eternity Read More »

God’s Planned Future (10) From Armageddon to the Kingdom

The Day of the Lord
Picking up where we left off in lesson 8, where we saw the Day of the Lord fleshed out with Christ’s return to conquer His enemies at Armageddon. The Revelation supplies us with definitive language, removing any doubt of Christ’s victorious return to earth. The armies of earth who came to fight Christ are destroyed by the sword that comes out of His mouth (Rev 19:15-21). Antichrist and the false prophet are thrown alive into the lake of fire (Rev19:20), and an angel, independent of all that has been happening with Christ, descends from heaven, seizes Satan, binds him, and throws him alive into the pit and seals it for 1000 years (Rev 20:1-3).

Revelation 20:1 explains this is a powerful angel, specifically empowered by God for the job of overcoming Satan and binding him with chains. The pit where this mighty angel throws Satan is not the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were thrown (Rev 20:10). This is a unique place of waiting, it is an actual place of confined, chained incarceration, with absolutely no communication with, or influence over, the outside world being possible. During the coming 1000 year Kingdom reign of Christ on earth, Satan shall have absolutely no influence over mankind.

The Day of the Lord is an eventful day, one that marks a sovereign and irreversible shift in history. The world will never be the same. For the first time in human history, the Lord Jesus Christ shall seat Himself on His throne on planet earth.

Israel and Jerusalem Restored
Matthew 25:31 tells us that when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

The hidden and protected remnant of Israel comes out of hiding and Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled. Isaiah 59:20, a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, declares the LORD. The Lord’s words through Ezekiel 37:27-28 shall be visibly fulfilled, My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.

As Christ is seated upon His throne in Jerusalem, the Lord will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10). Israel’s repentance shall be great as they all shall recognise Jesus Christ their Messiah.

The remnant of Israel (Zch 13:8-9; Rev 12:6-16) throughout the tribulation period shall be fully restored, cleansed and surrendered to their King. On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1). The apostle Paul’s teaching of this time shall be completed in Israel. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, the Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; 27 and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins (Romans 11:26-27). As we know, God is a covenant keeping God, and this covenant is no exception.

Zechariah foresaw on that day his (Christ’s) feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east… (Zechariah 14:4). The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward (Ezekiel 39:22). So the entire ethnic nation of Israel is fully restored under King Jesus, never to wander away again.

Added to restored Israel shall be the 144,000 Jewish evangelist men (Rev 7:1-8; 14:3b). They had been sealed by God and have lived through the entire tribulation. They shall witness the return of Christ with the armies of heaven, and they shall simply live on into the kingdom as Jews of Israel, having never experienced death.

The sheep and goat judgement
Following Satan’s incarceration and the restoration of Israel under King Jesus comes the sheep and goat judgement that Christ explained in Matthew 25:31-46. To enable this gathering of people, Mark 13:27 tells us that Jesus will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. I assume that, simultaneously, other angels are sent out to gather the surviving wicked who received the 666 mark of the beast during the tribulation (cf. Jude :14-16; Heb 10:12-13).

Then Jesus will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Mat 25:31-32). This is speaking of all peoples of all nations on earth still alive at the end of the tribulation at Christ’s return. People from around the entire world, who were not part of the battle of Armageddon or the battle at Jerusalem, and somehow survived the horrors of the tribulation judgements.

Then King Jesus shall place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:33-34). Those called sheep are the elect gentiles who have not been martyred for their faith in Jesus and have not received the 666 mark of the beast. These, says Jesus, are rewarded by joining other saints entering the 1000 year Kingdom on earth which Jesus is going to reign over.

The goats who are placed on Jesus’ left, are those who either took the 666 mark of the beast, or, who hid from antichrist and survived without the mark, yet did not believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Matthew 25:41 tells of their doom, then he will say to those on his left, depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. There will be no negotiation, no challenging of Jesus judgement, and no changing of Jesus mind for these people. All opportunities of grace have expired. Only the fearful wrath of eternal fire is certain for these people.

The 7 month clean-up
Due to the enormity of human death and dead bodies, the birds spoken of in Revelation 19:17-18, will not be able to devour them all.
Therefore, the first job for restored Israel will be to bury the remaining dead bodies in their land. Ezekiel 39:11-13 explains, on that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travellers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God.

Even with the whole nation working in the burial project, Israel still takes 7 months to bury the dead. Not to mention the terrible pollution in the rivers, lakes, and oceans from the death during the tribulation judgements.

The 75 Day Interim
When Daniel prophesied of the end of days, he included some maths. Daniel 12:11-13, from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate (the mid-point of the 7 year tribulation) is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives (arrives at the Kingdom period) at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end (the end of the tribulation). And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days (the end of the present counting of days before the 1000 year kingdom begins).

The blessing spoken of at the start of verse 12, is entry into the 1000 year, millennial Kingdom. Daniel says there shall be 1290 days from the mid-point of the tribulation to its end. But that’s more than 3 ½ years which is 1260 days.

He then says there shall be 1335 days from the mid-point of the tribulation to the kingdom. 1335 – 1260 = 75 days. 75 days total difference, or interim gap, between the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the Kingdom period.

There may well be an overlap effect; involving the 7 month burial period and the 75 day interim, reaching from the Day of the Lord through into the beginning of the Kingdom period. However, there is this interim period of time which will accommodate, in part, the early reconstruction of the planet surface and initial rebuilding of Jerusalem in preparation for the Kingdom. Obviously, due to manual labour being used in the burial program, Jesus is going to limit the use of His supernatural power during this interim period.

Remember also, that the surface of the planet has already been levelled during bowl judgement 7. Revelation 16:19-20, …the cities of the nations fell… and every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. Earth’s landscape will look very different. With the total collapse of the world’s cities, the rebuild program is going to be extensive and impressive. Depending upon the extent to which Christ uses His supernatural power, human and technological advancements will accelerate at never before seen rates. In a very short time the earth will produce an abundance of food. More on the Kingdom to follow.

The 1st Resurrection
Revelation 20:4b-5, …also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

All those who were killed during the tribulation for their faith in Christ, who were not included in the armies of heaven that descended with Christ in Revelation 19:14, are resurrected. These are unique believers as they are not included in the New Testament bride of Christ, yet they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4). During what is going to be the most tortured period of human history, they remained faithful.  As they had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands (Rev 20:4), they are included as saints who shall reign with Christ. Theirs’ is not a place of servitude, or in any way of second importance, or of less blessedness in the Kingdom. These tribulation saints shall be from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes (Rev 7:9). This shall be a spectacular resurrection exploding with joy and praise. These precious saints are the recipients of God’s mercy during the wrath of God being unleashed upon the world. These resurrected tribulation saints will know more than any other, that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). The rejoicing at this 1st resurrection shall be great!

When John writes that the rest of the dead did not come to life in verse 5, he is referring to all the people who died during the tribulation carrying the 666 mark of the beast, including all who died without faith in Christ. There will no doubt be people in isolated and remote parts of world who will manage to avoid antichrist. Yet they will not respond to the 144,000 evangelists (Rev 7:3-8; 9:4; 14:1-5), or the flying angels. These 3 angels take the gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people (Rev 14:6-11). Not a single person on the face of the earth shall escape hearing the gospel. Yet, sadly, many will reject Jesus Christ.

At this time also, the Lord shall resurrect the Old Testament saints. Ezekiel 37:12-14 provides some details, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel… And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord (cf. Dan 12:1-2).

These Old Testament saints shall experience the fulfilment of every outstanding Old Testament covenant promise. This brings us to the long awaited Kingdom.

The Millennium   (Christ’s 1000 year Kingdom)
The world often dreams of a utopian environment, a place of peace, pleasure, and love. There have been books written in hope of it, songs composed of it, poems inspired by it, movies made of it, and there are even online games with the theme of utopia. Something within the human heart wishes the world was different and better than it presently is. We wish for a paradise that’s the opposite of the world we know today. The world as we know it has been disfigured by sin. Rebellion against God’s authority has spoiled the earth and everyone who lives on it, and we all feel the pain of it.

Just imagine a world where everything is always right, true and just, with no crime, no war, and no fear. Where every part of society, business, family life, and education, was orderly, safe, and harmonious.  Think of this world with total and lasting peace built on righteousness. A world where relationships are loving, forgiving, and long lasting. Where differences get resolved calmly. Where joy and good health is everywhere, with people living long and contented lives.

Imagine no natural disasters, where weather is dependable, where wild animals and lambs lie together in peace. Where not only wild animals play with children, but the children lead the wild animals. Imagine having a global abundance of food and fresh drinking water, where there is no pollution or waste problem.

A world ruled by one perfect ruler. Where only glorified, perfected people serve as governors of countries, who carry out the ruler’s will and purposes without hidden agendas or corruption. Imagine a world where sin is almost never seen and is not a problem. And if sin does occur it’s dealt with instantly and firmly. Where justice is truly righteous.

Ever since the garden of Eden, God has been promising such a future kingdom. A kingdom where that which was lost in Eden shall be restored and much more added. Prophets have predicted it, the world has cried out for it, the church has prayed for it, but it won’t come until Jesus Christ returns to establish such an earthly kingdom.

I speak of course, of the coming consummation of the earthly Kingdom of God. The 1000 year millennial reign of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords shall initiate an eternal sovereign reign on earth.

In our walk along the path of God’s chronology of His planned future, the justice which God’s people have been crying out for finally arrives. God works it all out through His Son Jesus Christ in what the Bible describes as the tribulation, culminating in the Day of the Lord. With Satan and all his evil demons imprisoned, and every nonbelieving person also incarcerated, Christ initiates His earthly Kingdom.

All of God’s believing people are now gathered from all ages and all nations ready for God’s Son to establish His long awaited Kingdom on earth. This is NOT simply a spiritual kingdom, but a divine physical Kingdom on planet earth.

Here, Jesus will rule on the throne of His Jewish ancestor King David, as the Sovereign over His Kingdom. Jesus declared of Himself in Revelation 22:16, I am the root and the descendant of David. Luke 1:26 tells us that the angel Gabriel was sent from God to tell the young virgin girl called Mary of the Son she would soon give birth to. Gabriel explained that He (Jesus) will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32-33). 

Israel shall be restored (Isa 11:9-12) and become the prime nation as Jeremiah 3:17 predicted. At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. The planet shall be governed through Jesus as Zechariah 14:9 said, and the LORD will be king over all the earth. (cf. Gen 15:18; Dt 7:6-9; 2Sa 7:12-16; 1Ki 8:22-24; Jer 33:14-16).

Jerusalem will be the governing city positioned on an elevated piece of land where Jesus’ throne shall reside. The Prophet Micah clarifies this in Micah 4:2, and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Old Testament saints shall rule as under-shepherds of King Jesus. Daniel 7:27 sets the program out for Israel; and the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. So, this resurrection of all Old Testament saint is critical to the integrity of God keeping His promises and the future operation of Israel in Christ’s Kingdom.

Similarly, New Testament saints shall also rule as under-shepherds of Jesus in this Kingdom. Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? 1 Corinthians 6:2 (cf. 2Ti 2:12; Rev 2:26; 3:21).

Likewise, the disciples/apostles shall rule as under-shepherds of Jesus in this Kingdom. When Jesus was explaining to the disciples how difficult it is to enter the Kingdom of God, He said in Matthew 19:28, …in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me (the disciples) will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Consummation of the New Covenant
At this time Christ brings to fruition every outstanding covenant promise made with Israel, including the New Covenant which was ratified by Christ on the Cross (Luk 22:20; 1Co 11:25). The prophet Jeremiah looked past Christ’s mission to the cross, and says the ultimate consummation of the New Covenant is in the distant future. Jeremiah 31:31, 33 Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah… 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people (cf. Eze 37:26-28; Isa 59:20-21).

Remember, the New Covenant is primarily focused on Israel. We Gentiles of the church have secondarily been grafted into it (Romans 11:17-19). As with all of God’s covenants, they are based upon the integrity of God’s “I will” declarations.

According to the New Covenant, it will be God who pours out on Israel a spirit of grace, and Israel will plead for mercy as those predestined and energised by the Lord to call upon the mercy of God. This shall happen because the Lord will implant within them an awakening to the fact that they pierced Christ. Their repentance will be initiated and empowered by the sovereignty of God in fulfilment of His eternal will. In Daniel 4:35, we read Nebuchadnezzar’s statement of how this happens, following the Lord restoring him after 7 years of living like a wild animal. He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” God’s sovereign will and power shall bring to perfect fulfilment in the millennial Kingdom every covenantal promise ever made to Israel. God’s holy integrity guarantees this.

So, all the surviving remnant of Israel are saved, and restored as a nation under the new covenant with their redeemer, King Jesus. The 1/3 remnant of Israel, the 144,000 evangelist men, plus the survivors of the tribulation who survived the goat and sheep judgement. All these shall enter the 1000 year earthly millennial Kingdom with Jesus as King.

Old Testament Covenants Fulfilled
The New Covenant is simply one of many covenants God made with His Old Testament people which shall come to full execution. All spiritual, physical, and land promises within Old Testament covenants shall find their literal fulfillment based on God’s gracious will. The Lord declared to Israel through the mouth of Moses in Deuteronomy 7:6-9, for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.

God’s selection of Israel and His unique covenant relationship with Israel has never been based on Israel’s performance or worthiness. Yes, the way God interacted with Israel has varied in accordance with Israel’s obedience or disobedience. But the covenant relationship with Israel itself remains, and it waits for ultimate fulfillment in every detail.

God will fulfil His covenant land promise to Abraham. Genesis 15:18, On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…” The Lord will give the promised land in full to Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.

The Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel chapter 7, establishes the eternal rule of David’s line, with its ultimate fulfilment in the coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord spoke to King David through the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 saying, …I will raise up your offspring after you (Solomon), who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 …and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever (cf. Jer 33:14-16).

Solomon proclaimed at the dedication of the temple he built in 1 Kings 8:22-24, …there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart; 24 you have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day (cf.  2Ch 6:14).

Paul explained in Galatians 3:17 that the law, which came 430 years afterward (that is, after Abraham), does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. Paul was confident that the Lord would fulfil the covenant He made with Abraham and David without any need to reinterpret or spiritualise it. The covenant promises stand without question because of God’s holy integrity.

Characteristics of the Kingdom
The 1000 year period spoken of in the first 7 verses of Revelation 20, is a literal 1000 year period. This is as certain as when God created the world in 6 literal, 24 hour days. It is as certain as the 3 days between Jesus’ death and resurrection. God meant what He said. This 1000 year period is mentioned 6 times in 7 verses (:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) as if to reinforce the literal nature of the Holy Spirit’s intended meaning in His authorship.

Christ shall reign for these 1000 years over a restored earth, but it is NOT a re-created earth, because it still carries the marks of sin and wrath incurred during the tribulation.  Although the Day of the Lord ends human history as we know it and the millennial Kingdom shall be wonderful, it still cannot be compared to the upcoming eternal state.

However, the Millennial Kingdom shall be wonderful and beyond anything we have experienced. First and foremost, Jesus the Lord will be king over all the earth… (Zec 14:9).

Society shall be safe for young and old, with no need to hide for fear of harm. Society shall function in a much more open fashion as Zechariah describes. Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets (Zec 8:4-5). And it (Jerusalem) shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security (Zec 14:11).

While there shall be many nations present in the Kingdom, the prime, governing nation shall be Israel under the rulership of King Jesus. Daniel prophesied that to him (Jesus) was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed (Dan 7:13-14).

Judah and Israel reunified
At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel (Reunification of Israel), and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage (Jer 3:17-18).

Repopulation of the earth
No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed (Isa 65:20).

  • Israel, the tribulation survivors, and the 144,000 Jewish men shall all be able to marry and have families.
  • Infant mortality shall cease. No more abortions. No more euthanasia of old people.
  • There shall still be death, but people shall live much longer.
  • There, sin will only occur occasionally, and it shall be judged immediately – more on this shortly.
  • They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands (Isa 65:21-22). Land squatters shall no longer exist. No longer will people steel land of any kind from others. Those who build and farm the land shall enjoy the benefits of their property and work for a very long time.
  • Business endeavours shall prosper. Productive living shall be normal. Horticulture shall flourish. People will experience high productivity and satisfaction from their work.
  • They shall not labour in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them (Isaiah 65:23). There will be no more natural, social, or economic disasters to ruin lives.
  • Christ shall rule with righteous justice. For the few who sin, Christ will deal with it immediately. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins (Isa 11:3-5). Sin will carry the ultimate penalty of death. Justice for sin shall be right, fair, just, and swift. These people shall go to the holding place called hades and wait for the 2nd resurrection to the Great White Throne Judgement which follows the Millennial Kingdom.
  • King Jesus will not base His judgement simply on hearsay but on what He knows to be true. He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. Neither evidence or witnesses shall be required (Jer 23:5). The King shall make His rulings based on His infinite and perfectly accurate knowledge of the sinner’s heart and the facts of the events. This shall NOT apply to the New Testament saints, the tribulation saints, or the Old Testament saints, as they will have had their ability to sin removed.
  • God’s temple shall be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Acts 15:16 After this I (Jesus) will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it. Zechariah 6:12-13 adds, and say to him (:11 Joshua, the son of Jehozadak), ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch (Jesus, Zec 3:8): for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honour, and shall sit and rule on his throne…
    Micah 4:2 expands on this, and many nations shall come, and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Religion shall not be a begrudged duty for most – they shall be able to enter the temple in Jerusalem and have counsel with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  • The curse of Genesis 3 shall be lifted. Physically, the horticultural blessings of Eden shall be restored. The human and animal kingdoms shall live in harmony with each other. Isaiah 11:6-9 tells us that the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
  • There shall be an abundance of food for which people will praise God. Joel 2:25-26 explains, I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. 26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, People shall praise God for His abundant supply of food – gratitude.
  • Good health shall prevail. Even the surviving saints who enter the Kingdom damaged from the tribulation shall be healed. Isaiah 29:18-19, In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord. Depression and all forms of mental health problems shall be a thing of the past. Isaiah 35:10, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
  • It shall be a time of intimate relationship and provision by King Jesus. Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Although Jesus is living on earth, people will still pray to Him. Remember also, that people will be able to travel to Jerusalem to seek an audience with their King. This Kingdom period is when people shall have a personal relationship with the Lord which will be so close that He will anticipate and provide for their every need in advance (cf. Isa 58:9; Mat 6:8, 32).

The Millennial Kingdom shall be a unique time on planet earth. With Satan, demons, and rebellious unbelievers gone, God’s people will willingly and joyfully obey and worship King Jesus.

There is obviously going to be governmental and social structure flowing down from King Jesus through Israel to the rest of the world. Leadership will not be challenged as they will rule with perfected righteousness. Submission will be a joyful expression of worship. Gratitude for the abundant supply of every needed thing will flow naturally and without complaint. Peace and unity within human society, marriages, families, and right through to the animal kingdom shall be the normal pattern of life.

For only the second time in human history, perfect health will be experienced by all. Complaining will be rare and will stand out as the terrible thing it is as King Jesus provides an abundance of everything in life. Worship shall flow as freely and naturally as breathing. True holy living shall be the common experience and not thought of as being strange or restrictive.

Human repopulation of planet earth shall be rapid. Security within the family shall be absolute. Divorce shall be unheard of. In all aspects of all relationships, a righteous reflection of Jesus’ character shall be normal.

Indeed, we believers who live now have much to look forward to. Our hope should be strengthened, our sense of security enriched, and our longing for the return of Jesus in the clouds to rapture His church heightened. The rapture is the next great event on God’s calendar, triggering all that must follow leading up to the Kingdom with Jesus Christ reigning supreme.

Come Lord Jesus!

God’s Planned Future (10) From Armageddon to the Kingdom Read More »

God’s Planned Future (9) Matthew 24-25, Daniel’s, and Revelation Prophecies

In this lesson we shall consider some of the corresponding predictions between Daniel’s prophecies in chapters 9 and 12 with Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew chapters 24-25. Remember also, that Matthew 24 corresponds with the chronological timeline of the Revelation.

Matthew 24 begins with Jesus and His disciples walking away from the temple in Jerusalem, when the disciples draw to Jesus’ attention all the buildings of the temple. Jesus responds by saying, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down (Mat 24:2).

Arriving at the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples ask Him 2 questions. First, when will these things be? And second, what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? (Mat 24:3).

First, for us, we can easily look back into history and see that Jesus’ words in verse 2, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down, were fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman army, under General Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. Although we have not seen it yet, the Jerusalem temple is going to be rebuilt and the priestly ministry will be reinstated with the sacrifices in the future. This will most likely happen immediately following the rapture with the approval of antichrist.

For the answer to the disciple’s second question, Jesus proceeds to give a detailed explanation quoting from Daniel’s prophecy which also matches with John’s Revelation. As we bring all 3 prophecies together, we see that the future will look like this:

  • Daniel 9:26, and after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing (That was Jesus’ earthly life). And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (That was the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70). Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed (This is the future tribulation following the rapture).
  • Matthew 5:5, many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. We see this today with all the false prophets and false claims of being reincarnated Jesus. But this will increase immediately following the rapture. When the church is removed from this world there will remain many false believers who were left behind. These will follow false christs as they pursue justifying their false belief which was the cause of them not being taken in the rapture of the true bride of Christ.
  • Matthew 24:6, and you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. This corresponds with Seal #1 in Revelation 6:1-2. The Antichrist establishes temporary world peace politically, militarily, and religiously. Antichrist will support the rebuilding of the temple as a gesture of peace to Israel when he makes a 7 year covenant of peace with them (Dan 9:27a). As time goes by in the early years of the tribulation, rumours of wars will be heard of. Then those rumours will become actual battles as peace dissolves into wars in different places and for different reasons.
  • Matthew 24:7, for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. This corresponds with Seals #2-4 in Revelation. Antichrist’s peace soon dissolves into anarchy beginning with war. Revelation 6:4 explains Seal #2, its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another. War is followed by famine and shortage of food in Seal #3. Again, Seal #4 sees mass death with ¼ of the world’s population dying (Rev 6:8).
  • Matthew 24:8, Jesus tells His disciples that all these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Things are about to get much worse as Jesus predicts in Matthew 24:21, for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. The 2nd 3 ½ year period of the 7 year tribulation is called “great tribulation” (cf. Mk 13:14-19; Rev 7:14) because it is the worst judgement ever.
  • In between Matthew 24:8 and 9, Daniel’s 3 ½ year prophecy happens on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate (Daniel 9:27). Mark 13:14a adds, when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be.

Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 11 provides more specific detail. Daniel 11:31 says that antichrist’s military forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress (the city of Jerusalem. cf. Luk 21:20) and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. This will be some representation of antichrist (Dan 12:11) with his army telling people to worship him.

Then He (antichrist) shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action (Dan 11:32, 39b). Antichrist will use complementary language and enticement to persuade everyone who is happy to break the 7 year peace covenant with Israel to faithfully follow him. This will include both Jews and Gentiles. However, there will be people of God, faithful Jews, and believers in Jesus Christ, who see through antichrist’s deception, and they will resist him in any way possible.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, let no one deceive you in any way. For that day… the man of lawlessness (antichrist) is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God (cf. Dan 11:36-37).

Revelation 11:2b, do not measure the court outside the temple (Jerusalem); leave that out, for it is given over to the nations (Gentiles), and they will trample the holy city (Jerusalem); for forty-two months (3 ½ years).

So, we see that halfway through the tribulation, antichrist and his army break the 7 year covenant of peace with Israel and hijack Jerusalem (This is NOT Armageddon). He stops the temple worship in Jerusalem and authorises his Gentile army to govern Jerusalem while Jews are still living there. He declares himself to be God and instructs the world to worship him as god (Dan 9:27; 11:31, 36; 12:11; Mt 24:9, 15-21; Lk 21:20; 2Th 2:3-4; Rev 11:2). While Jerusalem will be damaged, it will NOT be destroyed.

  • At this 3 ½ year point also, Israel’s 1/3 remnant are put into hiding and protected by God somewhere in the desert for the 2nd 3½ year period of the tribulation (Zch 13:8-9; Rev 12:6-16). It is possible that some of the Jewish 144,000 men are hidden away with these people also.
  • Matthew 24:9-14, then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. Once antichrist declares himself to be god, he demands that the world worship him alone. With the disappearance of 1/3 of Israel, and antichrist’s inability to find them, antichrist introduces the false prophet and the image of the beast, then marks his followers with his 666 mark (Rev 13:16-17). 

While there will be a great spiritual awakening during the tribulation from the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7:3-8; 9:4: 14:1-5), the 2 male Jewish witnesses (Rev 11:1-14), and the 3 hovering angels (Rev 14:6-11), there will be great deception also. There will be many false evangelists with false gospels (Mat 24:11), leading people to become false converts. These false converts will fall away (Mat 24:10), accepting the 666 mark of antichrist because of antichrist’s deception and the terrible events of the tribulation judgements (Mat 24:12). Only the genuinely converted tribulation saints will remain faithful and not receive the 666 mark.

Revelation 20:4 tells us that these tribulation believers will be those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. These faithful believers will either be martyred for their faith, or they will somehow persevere to the end of the tribulation. Everyone who is discovered to have refused the mark of the beast, and refuse to worship antichrist will be executed, which is Seal #5 in Revelation 6:9-11; 14:13. Martyrdom of tribulation converts to Jesus as Saviour and Lord will escalate.

This is how Matthew 24:14 will play out during the tribulation, and this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. The gospel will be proclaimed right up to the end of the 7 year tribulation when Christ returns in Revelation 19.

  • Matthew 24:15-21, so when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel (Dan 9:27, antichrist at the tribulation 3 ½ year point), standing in the holy place, 16 then let those (tribulation converts) who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then (the 2nd 3 ½ years) there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

Here, Jesus explains that if you happen to be a convert to Jesus during the 1st 3 ½ year period of the tribulation, and you see antichrist commit the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, run for your life! Things are about to get much worse. Not only will you not be able to buy and sell without the 666 mark (Rev 13:16), but you will most likely be executed for believing in Jesus if discovered.

  • Matthew 24:22, Jesus continues to explain that if the 7 year tribulation was permitted to continue any longer, mankind, under antichrist’s leadership, would annihilate themselves. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

God wants to preserve living people to continue into His 1000 year kingdom. Plus, God wants to preserve the nation Israel to fulfill the remaining Old Testament promises to them. This requires survival of both humans and planet earth.

Close to the end of the tribulation, bowl judgement number 6 (Rev 16:12-16) sees the river Euphrates dried up; and the world’s armies join forces with the northern and eastern armies. They march westward across dry land, where the river Euphrates used to be, to meet at the place called Armageddon, waiting for Christ to arrive for battle.

Meanwhile, other smaller armies attack and take over unbelieving Jerusalem (Zch 14:1-4) which is a mix of both Jew and Gentile in rebellion against antichrist. But Jerusalem is NOT destroyed.

While waiting for Christ to arrive for battle at Armageddon, bowl judgement number 7 is poured out (Rev 16:17-21). This is the storm to end all storms, but this is still NOT Armageddon or Christ’s return!

  • Flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder
  • A severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth
  • The great city (Jerusalem) splits into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed
  • Every island fled away
  • The mountains could not be found
  • From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds (45Kg) each fell upon men

The planet’s tectonic plates move as never before to completely change the surface of the earth. All the cities around the world collapse into piles of rubble. Jerusalem is the ONLY city left standing on what will be a raised area of land. The surface of the earth is restructured from being mountainous to being a gentle and undulating landscape in preparation for the 1000 year Kingdom.

Remember, while this is happening, Israel’s 1/3 remnant and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists remain protected by God. The battle of Armageddon has not happened, and Christ has not returned yet, but He soon will.

  • Matthew 24:27, for as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. This speaks of Jesus’ 2nd stage of His return. Stage 1 was the rapture, when Jesus snatches the church up to the clouds. Stage 2, which comes later, is Jesus’ decent to touching planet earth to conquer it (Zch 14:4). Revelation 19:11-16 describes Jesus returning with the armies of heaven. Daniel 12:7b explains this return of Christ as when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. Christ’s return will bring an end to antichrist’s reign.
  • Matthew 24:28, wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Revelation 19:17-18 tells us that a colossal number of birds (vultures) gather to start eating the dead bodies in the 1st stage of the clean-up project following Jesus’ conquering at Armageddon.

While Daniel finishes his prophecy in Daniel 12:13, Jesus continues in Matthew chapter 24 as does John in the Revelation.

Before we look at Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:29-31, we shall briefly consider Daniel’s final words.

Daniel 12:11-13, And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.
12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.
13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.

We understand that verse 11 says there will be 3 ½ years (1,290 days) from the time of antichrist committing the abomination that makes desolate to Christ’s return. Then in verse 13, Daniel continues to tell us that those who wait for 1335 days will be blessed. This creates a 75 day difference, or interim gap, between Christ’s return and another significant event which Daniel does not name. However, it is Daniel’s expectation that some will survive through this period for them to be blessed. The only clue Daniel gives is found in his final sentence; and you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days (Daniel 12:13). This indicates that for those who survive through the extended period of 1335 days, which is 75 days beyond Christ’s return, they shall stand in a place specifically allotted to them by God. In the Jewish context of Daniel’s prophecy, this would indicate standing in the new Kingdom with King Jesus. We see God’s prophecies further fulfilled for Israel through Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 and the Revelation.

Matthew 25:34, then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

The invitation given in verse 34 will be to the saved people who somehow survive through to the end of the tribulation. They will include the 144,000 Jewish men, the surviving tribulation saints, and the remnant of Israel who were protected by God in the desert who have now all been saved. These people are separated out as the sheep on Jesus’ right side in the sheep and goat judgement. These are the ones Daniel spoke of when he said, you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days (Daniel 12:13). There allotted place is with Jesus in the new kingdom.

Matthew 24:29-31 finds Jesus giving a 3 point summary of the final days of this world as we presently know it, and the beginning of the transition to His new kingdom period.

First, verse 29, Jesus shows us the final condition of this present world moments before He returns.

Second, verse 30, Jesus again shows us the glory of His actual return to conquer the world.

Third, verse 31, Jesus shows us how He gathers the surviving believers from around the world following Armageddon and His return.

First – Matthew 24:29, immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

When the complete trilogy of 7 seal judgements, 7 trumpet judgements, and 7 bowl judgements have been dispensed, the end of the tribulation arrives. The accumulation of all the judgements is unimaginable. The entire earth is changed, the solar system is dismantling as it falls to pieces, bombarding the earth with meteorites. The 24 hour cycle of day and night has changed with the bare minimum of sunlight only partially illuminating the darkened earth.

The remaining unbelievers, including those in antichrist’s army are covered in painful sores, sunburnt, hungry, and dehydrated from the lack of water and food. The catastrophic effects of bowl #7 storm has destroyed every city in the world with homes now just a pile of rubble. The earth’s landscape looks totally different. Land and oceans have been redefined because of the bowl #7 earthquakes. Most, if not all, of the world’s satellites will have been destroyed and fallen out of the sky or floated off into space as redundant junk. The world’s supercomputers will have been crushed as with the world’s electricity plants. The toxic waste wafting around the globe from radioactive residue and chemical spillage will be indescribable. Present day maps will be of little use. Jerusalem is the only city left standing, which will enrage antichrist and the remaining unbelievers even more.

The scene on earth immediately after the tribulation of those days, and briefly before Christ’s return, will be so extreme that we can only partially imagine the horrors of it now.

Second – Matthew 24:30, then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

With the earth and solar system devastated, and Jerusalem being the only city still standing, although overrun by Gentiles and split into 3 parts, antichrist’s bedraggled armies wait to do battle with Jesus at Armageddon. Then it happens. Christ returns!

Into this darkened environment, the Son of Man will enter the earth’s sky. A divine portal from heaven to earth’s atmosphere opens, through which Jesus launches down through the clouds to earth. The brilliance of His glory will light up the sky with His radiance as never seen before. Somehow, people around the world will be able to see Jesus’ entrance. It may be that enough manmade technology will still be functioning to allow global viewing of it. Or it may be supernaturally enabled. But this much is certain, Jesus’ identity and magnificence will be unmistakable, and seen by all. As antichrist’s remaining armies look upward to behold their enemy approaching, they will know their demise is only moments away.

Jesus returns with His heavenly armies (That’s us, Rev 19:14) to conquer at Armageddon and Jerusalem (Zec 14:3-5b). The armies with Christ have no weapons because Christ is the weapon. There is no actual fighting, no battle, Christ simply destroys His enemies by His spoken word (Rev 19:15). Zechariah 14:12 explains in graphic detail, this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

This is not atomic warfare. Rather, this is the power of Jesus’ spoken word. Revelation 14:20 sees the combined blood of these battles as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia (approx. 300Km). The brutal physical devastation caused by Christ as He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (Revelation 19:15). The destruction of His enemies at Armageddon and Jerusalem produces such an enormous volume of blood that the earth will not be able to immediately soak it in.

  • Antichrist and the false prophet are captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur (Rev 19:20b).
  • An angel coming down from heaven… seized the dragon… who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer (Rev 20:1-3).

Third – Matthew 24:31, and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Following Christ’s victorious return, the world is a quite a different place. Satan is gone, antichrist and the false prophet are gone. All opposing armies are gone also.

Christ wastes no time in rounding up the surviving people from around the world. There will, however, remain many antichrist supporters in other places around the world. Likewise, there will be believers in Christ scattered who have not taken the 666 mark of the beast.

So, Christ will send out his angels, who will …gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 25:32-34 continues, before him (Christ) will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King (Christ) will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Then he will say to those on his left, depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels
(Matthew 25:41).

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (Matthew 25:46. cf. Heb 10:12-13; Jude:14-16). This judgement is commonly referred to as the sheep and goat judgement.

God’s Planned Future (9) Matthew 24-25, Daniel’s, and Revelation Prophecies Read More »

God’s Planned Future (8) Bowl Judgements – Armageddon

John begins Revelation chapter 15 by saying in verse 1, then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.

But, before John explains the pouring out of these 7 final judgements in chapter 16, he enlightens about an activity in heaven during this time of God’s wrath upon the earth.

Again, John’s attention is taken by this large sea of glass mingled with fire in verse 2, which is the same sea spoken of in chapter 4:6. This crystal-like sea lays before God’s throne where there is continual worship. However, this time, John can’t help but notice a specific group of people standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands (Rev 15:2b). John tells us precisely who these people are, they are those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name (15:2a).

John spoke of these people in Revelation 6:9, when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. Again, John tells of these people in chapter 14:13, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them!”  These people put faith in Jesus Christ following the rapture of the church and have been executed under the authority of antichrist during the tribulation.

Upon arriving in heaven, they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been (Rev 6:11). These martyred Christians, both Jew and Gentile, rise from the earth to heaven during the 7 years of tribulation to join the worship of God while God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth. Here, we see God’s great mercy during the tribulation. God has sovereignly predetermined the number of their fellow servants who will be saved throughout the entire 7 year tribulation. And the salvation of sinners will continue right to the end, when Jesus returns in chapter 19, when that number will be complete. The reality though, is that most who put faith in Christ during the tribulation will be killed for their faith.

In Revelation 20:4 John provides more information of these martyred believers. John says, …also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands…

Antichrist will globally legalise the death penalty for all Christians during the tribulation. To say money and to conserve military resources, antichrist will authorise beheading as the preferred method of execution.

Ironically, the torment antichrist hopes to inflict on believers through beheading will only serve to release them from the torment of this world. Beheaded saints will immediately appear in heaven with great reward waiting for them. John tells of the wonderful scene in heaven, where these martyred saints sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
                “Great and amazing are your deeds,
                O Lord God the Almighty!
                Just and true are your ways,
                O King of the nations!
                Who will not fear, O Lord,
                and glorify your name?
                For you alone are holy.
                All nations will come and worship you,
                for your righteous acts have been revealed”
                (Rev 15:3-4).
These precious, redeemed people, rescued out of the very wrath of God, will sing these words with a purity of worship and unique insights of the glory of God with fresh and vibrant passion. Heaven will echo the rejoicing wonders of God’s mercy triumphing over judgement (Jas 2:13).

While jubilant worship is resounding in heaven out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever (Rev 15:6-7). Judgement must continue until it is complete.

What a fearful sight, as one of the four living creatures hands out to each of these 7 angels a bowl containing the final and full manifestation of God’s wrath to be poured out upon the world. It’s not surprising that John observed that the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished (Rev 15:8). God is unapproachable for this final rapid-fire sequence. Divine determination will see that His wrath is completed. There will be no short cuts, no half measures, and no negotiations. The end is near, all heaven knows it, yet the rebellious world continues in their defiant warring against God and His people.

Revelation 16:1, then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.
John again picks up the Revelation timeline from the 7th trumpet of chapter 11:15. When trumpet 7 sounds, the 7 bowls of God’s wrath open. With the ongoing effects of the previous seal and trumpet judgements, it’s difficult to imagine the horrors seizing the remaining world population. As this is nearing the end of the 7 years of tribulation, these bowls open quickly, dumping God’s final wrath upon the rebellious world with accumulative effects.

Bowl 1: Rev 16:2 – angel number 1 pours out his bowl, and painful malignant sores of an ulcer type break out on every person who has the mark of the beast (666). Not one person on the planet who worships antichrist will escape these terrible festering and incurable sores. These sores will most likely infect the blood system causing debilitating physical and mental health problems.

Bowl 2: Rev 16:3 – angel number 2 pours out his bowl, and the entire sea turns to blood with every living thing in it dying. Every remaining life form that exists in the oceans around the world dies. It’s hard to imagine the incalculable number of decomposing creatures throughout the world’s oceans. The waters will thicken into a coagulation of rotting flesh as bacteria breads diseases while the air will become nauseating to breath.

The remaining food supply that survived the second trumpet judgement upon the sea will abruptly die. Many of the shipping ways will be severely cluttered with rotting bodies, unable to be navigated. Desalination plants which many countries depend upon for converting salt water to fresh water for drinking, will be incapacitated and rendered useless. Oceanic hydro electricity generation plants will not be able to operate in the thick sludge which will no longer flow in normal tidal currents. Similarly, industry’s sea water cooling systems will no longer work, bringing factories to a standstill.

Bowl 3: Rev 16:4 – angel number 3 pours out his bowl, and all remaining freshwater from rivers and springs turn to blood. This removes all natural sources of fresh drinking water. No freshwater irrigation for crops will exit. Many humans and animals will die of thirst and malnutrition.

Bowl 4: Rev 16:8 – angel number 4 pours out his bowl upon the sun which produces such intense heat upon the earth that it scorches people and there is no relief. Instead of the sun sustaining life on earth, it becomes a killer. Solar flares, which will be totally outside of man’s control, will burn people’s skin severely from only minimal exposure to sunlight. Remember, these people will already be suffering from pussy sores and dehydration. What little remains of public medical services will be overwhelmed by burn casualties.

Because of increased atmospheric temperatures, the polar ice caps, global ice glaciers, and the worldwide ice and snow will melt. Sea levels will rise, not because of the polar ice melting, but because of the glacier and snow melting. The result will be massive flooding with enormous volumes of water rushing over sun parched land. Landslides will be common. Low lying islands will be submersed. Damage to natural resources and property, not to mention the loss of life through drowning, will be catastrophic.

Bowl 5: Rev 16:10 – angel number 5 poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness.
The 5th angel releases a bowl of darkness that effects the physical, political, and religious aspects of antichrist’s kingdom. With light now darkened, the result will be anarchy throughout his earthly kingdom. The angel does not only darken the atmospheric light through this bowl, but the throne of antichrist.

Therefore, the darkening effects of this judgement flows down from the beast throughout his entire kingdom. Due to diminished visibility and mental alertness, accidents of all kinds will greatly increase. Antichrist’s people are covered in festering sores, they are hungry and thirsty, they are demoralised, yet they are driven by blind hatred of God. Errors from minor to major will be commonplace. As a result of the increased suffering from anarchy, people gnawed (chewed) their tongues in anguish due to the accumulative physical, mental, and spiritual suffering experienced.

Yet, in spite of the extremity of suffering, people cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores because they understand this is the judgement of Almighty God. Not surprising then, burning with blind hatred towards God, they did not repent of their deeds.

Bowl 6: Rev 16:12 – angel number 6 pours out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
With the river Euphrates being the longest river of the middle-east, it is significant because it divides nations. When it dries up, it not only leaves the land more parched from the lack of irrigation, but it leaves vast areas of rotting river creatures and vegetation. With Euphrates gone, this creates a dry pathway for a large eastern military force to transport themselves in a direct line towards Jerusalem.

At present, the largest and most powerful nation to the east is China and her neighbouring nations. However, the world’s political system and the division of nations will look very different by the time bowl number 6 arrives. Having the great river Euphrates gone will be necessary for the eastern armies to reach their ultimate destination of Armageddon for the final battle of mankind.

John continues to explain in Revelation 16:13-14, I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan) and out of the mouth of the beast (antichrist) and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

Here, John sees the unholy satanic trinity unleash 3 powerful froglike demons who frantically rush out on a final worldwide mission of deception. Focusing their deceptive powers, they perform miraculous signs before the leaders of the nations, they stop at nothing to seduce the shattered nations into united military submission. From the ashes of the eastern nations a diseased and bedraggled army, reinforced by the kings of the whole world (Rev 16:14) including the northern allies, arrive at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon (Rev 16:16) for battle on the great day of God the Almighty (Rev 16:14). Revelation 17:12-14 tells us that this confederation will consist of 10 nations united in war against the Lamb (Jesus Christ) and Israel (cf. Joel 3:2, 9-13). This will be the battle of Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel 38-39. Gog is the name of the ruler who is over the northern federation of nations called Magog. Presently, we know the northern nations as the Russian federation of nations. But, as with China, the names and identities of these may change during the tribulation.

Armageddon, Megiddo (Jezreel Valley or Har-Magedon), depending on the translation, is a place rich in battle history for Israel (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22). Located in the Northern District of Israel, about 100Km north of Jerusalem, it is a large plain with an inland valley that was called the Valley of Megiddo in ancient times.

The broken down armies of the world, covered in sores and severely sunburnt, set themselves up ready for battle. Much of their technology and artillery has been destroyed already by the previous judgements of God. However, they are determined to fight, but they must wait because the one they have come to war against (The Lamb, Jesus Christ) has not arrived yet.

Meanwhile, other smaller, localised battles will happen in the area of Jerusalem as antichrist tries to destroy everything associated with Israel (Zec 14:1-3). His effort will fail for two reasons. First, God has been hiding and protecting a 1/3 remnant of Israel in the wilderness (Zec 13:8-9; Rev 12:6-16). Second, when Christ arrives on the scene, He will conquer all armies in one final, brief, and victorious battle where there will be no actual fighting.

So, while the world waits at Armageddon, the 7th angel pours out bowl judgement number 7 into the air.

Bowl 7:
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city (Jerusalem) split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible (Rev 16:17-21).

This 7th and final bowl judgement is by far the worst and most concentrated judgement this world has experienced in its entire history. With the completion of bowl 7 judgement, the wrath of God is finished (Rev 15:1). Immediately following the outpouring of bowl 7, Jesus Christ returns to wrap it all up with sovereign justice and Kingship.

The catastrophic events of this bowl are breathtaking:

  • Flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder
  • A severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth
  • The great city (Jerusalem) splits into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed
  • Every island fled away
  • The mountains could not be found
  • From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds (45Kg) each fell upon men

This final storm exceeds all other forces of nature. The atmosphere unleashes every kind of disaster possible. The planet convulses with earthquakes so severe that mountains collapse, and islands, which are underwater mountains, also collapse and disappear from the oceans. The planet’s tectonic plates move as never before to completely change the surface of the earth.

The ground beneath the great city, which according to Revelation 11:8 is Jerusalem, where Jesus was crucified, opens to divide the city into three. All other cities around the world collapse into piles of rubble. Jerusalem is the ONLY city left standing on what will be a raise area of land. The surface of the earth is restructured from being mountainous to being a gentle and undulating landscape.

John MacArthur adds…
The Mount of Olives will split in two, and a new valley running east and west will be created (Zech. 14:4). A spring of water will flow year-round from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean and Dead Seas (Zech. 14:8), causing the desert to blossom like a rose (cf. Isa. 35:1). Jerusalem will be elevated, and the surrounding region flattened into a plain (Zech. 14:10). Thus, the purpose of the earthquake as it relates to Jerusalem is not to judge the city, but to enhance it.
(John MacArthur Revelation Commentary, Rev 16:19).

The remaining people marked with antichrist’s 666 will suffer horrendous injures from huge hailstones targeting them. As seen repeatedly throughout the tribulation, antichrist’s beaten followers curse God.

Again, John pauses the chronological flow of Revelation narrative to add more information about what has been happening leading up to the final Armageddon event. This is Interlude # 4, which shall be covered in more detail in another lesson.

But for now, we move to Revelation 19, where John steps back into the chronological time-line of Revelation. The pouring out of the seventh bowl in Revelation 16:17-21, is followed immediately by the Lord Jesus Christ returning to earth (Rev 19:11) to end the tribulation. Christ deals with the shaken, angry armies waiting for Him at Armageddon (Rev 16:16). He destroys the enemies surrounding Jerusalem. And He brings all remaining, living people into the sheep and goat judgement.

The Day King Jesus Returns
The scene is set. Antichrist’s largest army is waiting to do war at Armageddon. Jerusalem is surrounded by smaller armies determined to destroy it once and for all. The remaining people marked with 666, including all those in the armies, are covered in sores, sunburnt, hungry, and thirsty, yet driven by fierce demonic hatred of Christ.

The 1/3 remnant of Israel remains safe in hiding. The 144,000 Jewish witnesses also remain safe and untouched by antichrist. There will also be some believers in Jesus who have not been martyred. Likewise, there will most likely be a tiny number of politically motivated nonbelievers who have been resisting antichrist and have not taken the mark of the beast for personal reasons only.

Antichrist (the beast), has gathered with a 10 nation army from around the world, waiting for battle with their enemy. The kings of 10 nations, unitedly transfer their power and authority to the beast (Rev 17:13-14, 17) for the purpose of antichrist commanding the world’s united resources for making war against the Lamb of God. But they shall fail.

While antichrist is negotiating his political and military strategy for the battle of Armageddon, John sees an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God” (Rev 19:17. cf. Mt 24:28; Lk 17:37). The angel invites the birds for what is about to require a massive clean-up job before the battle even takes place.  Ezekiel spoke of the birds in preparation for this day also, speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you… you shall eat flesh and drink blood… (Eze 39:17-20. Cf. Mat 24:27-28; Luk 17:37).

The world is momentarily on standstill, waiting for Christ.

Then it happens!

John reports, I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war (Rev 19:11). As John watches, a portal between heaven and earth opens, but this time it’s not for John to see into heaven as before, but to let Jesus out of heaven. This is the glorious appearing Jesus’ foretold in Matthew 24:27; as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

As Jesus launches out of heaven, catapulting into earth’s atmosphere riding His victor’s white horse, His eyes are like a flame of fire (Rev 19:12). His glorious brilliance is awe inspiring, lighting up the darkened skies from bowl 5 (Rev 16:10. From east to west, around the entire world, Christ’s glory will illuminate the skies. His entrance marks the initiation of fulfilling Daniel 7:13-14, …behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man… to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him…  and his kingdom …shall not be destroyed.

Similarly, Job foresaw Israel’s redeemer physically return to earth; “at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). The writer of Hebrews explains how from the time that Jesus sat down at the right hand of His Father in Heaven, He has been “waiting …until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet” (Hebrews 10:13). The prophet Malachi warned; “who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” (Malachi 3:2).

The King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16b) has arrived,  coming to tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (Rev 19:15). His appearing shall be as described in Matthew 24:30, then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Jesus enters as the rider of the white horse, called faithful and true, wearing on His head many diadems, which are badges or crowns of sovereign rulership (Rev 19:11-12). He arrives with the intent to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron… (Rev 19:15). The Rider has only one weapon, which from his mouth comes a sharp sword. Christ’s powerful spoken word is the only weapon needed to conquer His enemies.

John sees that Christ is clothed in a robe dipped in blood (Rev 19:13). The question arises; why is the rider’s robe blood red before the battle begins? Because, this is not His first battle, but it will be His last! Shortly, the blood stains shall increase as He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (Rev 19:15). The rider on His white horse is an unstoppable movement of God’s justice.

John also sees in Revelation 19:14, that the armies of heaven …were following him on white horses. Who are the armies of heaven? John speaks of them in the plural, meaning there are more than one group of members in Christ’s accompanying armies. Revelation 19:14, and the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

  • Christ’s Bride, Rev 19:7-8, His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.
  • Angels, Mt 25:31, when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

It needs be noted, that none in the armies of heaven carry weapons, that’s because Jesus Christ is the weapon. Christ alone is sufficient to conquer and establish His earthly Kingdom.

Entering the war zone, Christ uses the lethal Sword of His mouth, His spoken word, speaking destruction upon those gathered at Armageddon to make war against Him. Revelation 19:15, from his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations… He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

The imagery of God’s wrath comes from the ancient practice of stomping on grapes to extract the juice for making wine. As they stomped on the grapes the juice would splatter onto their cloths. In Isaiah 63:1-3 and Joel 3:12-14, the same imagery is used to warn of God working out His judgement upon God haters. It’s used here by John to describe Christ stomping out God’s wrath against a world of God haters. But this time, Christ delivers the wrath verbally upon their enemies, bringing instant mass death. The immediate slaughter of millions is a bloody event. His enemies do not simply collapse dead. When Christ administers His vengeance, it results in a vast area of human carnage that produces a blood bath upon the earth. Interlude # 1 of Revelation 14:20 visualises the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia (approx. 300Km). The physical devastation caused by Christ on His enemies at Armageddon and the armies surrounding Jerusalem produces such an enormous volume of blood that the earth will not be able to immediately soak it in.

The prophet Zechariah foresaw this day of the Lord. The Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that Day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall Be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God Will come, and all the holy ones with him (Zec 14:3-5). And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their Tongues will rot in their mouths (Zec 14:12).

This will not involve atomic warfare. Rather, this is the power of the Lord Jesus Christ speaking judgment on His enemies. Not one of His enemies will escape. The scene of divine justice is grotesque, it is swift, it is unrelenting, and it is inescapable.

With such horrendous devastation over such a large geographical area, the divinely appointed birds swoop in to begin the clean up job. As we shall learn in the next lesson, the job is too big for the birds.

In the execution of Christ’s justice upon the armies who came against Him, the beast (antichrist) was captured, and with it the false prophet (the 2nd beast) who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur (Rev 19:20). Resistance is futile!

Revelation 20:1-3 concludes this eventful day. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended.

Immediately following this comes the sheep and goat judgement that Christ explained in Matthew 25:31-46. When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Mat 25:31-32). We shall consider this in lesson 10 of this series.

God’s Planned Future (8) Bowl Judgements – Armageddon Read More »

God’s Planned Future (7) Trumpet Judgements and Interlude 3

As John moves forward through the Revelation, he has passed the 3 ½ year, half time point, of the 7 year tribulation. Antichrist has established world dominance; and he has committed the abomination of desolation where he entered the temple in Jerusalem and stopped the Jewish sacrifices. He has also set up an image of himself to be worshipped as God in the temple, fulfilling Daniel 11:36-37. This triggered the 2nd half of the 7 year tribulation, which Jesus calls the great tribulation (Mat 24:21). War, famine, catastrophic death, martyrdom of those coming to faith in Christ, and global anarchy have become the new normal for planet earth during the birth pains of God’s judgement.

Seal 7     Revelation 8:1
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
The Seventh Seal consists of a further set of seven Trumpet judgments. As Jesus opens seal number 7, it reveals the first trumpet judgement. Abruptly, heaven comes to a standstill as they watch the horror of the promised Day of the Lord. Isaiah prophesied of this time; behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless (Isaiah 13:9-11).

The defiant world will scoff at God, they will put their hope in antichrist who shall continually offer peace but never deliver it. Peter speaks of this time during the tribulation in 2 Peter 3:9-10; the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise (of judgement) as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

As the seventh seal reveals the day of the Lord in Revelation 8:1-5, the judgements which are about to take place are so alarming that even the angelic hosts stop silent for half an hour. All heaven is mute and dumbfounded. Every mighty angelic being, the four living creatures, the Cherubim, the Seraphim, the 24 elders, all are stunned into silence. This is the only time we read of this in Scripture, when heaven stops worship for an entire 30 minutes.

The scene is graphic; standing before God are 7 angels, given 7 trumpets for the purpose of announcing more intensifying judgements (Rev 8:2). Then an 8th angel steps up to the alter before God with much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne (Rev 8:3). Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5).

Apart from the obvious scene here, we get a glimpse of the timeless value of prayer. When we presently pray, we have an impact not only on the ‘now’ but also on the future. This 8th angel presents to God much incense of worship accompanied by the prayers of all the saints. Somehow God collects and stores up the prayers of His saints waiting for a future response which can only happen with the 7 trumpet judgements.

Trumpets 1 – 4            (Revelation 8:7-12)
Trumpets one, two, three, and four are sounded in rapid succession as there are numerous remaining judgements waiting to be unleashed in less than a 3 year period.

The 1st trumpet releases thunder and lighting, an earthquake, hail, and fire mixed with blood are hurled upon the earth. One third of the remaining earth is burnt up. With that comes a chain reaction – vegetation dies, therefore animals die, and more of the world’s food chain abruptly comes to an end (:7).

The 2nd trumpet of verse 8 tells of releasing what could easily be a series of small meteorites crashing down from the heavens into the sea. One third of the sea is transformed into blood, and one third of the world’s shipping and commerce are destroyed.

The smell of decomposing carcases in oceans and washed up on beaches will be vile. Breathing the air will be disgusting due to the stench of death from 1/3 of all living creatures in the sea (:8-9). With 1/3 of the shipping gone, global supply of goods including food and military supplies will suffer greatly.

The 3rd trumpet of verse 10 sees the releasing of what seems to be a single huge ball of heavenly fire, a massive meteorite of some description, falling upon the earth in such a way as to impact one third of the world’s rivers and springs of fresh water.

Revelation 8:11 describes this falling heavenly body, the name of the star is Wormwood (bitterness). A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. With the contamination of such a large percentage of drinking water, many more will die of poisoning. Similarly, the death of freshwater fish and other creatures will further rob mankind of food. Again, the smell of tens of millions of rotting fish will be overwhelming.

The 4th trumpet of verse 12 tells of the releasing of some kind of divine plague upon the heavenly bodies. One third of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened, causing a huge reduction in both daylight and nightlight. This will continue the devastating effect upon plant growth, and therefore food supplies will fail even more as much needed crops fail. Temperatures will drop dramatically. Extreme weather patterns will globally behave abruptly and unpredictably.

Apart from anything else, this will create issues from Vitamin D deficiency and insufficient melatonin levels, causing sleep deprivation amongst other mental health problems. On top of this, the 24 hour lunar cycle will be disrupted greatly. And on that day, declares the Lord GOD, I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation… (Amos 8:9-10).

These events will not simply be random natural disasters. They will be God’s judgements, and it will be obvious by the fact that through each of the 4 trumpet blasts, one third are impacted. One third of the earth and the trees burned up (:7), one third of the sea turned to blood (:8), one third of the sea creatures killed and one third of ships destroyed (:9), and one third of the sun, moon, and star are blackened (:12).

Revelation 8:13, then I (John) looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

Things are about to get a lot worse. “Woe, woe, woe”, is another way of saying “Damned, damned, damned!” The triple “Woe” expresses an exclamation of grief with increasing intensity upon the world. These next 3 trumpet judgments are 3 additional “Woe” judgements to those who dwell on the earth, again emphasising the severity of them upon the unbelieving and unrepentant world.

Trumpet 5 – Woe 1     Revelation 9:1-11
And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw
a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit (Rev 9:1).

At the fifth trumpet a star falls to earth. The “he” refers to the “star” which is not a lifeless object like a rock. Rather, this is speaking of an angelic being as described in Job 38:7, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? This male star seems to indicate Lucifer. Satan (Isa 14:12-15; Eze 28:12-16) will be the one God employs to open the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft (Rev 9:2). As Satan opens the gates of the shaft leading to the bottomless pit, dense polluting smoke bellows into the atmosphere darkening the sun. Atmospheric pollution erupting from the hellish bottomless pit as never seen before will engulf the planet.

Satan, under God’s authority, will then release a huge number of demons from the bottomless pit who have been bound there for most likely millennia. Revelation chapter 9 shall be fulfilment of Joel 2:1-11. Revelation 9:7-10 describe these creatures. In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.

These fearsome demonic locusts from the bottomless pit are given power to torture mankind for five months (:5). They will be forbidden to damage the vegetation. Their entire focus will be on tormenting mankind, causing intense pain like the sting of a Scorpion (:3) for the entire five months. But they will not be able to kill.

Only those believers with the seal of God will be spared. These protected ones will include the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7:1-8), plus those who have repented and put faith in Christ.

The agony these demonic locusts cause will be so intense that people will seek death during those days but will not find it because God will not permit them to die (:6). Consequently, stung people will also suffer the pain from injuries from attempted suicide that fail.

This demonic army will have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon (Rev 9:11). This is not Satan, but a high ranking demon in Satan’s army, as this king of demons is of the bottomless pit. He was released from the bottomless pit along with the demonic locusts. Plus, it was Satan who was authorised by God to open the bottomless pit from the outside.

Having described trumpet 5, which is the 1st woe, John declares that the first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come (Rev 9:12).

Trumpet 6 – Woe 2     Revelation 9:13-19
Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind (Rev 9:13-15).

The sixth trumpet sounds, and the sixth angel is instructed to release four angelic demons who had been held captive in preparation by God for this exact time. The fact that these 4 angels have been bound for this precise time tells us that they are not holy angels, but demons. God had sovereignly prepared these 4 demons for the purpose of killing one third of mankind in this 6th trumpet, 2nd woe, judgement.

These 4 demons gather an enormous army of mounted troops (Two hundred million), which carry out the mass slaughter of billions of people. In Revelation 9:17-19, John attempts to describe this great army. And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the colour of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur came out of their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.

This army will march across the planet ruthlessly slaughtering everyone in their path. This demon motivated army will kill without mercy and without discrimination. John’s language also suggests the possibility of advanced weapon technology being used by this army.

Despite the huge number of deaths, the surviving population still refuse to repent of their idolatry, murders, witchcraft, and sexual immorality (Rev 9:20-21).

This concludes trumpet 6 and woe 2 judgements.

Interlude # 2
At this point in the Revelation, John pauses his timeline narrative to give us Interlude # 2. Throughout Revelation 10:1-11:14, John looks back and provides us with greater detail of what has been happening so far.

Revelation 10:1 introduces us to another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.

As always in Scripture, this angel is male, and he is another angel of the same kind as the 6th angel who blew the 6th trumpet (Rev 9:13). This angel is NOT Jesus Christ, as Jesus remains unseen until Revelation 19:7.

In the heavenly ranking of angels, this was a mighty ranking angel. The Greek word for mighty suggests that he is forcibly powerful and valiant (Courageous). Verses 1 and 2 tell us that the appearance of this courageous angel is huge and fearsome. He not just big, he is huge! He didn’t simply stand in the sand with 1 foot in the water and the other in the wet sand. No, he stood with one foot in the surf and the other on the dry sandhills – he is massive in stature. His face shines brilliantly bright like the sun and his commanding voice is exceedingly loud like that of a lion roaring.

As he travels from heaven to earth, entering earth’s atmosphere he wraps cloud around himself as if it were a cloak. He adorns his head with a rainbow as if it were a hat, and his mighty legs appear like pillars of blazing fire. This holy angel is extraordinary, he’s unparalleled in God’s arsenal of heavenly beings.

What’s more, this mighty angel held a little scroll open in his hand (Rev 10:2a). In context, this little scroll is a miniature extract of the 7th trumpet judgement which is about to take place, and it is to be eaten by John. The little scroll was already open and is small enough that John takes it and eats it (Rev 10:9-10). This scroll would have looked tiny in the hand of such a mighty angel, and it tasted sweet in John’s mouth yet turned his stomach bitter upon swallowing.

When this mighty angel roars out his lion-like call, there follows the sound of 7 thunders in response (Rev 10:3-4). These 7 thunders are not angels, yet they are more that unintelligent sound waves reverberating through the clouds. They are intelligent, disembodied beings manifesting as thunder. They respond to the mighty angel with thunderous intelligent words. Their speech intelligently communicates understandable truth which John intended to write down, but the voice from heaven stopped him writing the words of the thunders (Rev 10:4b).

In Revelation 11:1-2 John measures the temple in Jerusalem which will be overrun by Gentile rebels for 42 months, 3 ½ years, which is the 2nd half of the tribulation which was triggered by antichrist. Jerusalem is hijacked for the remaining 3 ½ years by Gentile insurgents.

But, by contrast, we also see God’s evangelistic grace at work at the same time. As covered in lesson 6, 1st were the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, who are protected by God and continue evangelising. 2nd as seen in Revelation 11:1-12, are the 2 witnesses of God. Their prophetic ministry lasts 3 ½ years also. While it’s possible that their time may begin in the 1st half of the tribulation and span through into the 2nd half, it is more likely to be wholly in the 2nd half of the tribulation. It is quite possible that God sends His 2 witnesses to earth at the time antichrist commits the abomination of desolation.

As antichrist proudly declares himself to be god (Dan 11:37), these 2 witnesses of Yahweh shall boldly counter his false claims by declaring the truth. Until the end of their 3 ½ years of ministry, antichrist will not be able to silence these 2 witnesses. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire (Rev 11:5-6).

Towards the end of the 2 witnesses ministry time, Revelation 11:7-13 tells us that the beast (antichrist) will war against them and finally kill them. While their bodies lay dead in a street of Jerusalem, the world celebrates their deaths by exchanging gifts.

Revelation 11:11-13 further explains the extraordinary events that conclude the ministry of these 2 witnesses on earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

As God calls His 2 resurrected witnesses’ home to heaven, while rising in a cloud, they are being watched by their enemies. In the same hour there’s a massive earthquake in Jerusalem with 1/10 of the city destroyed and 7000 people killed. The survivors of the earthquake are terrified and “gave glory to the God of heaven.” This phrase is not a reference to people’s salvation or even worship. Rather, they shall acknowledge the God of Heaven as the author and cause of the 2 witnesses’ resurrection, ascension, and the devastating earthquake.

John concludes this 2nd Interlude of explanation with the words, the second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come (Rev 11:14).

Trumpet 7 – Woe 3     Revelation 11:15-18
In Revelation 11:15, John saw that the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 
This is the initiation of the final stage of God making the kingdom of the world to be the kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ.

At this time heaven rejoices in worship (11:16-17) as they hear the 7th trumpet blast, opening of the final 7 bowls of God’s wrath which is about to be poured out upon the wicked world. It should be noted also that this 3rd and final “Woe” continues through to the very end of the tribulation when Christ returns to vanquish His enemies in chapter 19.

These final days and months of demonic and human rebellion upon the earth will see the worst wickedness ever seen unfolding upon the earth. John records that the nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth (Rev 11:18). Full and final divine justice is about to be unleashed through a rapid pouring out of 7 bowls of God’s wrath.

This concludes trumpet 7, but not woe 3 judgements.
At this point in the Revelation, John pauses again in his timeline narrative to present Interlude # 3 from Revelation 11:19-14:20. Following this 3rd Interlude, the 7 bowl judgements shall be administered.

Interlude # 3          (Revelation 11:19-14:20)
As John considers all that he is witnessing, he sees considerable information about the events during this 2nd 3 ½ year part of the 7 year tribulation which he now updates us on. John not only looks backwards for more detail but also includes a clearer glimpse of what lays ahead.

Satan (the dragon), the Beast (antichrist), the False Prophet (the 2nd beast), and the image of the beast exercise the limits of authority permitted to them by God.

Revelation 12:1-6 gives a snapshot of Jewish messianic history spanning from the birth of Jesus to the half-time point of the tribulation. John sees Satan’s desire to concur Christ from past to future.

Summarising Revelation 12:1-6, John sees a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, …on her head a crown of twelve stars (the 12 tribes of Israel). She (Israel) was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon (Satan), with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4 His (Satan’s) tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven (fallen angels) and cast them to the earth. And the dragon (Satan) stood before the woman (Mary) who was about to give birth, so that when she (Mary) bore her child (Jesus) he (Satan) might devour it. 5 She gave birth to a male child (baby Jesus), one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne (Jesus’ ascension), 6 and the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. This leaves Israel hidden from Satan and provided for by God for the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation, somewhere in a secret desert place.

In Revelation 12:7-9 John also sees that at some point during the tribulation, war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon (Satan) and his angels fought back, 8 but he (Satan) was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. This war in heaven marks the final time when Satan and his demons would every be permitted into heaven by God’s invitation. This also tells of the final time when God permits His holy angels to do battle with evil fallen angels.

John then hears a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers (Satan) has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God (Rev 12:10). Never again will Satan have access to God to accuse God’s people.

In fact, Satan will never look upon God or Christ again in heaven. At the end of the tribulation, John sees an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him… (Rev 20:1-3a).

Then, following Satan’s release after 1000 years he gathers the unbelievers in the Kingdom for one last attempt to dethrone Jesus as King. Failing terribly, fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:9-10).

Back to Revelation 12:13, when the dragon (Satan) saw that he had been thrown down to the earth (during the tribulation), he pursued the woman (Israel) who had given birth to the male child. Particularly during the 2nd half of the tribulation, Satan viciously hunts down any and all Jewish people to destroy them (cf. Mat 24:15-22). But the woman (Israel) was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (Rev 12:14). John pictures God’s rescue of Israel as powerful and swift, swooping desperate Israel away from Satan and antichrist’s destructive forces into safety. The specific means used by God for this rescue mission are speculation on our part, and we should be careful not to read our understanding of the two wings of the great eagle into the context of Revelation.

Satan, realising his defeat, becomes furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus… (Rev 12:17). Writhing with fury, Satan turns his attention to hunting down any and all in the world who have responded to the evangelistic messages of the 144,000 Jewish men, the 2 witnesses, and the 3 fly angles. Anyone who is found to have obedient faith in Christ is now his target more than ever before.

By this time in the tribulation, antichrist will be demonically energised as we read in Revelation 13:2-4.   And to the beast (antichrist) …the dragon (Satan) gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast (antichrist). 4 And they worshiped the dragon (Satan), for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” The world is drunk with Satan’s delusion of antichrist. Blindly following antichrist, the world worships Satan.

In his endeavour to appear to be divine, and attempting to at least appear as powerful as Jesus, Satan enables antichrist to play out a fake resurrection. Antichrist seems to receive a mortal wound (death), but its mortal wound (death) was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast (Rev 13:3). The unbelieving world is so victimized by Satan and his antichrist that they worshiped the dragon (Satan), for he had given his authority to the beast (antichrist), and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Rev 13:4). This fake death and resurrection of antichrist (Rev 13:12) successfully deceives the world into absolute and total idolatry of the worst kind. Thinking that antichrist is their saviour, and thinking that he is invincible, they happily surrender their souls to him.

John progresses in Revelation 13 to show the establishment of Satan’s unholy trinity. Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived (Rev 13:11-14).

This 2nd beast, who is also called the false prophet in Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10, has a lovely nature. He seems soft and comforting like a lamb to seduce the nations into submission to antichrist. He speaks like the dragon (Satan) and has all the authority of the antichrist (the 1st beast) but speaks in tender and comforting tones. This 2nd beast (false prophet) also does miraculous signs and wonders in the actual presence of antichrist.

Revelation 13:15, and it (the 2nd beast) was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

The 2nd beast (false prophet) is permitted to somehow breath what appears to be life into the image of the 1st beast, allowing it to speak. With modern technology, it is possible that this image of the beast is a hologram. But it’s more likely I think, to be a robotic android with artificial intelligence (AI). This would give antichrist instant access via satellite internet connectivity through the image to control global politics, global banking, global military, global police, global education, and global religion. Through wireless connection to the image of the beast, the 2nd beast (false prophet) will be able to order the death penalty on anyone worldwide who is found not to worship the image of the beast (antichrist). Further evidence that the image of the beast cannot be human or angelic, is that it is not cast into the lake of fire. John explains that when Christ returns and conquers His enemies, the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet… These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur (Rev 19:20). But the image of the beast cannot be cast into the lake of fire because it is not a living being.

Now that the satanic trinity is established (Satan, antichrist, and the false prophet), the false prophet (2nd beast) causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666 (Rev 13:16-18).

Antichrist demands absolute loyalty which he thinks he can get by forcing people to receive his 666 identifying mark on their bodies. Without his mark, people will not be legally permitted to buy and sell anything. We don’t know how this mark will be applied, except that it will be placed either on the right hand or the forehead. Many possibilities exist as to how he could do this; a tattoo, a laser burn, a tiny computer chip, we really don’t know. He may well use a method we don’t presently know of, but we do know that he will somehow impose his mark upon the unbelieving world.

While there is much present day speculation and fear associated with this mark, believers can rest assured that it does not exist now. God has ordained that antichrist’s 666 mark will only be taken by non-Christians after the following have taken place:

  • The rapture of the Church.
  • Antichrist must reveal himself to be god and rise to absolute world power.
  • Antichrist needs to have committed the abomination of desolation.
  • The 144,000 Jewish evangelists must be dispatched.
  • The 2 witnesses must be at work.
  • The 3 mighty witnessing angels must be traveling the world calling people to worship God.
  • The false prophet must be working publicly and imposing the death penalty for not worshipping antichrist.
  • The image of the beast must be active also.

Revelation 14:14 opens a new stage in John’s vison with the words, ‘Then I looked, and behold.’ As John draws near to closing his 3rd Interlude, he looks forward to the 7 Bowl judgements culminating with the events of Christ’s return in Revelation 19. Verses 14-20 continue to provide a graphic picture of coming judgement upon antichrist and the wicked world.

Revelation 14:14 reveals “One like a son of man,” majestically identifying Jesus Christ entering earth’s atmosphere riding a white cloud in fulfillment of Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. Rev 1:7; Mat 24:30; 26:64). Christ returns with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. He comes wearing a crown. In the Greek language this is the stephanos crown which is worn by a victor of war or athletics. This crown is the precious golden crown of ultimate triumph and victory over all who oppose Christ as Lord and King.

Christ returns holding a sharp sickle in his hand, showing that He comes on a mission to harvest. A sickle is a common tool used for cutting grain or grass stalks at ground level. It has a sharp, long, curved metal blade with a wooden handle, and is used in a sweeping action from side to side. Christ returns to earth victorious for the purpose of conquering his enemies by cutting them down just as a worker does to grain at harvest time.

John continues by using two agricultural metaphors. The first is the grain harvest (:14-16), which pictures the seven bowl judgments (Rev 16:1-14). Then the grape harvest (:17-20), which pictures the judgment of Armageddon (Rev 16:16; 19:19). Together, these 2 harvests portray the inescapable certainty of God’s coming judgment.

John then introduces us to 3 additional angels in verses 15-18 who will play their part in assisting Christ in the harvest judgements. These 3 angels bring the total number of angels in Revelation chapter 14 to 6 (:6, 8, 9).

Verse 15 sees the 4th angel coming out from the heavenly temple and calling loudly for Christ to swing His sickle and harvest the earth. Long ago, God the Father had appointed the authority of judgement to Christ (Jn 5:22, 27; Ac 10:42; 17:31). And this will be the time for that judgement to begin in full fury, starting with the grain harvest.

Verse 16 tells us that Christ swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped. This harvest is initiated in chapter 16:1, where the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” We shall consider this grain harvest in greater detail in the next lesson.

John then sees another angel, a 5th angel, which came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle (Rev 14:17), ready to reap a harvest of grapes from the earth. As we shall see, the grapes speak also of the world’s wicked people.

Following, was yet another angel who had authority over the fire (14:18). This 6th angel calls with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle (the 5th angel), “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe” (14:18). Consequently verses 19-20 tell of what happens when the 5th angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

The grape harvest, like the grain harvest, reap from the earth the wicked who shall suffer the wrath of God in two stages. Those who somehow survive the grain harvest of the 7 bowls of God’s wrath, are swept up in the final grape harvest at Armageddon (Rev 16:16; 19:19). Inspired by Satan and lead by antichrist, the remaining armies of the world will gather to do war against Jesus Christ and Israel. This final confrontation takes place in a valley north of Jerusalem. We shall consider Armageddon in more detail when we come to Revelation chapters 16 and 19.

7 Bowls of God’s Wrath
We leave this lesson with John having completed Interlude # 3; he proceeds now to show us the next stage in Christ’s Revelation.
Revelation 15:1, then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.
Revelation 16:1, then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

God’s Planned Future (7) Trumpet Judgements and Interlude 3 Read More »

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