By Pastor Mike Taylor
15 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)
1 “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” (Revelation 7:1)
As we progress through these chapters of 6-11, we see an ever increasing crescendo of events that is linked to each seal that Jesus our Lord opens before the Father in heaven. Notice that it is God who is causing the events to happen on earth, and He is using men, at first, to do His will and perform judgment on the earth. As mentioned last time, if you follow these messages, that Satan has no power that God does not allow him to have. Satan is the great deceiver and tempts men to do what is hidden in their evil hearts and makes war on other men.
But as we have seen in the past, for a quick review, Jesus our Lord covers all the church ages from chapters 1-3, and then makes a decided shift in focus and John is in the throne room of God the Father. There we see the glorified church represented as 24 elders sitting on thrones with rewards of gold upon their head, and seated in the government of God Almighty. John witnesses the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ as He comes to the Father and takes a parchment written on both sides and sealed with seven seals.
This can only be described as the “Title Deed” to all the earth, and the plan to rid God’s creation of rebellion and to bring Israel, His chosen people to the knowledge of their Messiah. For 2000 years, the Jewish people have rejected Jesus Christ as their coming King, but in the following chapters starting in chapter 6 and progressing into chapter 7 and beyond, Israel is refined as silver is refined in the fire to bring a remnant to faith and belief in the same Messiah their fathers, and they have rejected up until this time.
DIVINE DESTRUCTION BEGINS DIRECTLY
In chapter 6, we see our God using mortal men do His will by using them to create war, famine, pestilence and starvation that results from wars fought over land and conquering other people to submit to their rule. As we saw in the last part of this series, God opens 6 seals and the destruction grows, as He uses men to destroy those who are in rebellion against Him, and Satan is used to deceive and tempt those who only wish is to continue in their unrighteous behavior to other men and destroy what is before them. As mentioned in the last part of this series, some try to equate this carnage to the wrath of Satan, but it is God who is causing these events to happen. So the wrath of God, much as was written in the Old Testament when Israel was taken into captivity and the majority of their population was destroyed by Assyria and Babylon, so here God is using mankind to enact judgment and begin His righteous wrath. His wrath begins in verse one of the sixth chapter and continues here. So let us look at this chapter..
2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:2-4)
Noted in verse one, God holds back the four angels that are the four corners of the earth from doing what they have been assigned to do. That is to begin the Divine destruction on the earth and the dwellers of men who live upon the earth, but first God seals 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. These Jewish evangelist, or more correctly, Israelite men are sealed with the seal of God and ordained to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
The question must be raised, if these are being sealed to proclaim the Gospel, where is the church who was commissioned to preach the Gospel to all mankind? It is another clue that the Church is unable to preach the Gospel, as she is not on earth, and the “baton” is given to another in this race to continue to preach the Word of God. These evangelist are supernaturally protected until the harvest of souls that they have been elected to bring the Gospel to, are brought into believing on Jesus Christ as the Son of God, much as the Church believed before them.
So you wonder, why have these men believed suddenly, that Jesus Christ is truly the Messiah? These men have seen the disappearance of millions in the rapture and have believed the witness of the two men who are preaching before the Temple of God in Jerusalem that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of mankind. (Revelation chp.11) Many people believe that these men are Elijah and Moses that came to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration that Peter, James and John saw in their glorified state along with Jesus as they talked to each other.
But no matter who these men turn out to be, and I believe that the belief who they are is probably correct, these men will preach the Everlasting Gospel, and do so for 3.5 years, or the first half of the 7 years tribulation, and these 144,000 men believe the Truth of God’s Word proclaimed and become a great soul winning powerhouse that brings millions to the belief in our Lord and Savior. This continues until we see in verse 9 of this chapter a vision of those slain standing before God on His throne and before the Lamb of God holding palm fronds in their hands. In ancient times, palms were associated with celebrations like the Feast of Tabernacles or “Booths” (Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:17; John 12:13)
9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:9-12)
I have mentioned in past sermons, that the palms that they hold, gives a clue of who these saints are. Only in Israel has the use of palm fronds been used to signify giving God glory, much as ancient Israel did to when Jesus wrote in on a foal of a donkey and proclaimed Jesus King found in Matthew chp. 21. Signs noting Israel in scripture are figs, fig tree, olives and palm branches. When you see any of these, it is referring to Israel. But an angel makes it clear when John sees the men standing before God.
13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:13-17)
These are those who have been martyred in the first half of the Tribulation, and I want you to focus in on verse 15. Note that the church is called “King and Priest” unto our God (Revelation 5:10), but here these saints minister in the temple of God, much as the Levitical priesthood did in Ancient Israel. These have a secondary role that is not associated with the Church, but are a different group of believers that serve our God in His Temple. In what capacity do they serve, is not revealed, but God will protect them and care for them and they will never hurt again.
One comforting truth gleaned from Revelation is that although Antichrist will have power over all peoples and languages, (Rev. 13:7) he will not deceive every individual. (Verse 9), makes it clear that the preaching of the gospel by the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will reach a multitude that no one can number, from every language, tribe, and people. Therefore, even Satan’s deception will not keep people from receiving Christ individually.
But concerning the Anti-Christ having power over all nations, kindreds and tongues, we will discuss how this can only be those left behind after the Rapture of the Church in future messages, as Jesus has overcome the world and His Holy Spirit is dwelling with each “born again” Christian in the Church Age, so Satan cannot overcome them, but here they are overcome. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is not sealed in these Christians as the Church was, save the 144,000 Evangelist from Israel were and they have not the deposit or earnest of future glorification as a seal of salvation.
IN the Tribulation, these saints can still loose their salvation, if they take the Mark of the Beast, or deny the blood of Jesus and follow the AC. We will cover this in more detail when we get to chapter 13 of our bible studies.
CHAPTER 8: DESTRUCTION SPEEDS UP
The preceding chapter sets the stage for the coming destruction upon the earth, and the opening of the 7th seal.
1, “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” (Revelation 8:1-3)
Verse 3 tells us this mighty angel stands before the heavenly golden altar of incense, which is before the Throne of the Almighty God. The prayers of all the believers are mingled with heavenly incense and offered up to God. These prayers contain the martyrs’ and the suffering saints’ cries for relief and justice. The answer to these prayers is the Seven Trumpets and Seven Golden Vials.
The whole of heaven, the angels and the the saints who have been taken to be with God, hold their breath, because they know that this destruction will be all encompassing and will affect every human being on the planet. The silence of awe and anticipation at the grim reality of the judgments, God is about to unleash. This destruction will not only come from mortal men, but God will cause the environment to convulse beyond imagination and send Divine retribution that can only be attributed to Him.
4 “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” (Revelation 8:4-9)
The saints that are still on the earth, that are enduring what is coming upon the nations to even those who believe by faith, are in prayer for those who shall come to repentance, and for themselves as they are in mortal danger 24/7.
These seven trumpets are of greater intensity than the seals, but not as destructive as the final vial or bowl judgments will be (compare 16:1-21). They occur during the final 3-1/2 years, but the time of each is indefinite, except the effects of the fifth trumpet judgment, which will last 5 months (9:10). The first 4 announce the divine destruction of earth’s ecology (verses 6-12), while the final 3 involve demonic devastation of earth’s inhabitants (9:1-21; 11:15).
Whether this seven is literal, or not, doesn’t matter (in this instance I believe they are literal). These “angels” are prepared to carry out God’s orders. These “seven trumpets” were to sound the alarm. Trumpets are loud and send out a clear note. There will be no question of the message. In ancient times, a trumpet blast was designed to do two things, to bring people to worship God, or/and to prepare for war. Here, the angels prepare for God’s War on rebellious mankind. An angel takes coals from the altar which reveals that God has accepted the prayers of His saints that are still on earth, and the censer is thrown to the earth, as God will avenge those who have died for belief in His Son as martyrs, and will take revenge on those who have rebelled and are living in sin, taking the Mark of the Beast and worshiping false gods on earth. Know that our God is a consuming fire. God is angered, and He has decided it is time to punish those on the earth who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Just as God finally destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah when they would not repent, there is a time when the fire of God will descend upon this earth in punishment.
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE RAINS UPON THE EARTH
WE read in verse 7, the beginning of God commanding the angels to cause literal fire mixed with blood to rain down upon the earth. This fire consumes all green grass on the earth, and a 1/3 of all the trees, plus the second angel cast a burning mountain into the seas and the seas became blood. Is this literal blood or a contamination of the waters where sea creatures die because of the plague upon the waters of the sea and the resulting tsunami of such a gigantic object that looks like it could be a meteor or asteroid from outer space that the resulting tidal waves destroy 1/3 of all sea faring ships, plus the men that are on them, which be evident if they vessels are destroyed so would be their crews. Here something not detailed here poisons the waters, or changes their composition….John could only explain it as looking like blood.
These plagues of fire mixed with hail falling from heaven, remind me of what God did in the plagues of Egypt,
“So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.” (Exodus 9:24)
And this is only the first two angels that have been commanded by God to bring judgment on mankind. Only thing that separates these two events, is the plague in Egypt was localized, but this plague of fire and hail covers the whole of the earth.
Both were punishments from God. One thing very important to remember is that the wrath of God falls on them of unbelief.
“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.”(Ezekiel 38:22)
It is the same God in Ezekiel that we see here in Revelation. We see that this is the same God that will destroy rebellious mankind by the environment which He commands to do on a broader scale than what is now occurring in California due to fire and drought, but imagine if this was worldwide and everything being on fire and there being no way to escape it? Envision the planet on fire, and the structures that the grass and trees surround also catching fire. The California fires on steroids worldwide. Or envision God allowing unrepentant, evil men to use nuclear weapons on each other and killing millions in a flash. We will see what I believe John is explaining when he speaks of Wormwood in the next verses.
10 “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”(Revelation 8:10-11)
Just as I described that God will allow men to destroy one another with nuclear weapons, we see here a star falling upon the waters and making them “bitter”….does this remind you of something? If a burning nuclear ICBM were to fall into the waters, they would become radioactive. Where have we heard the term “Wormwood” before? The interpretation of a disaster that happened in Russia at the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl is defined as “wormwood” in the Russian language…so could this falling star falling on mankind be a nuclear weapon? If not, God has the ability to bring a flaming object from space that is radioactive and do the exact same thing as a man-made nuclear weapon, but of greater destruction. Whichever is used of God, the waters will be contaminated and many men will die all over the world because of this radioactive material into the drinking reservoirs that men use for their daily lives. You may not be able to find a safe drinking source of water in all the world.
But recall what the prophet Zechariah wrote in his book that bears his name? This burning great star from the heavens will be burning as a lamp, this fire being radioactive and nuclear creates devastation that will be far reaching upon the earth..
“Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth” (Zech. 14:12).
This is exactly what a Neutron bomb does to an individual that is standing…they don’t disintegrate, but their soft tissue, their eyes, and their mouths just melt in their sockets and in their mouths and their flesh cooked and falls from the bones
I saw a depiction of that on “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when the destroying angel came out of the ark of the covenant and the flesh on the men melted away. Only this time, it won’t be cinema, it will be real. It will be the destruction of men by a vengeful, wrathful God of fire.
12 “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” (Revelation 8:12-13)
Although the last trumpets have been devastating to mankind, God is just getting warmed up, and the next three trumpets will make these first four pale in comparison to their devastation and the near total destruction of the nations upon the earth.
IT WILL ONLY GET EXPONENTIALLY WORSE
Can you even visualize the destruction that has been up to this point in this apocalyptic book? We can be disturbed by watching a movie depiction of this, but what if you are living it up close and personal? If men could even comprehend how horrible this time will be for anyone so unfortunate to be living on earth at this time, then no one would be found refusing the gift of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. The only ones that would dare, would be classified as insane, or in total deception by the “father of lies” Satan the devil.
Do you think those who reject Jesus Christ so easily today would remain “silent” if they knew the horrible doom of judgment that is coming upon this earth and upon them because they are rejecting God’s Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Will you stay silent, or cry out to God for mercy, as you read these two chapters, not even focusing on the ensuing chapters that show God’s wrath growing exponentially stronger in their intensity and their all encompassing destruction that will destroy near 80% of all mankind in a few short years, with the majority coming in the last 3.5 years. Can you imagine seeing dead bodies lying all over the ground like it was in WW2, but no one to bury them, and wild/domestic animals feeding on them, and attacking those living, because of starvation?. Can you comprehend the smell of rotting flesh that breeds disease? Will you be going about your life as usual as Jesus said it would be so as in the days of Noah?
37 “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39)
Contemplating what is described here, will people, OR YOU, be going about life as usual eating, drinking, or giving in marriage? Or will you be just trying to survive and escape someone taking your life just because they can? Life will not be as usual….life will be full of stress, fear and anxiety, where you will kill, just so you won’t be killed. If this is what is going on in this world that John describes, and can’t be as Jesus described before the day of the coming of the Lord as a thief in the night, then what is happening here has no basis for the description of the rapture at the end of the tribulation. The details are too prevalent that Jesus was talking about another time, when He will break in on mankind as a thief, and many of you will NOT be prepared. What coming is our Lord Jesus talking about in the above verses of Matthew?
51 “ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1st Corinthians 15:51-55)
Paul was describing what will happen before the tribulation even starts, when men will be eating, drinking and giving in marriage, because it won’t be that way before the second coming of our Lord to rule and reign. So for Jesus to come unannounced, like a thief, it has to be sudden. It has to be “hidden”…..a “mystery” that had not been revealed till Paul spoke of it…it has to be when you least expect it. For the end of the tribulation or the great Tribulation of these 7 years will be signs all over heavens that the Lord is coming. No one will be surprised, for the signs are all around them, in the heavens, on the earth, and from the destruction of near total of all mankind.
Next time, we will continue in the next three chapters leading up what can only be explained as “The woman clothed with the Sun” and identifies the players in this spiritual drama. Jesus is coming soon, my friend, and if you are not on the “ark of salvation” much like Noah’s ark, but this time His Name is Jesus Christ, then you will be living this horror until you are suddenly “extinguished” from this earth. You will either be saved and martyred, or to follow the beast power and be doomed for all eternity in the Lake of Fire, established for Satan and his angels, not for mankind. But mankind chooses to be separated from God because he loves his sin, more than He loves God, so God will give you what you want. In all things, He is just, and He is completely fair, but most of all, God is Holy, and you can’t stand in His presence unless you embrace these two passages and live it like you mean it, because your life does actually depend on it…YOUR ETERNAL LIFE.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you escape what is coming upon the earth, most likely soon, and find Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly listening ear, email me at [email protected], or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com. God bless you all……..
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET………….SOON!