Things to Come, Lesson 19, The Great Tribulation, Part 7, Revelation 8
In our study of the Tribulation period we have witnessed our Lord open six seals of the seven seal book and in our last lesson the opening of the seventh seal which includes within its opening the blasts of seven trumpets.
Upon the opening of the seventh seal there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour and during this time the Apostle John saw seven angels standing before God preparing to sound seven trumpets.
Remember the first trumpet of the seventh seal announced the casting of hail and fire mingled with blood upon the earth which caused a third part of the trees to be burned and all green grass was burned up also.
The second trumpet was sounded and John saw a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea and a third of the sea became blood.
A third part of the seaís creatures died and a third part of the ships were destroyed.
Then God directs the third angel to trumpet out another judgment upon the earth.
This we read of in Revelation 8:10,11, 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; 11And 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.
Like the 1st and 2nd Trumpets before it, the 3rd Trumpet announces untold damage and distress upon the earth.
This is a great star burning as it were a lamp.
This appears to be a meteor entering the atmosphere bringing with it something that will make rivers and fountains of waters polluted and poisonous causing many deaths.
Again one third is emphasized.
One third of the trees are already gone, one third of the sea and one third of the creatures of the sea and one third of the ships have been affected.
And now because of the great star, one third of the rivers and fountains of waters are now polluted and many people die as a result.
The star is called wormwood, which means bitterness.
Wormwood is a perennial herb, extremely bitter, used in the making of absinthe, which is a French liquorí.
How the star caused bitterness in the rivers and the fountains of waters is not understood but it causes great hurt to fresh water sources.
The first, second, and third trumpets have now been sounded and it is time for the fourth angel to step forth.
Revelation 8:12, 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.
Jesus spoke of this day in Luke 21:25,26, And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26Menís hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
The punishment revealed in opening this seventh seal to this point has been confined to earth but now we see heavenly changes.
The sun, moon, and stars are now commanded to shine with greatly diminished light.
How God accomplishes this almost unimaginable catastrophe is not explained, but it is obvious that if this trumpet is understood in a literal sense, then physical light as we know it will be greatly reduced on earth.
This could be the result of tremendous amounts of dust, ash and smoke being produced by the catastrophes mentioned prior but it will have a great effect upon living and growing things.
Again the third part is mentioned.
This fourth trumpet sets the stage for a dark age of light.
It is an age of great Satanic activity on earth for Satan and one third of the angels will be cast to earth.
I donít know if this one third used in relation to Satan and his angels has any connection with the frequent uses of one third we have seen in our study.
But light is being withdrawn from the earth for remember Jesus said, Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Yes, He will to a certain extent find faith for He will have witnesses going forth to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, however we know that many will be martyred and as this takes place, light will dim on the earth.
But God will provide divine protection to these sealed ones until He chooses to take them home.
In the midst of these judgments and calamities many things will take place on the earth which will provide hope to the faithful.
A perfect example of the protection afforded the 144,000 sealed believers in the Time of Trouble is given in Revelation chapter 9, which outlines the event of the 5th Trumpet.
In verse 4 we note with great hope that at that time all sealed believers will be supernaturally protected from torture and abuse.
Protection during the Great Tribulation, will be reserved for those who obey God and bear Godís Seal.
Of all mankind, they alone will be kept from Satan at the time of the end, and will walk unscathed through the fiery trials just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in Babylon as Daniel recorded.
It is interesting to note that as we study end times we can find in the scriptures seed plots on a local scale that will come to fruition on a world wide scale during the Tribulation.
Those deliveranceís of His people in the past can be looked upon as examples of what will take place on a world wide basis in end times to come.
Remember Jesus said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee!
Now the last three trumpets, 5, 6 and 7, of the seventh seal are connected in the degree of fear they release by them being denoted or classified as Woes.
These trumpet announcements are so fearful they are given a prelude announcement of their own where they are warned to those who inhabit the earth as Woeís which is a primary exclamation of great grief.
Revelation 8:13, And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
So three woes are about to come to the earth each announced by the trumpet sound.
John tells us that he beheld and he heard.
No doubt his eyes and ears were riveted to the angel and the voice of the angel who is flying though the middle part of heaven which in this case I believe to be the firmament which we know as the sky above us.
The warning of the three woes is given to the inhabiters of the earth.
The triple cry of Woe, woe, woe, announces the most horrible judgments ever announced, judgments far beyond the imaginations of men.
Notice to whom these woes are aimed.
They are aimed at the inhabiters of the earth.
Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God.
Abraham was a pilgrim and found no home on the earth for he looked for a better place.
These who are the recipients of Godís woes, look not for a better place for they look not through the eyes of Abraham, the eyes of faith.
Inhabiters are those who have settled and invested their all on the earth.
These are those who refuse to hear the solemn warnings from Heaven, and in spite of the announcements of judgment they cling to this earth as their home and their dwelling place, as if they would abide here forever.
This of course is the prevailing way of life we find on the earth today and will find in the Day of the Lord.
Revelation 9:1-6, And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
Indeed this is a call for woe to come upon the earth.
This is the first "Woe".
This is a call whereby great grief will result.
Indeed this is a Woe for all the earth, for we are given a picture of absolute terror when for five months God directed and God equipped locusts will roam the earth hurting all those on the earth who have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Revelation 9:7-12, And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 12One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The believerís belief is strained when reading this passage for what we read is beyond our imagination.
Not only what is to take place is absolute terror but even the appearance of these locusts will bring absolute terror.
Shaped like horses with crowns of gold upon their heads with faces of men and hair of women, with teeth of lions, and breastplates of iron, and tails designed to sting and hurt all men, except the sealed servants of God, for five months.
These demons are released from a prison located in a bottomless pit on the earth, a pit opened by a star from heaven to whom was given the key.
In Revelation 1:18 John was told by Jesus Christ: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Is this star the Lord Jesus Christ sent by the Father to release these demons to torment the earth?
Perhaps but there is no question that it is an act by God of judgment.
The opening of the pit which is translated from the Greek word abussos meaning abyss or deep, results in great billows of smoke that fills the air and darkens the sun.
From the smoke come forth hoards of locusts, not like any locusts we know but creatures, demon monstrosities described in ways we know of but never in such a gathering.
Their size is not given.
Since God choose to use the word locusts perhaps that is an indication of their size.
They are designed to sting and as we know very little things that sting can cause great hurt.
And in such great hoards even the sound of tiny wings can bring noises similar to the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
The locusts of Egypt in Moses day were commanded to eat the residue of grain that was not destroyed by the hail but the locust type creatures of the Great Tribulation are not made to eat vegetation for they are forbidden to eat grass, trees or any green thing.
Their mission, their whole existence, is for the purpose of afflicting men, but not all men.
These demons are discriminating beings for they are only to afflict those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
The only people on earth who will be protected from their sadistic onslaught will be the ones who bear in their foreheads the Seal of the God of Israel.
All others will be tormented but will not die.
We are given to see in this woe a period where death is absent at least from the sting of these demon like creatures.
Revelation 9:5-6, And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
This is a punishment from God to those in inhabit the earth.
You place you trust in this world and you become an inhabiter instead of a pilgrim just passing through.
God is sovereign and will not have any other gods before Him.
That is the bottom line.
God is jealous of any glory directed in any direction other than Him.
We live in the age of Godís long suffering where He is not willing that any should perish.
But this woe of the seventh seal and its fifth trumpet tells us that Godís long suffering also has a season.
There is a season for long suffering and there is a season for judgment.
These who seek death but cannot find it, are those who have rejected Godís long suffering and for them there is no remedy but judgment.
So God releases that judgment, declaring the first Woe, and as obedient servants these locust type creatures fill the earth for five months to do Godís bidding.
Revelation 9:11-12, And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 12One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Abaddon and Apollyon mean the destroyer.
He is the king of the bottomless pit and is leader over all those sent to torment.
Most likely this is Satan in angelic form directed to lead his army of destroyers.