Let’s review all of the judgments in Revelation before we look at God’s final judgments on the world – the bowl judgments. Again, I’m not going to focus on how the judgments are brought into the world (the biblical description of what causes the judgment), but simply look at the results of each judgment and then determine whether or not we see these judgments present in the world today. If we don’t see evidence of a judgment in the world, then there are two possibilities – either we have misinterpreted the results of the judgment (and the judgment is present in the world) or the judgment will be brought into the world at a future point in time. Based on what we see today, I believe that we can get a very good idea of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline as it relates to His end time judgments on the world.
The following is a list of the results of the judgments described in Revelation:
• 1st seal (Revelation 6:2) – Earthly kings will focus on conquest
• 2nd seal (Revelation 6:4) – Men will slay each other
• 3rd seal (Revelation 6:6) – Scarcity of food and famine – yet luxuries will remain on earth
• 4th seal (Revelation 6:8) – People will be killed by war, famine, plague and the beasts of the earth
• 5th seal (Revelation 6:9-11) – Does not bring a judgment upon the earth. John sees the souls of those killed because of the Word of God and their testimony. ‘They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
• 6th seal (Revelation 6:12-17) A great earthquake. Every mountain and island is moved. The sun turns black, the moon turns red and the stars are darkened. Every person hides due to this judgment.
• 7th seal (Revelation 8:1-5) Silence in Heaven
• 1st trumpet (Revelation 8:7) – A third of the earth is burned, a third of the trees are burned and all the grass is burned up
• 2nd trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9) – A third of the living creatures in the sea die and a third of the ships are destroyed
• 3rd trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11) – A third of the Earth’s fresh water is polluted – many people die as a result
• 4th trumpet (Revelation 8:12) – The light from the sun, moon and stars is reduced by a third. The sun and sky are darkened.
• 5th trumpet (Revelation 9:1-11) – The sun and sky are darkened by the smoke from the ‘abyss’. Those who do not have the ‘seal of God on their foreheads’ are tortured. Men will seek death, but will not find it. ‘Locusts’ cause the pain and anguish
• 6th Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-19) – Four Angels are released to kill a third of mankind. An army of 200 million troops is mentioned along with a description of modern weapons and warfare.
• 7th Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-18) – “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” This message is telling us that this evil age has come to an end. The 7th Trumpet marks the beginning of the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.
• 1st bowl judgment (Revelation 16:2) – Ugly and painful sores affect those on Earth who have the mark of the beast and worship his image.
• 2nd bowl judgment (Revelation 16:3) – Every living thing in the sea dies.
• 3rd bowl judgment (Revelation 16:4) – The rivers and springs of the world turn to ‘blood’. I believe this to be a reference to the scarcity of clean drinking water due to pollution, drought, etc.
• 4th bowl judgment (Revelation 16:8-9) – The sun is given power to scorch people with fire. People are seared by ‘intense heat’.
• 5th bowl judgment (Revelation 16:10-11) – The kingdom of the beast is ‘plunged into darkness’. The ‘pains’ and ‘sores’ of earlier judgments cause people to ‘gnaw their tongues’ in agony.
• 6th bowl judgment (Revelation 16:12-14) – The ‘great river Euphrates’ is dried up to prepare the way for ‘the kings from the East’. Three evil spirits come out of the ‘mouth of the dragon’, out of the ‘mouth of the ‘beast’ and out of the ‘mouth of the false prophet’. They are spirits of demons performing ‘miraculous signs’ and gathering the kings of the earth for the battle on the ‘great day of God Almighty’.
• 7th bowl judgment (Revelation 16:17-21) – “It is done!” A great earthquake. Cities collapse. God remembered ‘Babylon the Great’ and gave her the cup filled with wine of the fury of His wrath. Huge hailstones fall from the sky upon men.
There is obviously a lot of symbolism here and a lot of information for us to interpret. Many people throughout history have tried to interpret these judgments and if you search, you will find wildly differing views on what these judgments are and what they mean for humanity on earth. The truth is that until now, during the present time, no one could truly see what the majority of these judgments are and what real impact they will have on the earth. What you will discover as we compare what is happening in the world today to these judgments – is that the Lord is telling us we are nearing the time of the bowl judgments and therefore, are nearing the end of this age and the return of Jesus Christ.
You hear the occasional ominous message via your television, newspaper or on the internet telling you that something is happening to the earth – but we don’t like to listen to bad news, so we disregard the message and continue on with our lives – oblivious to what our future holds. Even the scientists and politicians who are telling us these things don’t really understand the magnitude of what they are seeing. The earth seems to be warming, oceans are under great stress, polar ice caps, glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet are melting, animal species are dying off in record numbers and deforestation is getting worse as the rainforests of the world disappear. Every day we hear that these things seem to be accelerating at a rate much faster than scientists first predicted. As the ice caps melt, there is less ice to reflect sunlight and more ocean to absorb it. As the earth warms, carbon monoxide, long trapped in frozen permafrost areas, is gradually being released. As the oceans warm, more carbon monoxide, long trapped under the ocean, is slowly being released. As the ice caps and Greenland melt, scientists are discovering that the water created from the melting is accelerating the melting of the remaining ice. As Russia’s, China’s and India’s economies have grown, more and more people on the planet are driving cars and adding to CO2 emissions. What scientists are finding is that global warming is progressing much faster than originally estimated due to ‘unforeseen’ factors.
If you have studied global warming, you’ve probably heard what scientists refer to as the earth’s ‘tipping point’. This is the point where it won’t matter what we do (reduce emissions, re-plant forests, etc.) – global warming becomes a runaway freight train – devastating life on earth. I’m here to tell you that we’ve already passed that point. I don’t say this because I’m a great scientist or because I’ve done extensive research on the subject. We’ve passed the point of no return because that is what the Lord’s Word tells us will happen at the end of this evil age. His Word tells us that the vast majority of humanity will follow evil to its logical conclusion – utter destruction. We’re told in His Word that humanity eventually destroys itself and the earth with it. If it were not for the grace of God – no one would survive. Can it be any clearer than this?
Does God mention that He will judge those who destroy the earth? Absolutely.
“The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great – and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)
What God tells us is that if He did not intervene and send His Son to return for us and put a halt to this madness – humanity would completely destroy itself and the world. Yet we disregard this warning and do not prepare ourselves for the inevitable. Why? Because most of us love the world, have not been born again by God and refuse to face the truth. We are disobedient and do not listen to the One who can save us. We would rather focus on the world and disregard what is most important – following our Lord and our place in eternity.
I’ve read many interpretations of these judgments from many different people and have found that many people believe that these judgments are all independent of each other. I don’t believe this to be true. I believe that when Jesus opens the seven ‘seals’, we are given an overall view of what is happening on earth. Notice carefully that the first four seals give us very general statements about what is happening on earth. There is nothing specific here that we could view in the world – these things have been a part of humanity throughout our history. You could say that these will only happen in the future, but you cannot deny that all of these things are happening in our world today. So, to say that these four ‘seals’ only reference a future point in time is pure speculation.
The 5th seal shifts from what is happening on earth to heaven. It is not a judgment, but describes those that have been killed because of ‘the Word of God’. We are told here that these are the Lord’s children who were obedient to Him – and were killed as a result. They followed His will for their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice for Him. They are told to wait ‘a little longer’ (verse 11) until ‘their fellow servants and brothers’ had been killed as they had been. This leads me to believe that there is not much time left before Jesus’ return at this point – and there are only 2 seals left after we are shown this vision in heaven.
It’s not until the 6th seal that we start to see specifics – specifics that are also described by the trumpet and bowl judgments. The 6th seal tells us of a great earthquake that affects every ‘mountain’ and ‘island’, the sun turns black, the moon turns blood red and the stars fall from the sky. I believe this is a reference to what is happening during the 4th trumpet and 6th trumpet judgments and the 5th and 7th bowl judgments – which we will review later in this post. The 7th seal brings ‘silence in heaven’. This is most likely a reference to what is happening on earth as a result of the 7th trumpet and 7th bowl judgments – the final judgments are brought on the world and then Jesus returns for us. So, if we summarize the seven ‘seals’ – we don’t really see any specific information given to us that is not also included in the trumpet and bowl judgments. I believe the seals are simply a general overview of what is happening – information that should be viewed together with the trumpet and bowl judgments. I don’t believe that these are specific judgments that should be viewed on their own.
It’s not until the 1st trumpet judgment that we see a specific judgment that we can compare to the world to see if it is present in the world. A ‘third’ of the earth is ‘burned’ – a third of the trees and all of the grass. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe this is referencing all of the many ways we see vegetation destroyed on this planet – deforestation in its many forms, wildfires, urban sprawl, etc. I don’t think it’s important to focus on the mention of a ‘third’. It’s more important that we understand that this is referencing a fraction of the earth and trees. I believe the Lord is using a fraction here to tell us that this is simply referencing something that starts small, but becomes something very destructive to the planet that will influence other judgments. This use of a fraction will become vitally important as we view the remaining trumpet and bowl judgments.
The next two trumpet judgments confirm this idea that the Lord is showing us things in the world that are progressively getting worse as this evil age progresses. Notice carefully what we’re told:
“The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” (Revelation 8:8-9)
The most important message of the 2nd trumpet judgment is that a third of the living creatures in the sea die. Also notice that we’re given the key to the reference to ‘blood’. A reference to ‘blood’ simply means that something catastrophic is happening. A third of the sea turned into blood – meaning that a third of the living creatures in the sea die. In this case, it’s important to note that we’re told that a fraction of the creatures in the sea die. At this point in time, something in the world is causing sea animals to die. They’re not all dying, but the process has started. If we think logically about this for a moment, it shouldn’t surprise us that something bad enough to begin killing sea animals the world over – could get worse – and it does.
Let’s fast forward to the future and look at the 2nd bowl judgment:
“The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.” (Revelation 16:3)
This time we’re not talking about a fraction – we’re talking about all of the oceans of the world. This time it’s not a fraction of the sea that turns to blood – all of it turns to blood. Everything in the oceans of the world – dies. What the Lord is telling us when we view these two judgments together is that something in the world will begin to kill the animals of our oceans – something that will eventually kill everything in the oceans on a global scale. Fifty years ago this was still a mystery. What could possible cause the world’s oceans to die? It’s not a mystery any longer. National Geographic recently aired a documentary on what would happen if the earth’s average temperature rose six degrees Celsius. One of the repercussions – the world’s oceans would become wastelands, unable to support life. Our oceans are warming and the warming is accelerating rapidly. Scientists are trying to determine how bad this will get. We don’t need the world’s wisdom to tell us how this ends – we already know. We have passed the point of the 2nd trumpet and are rapidly approaching the bowl judgments. As if to ensure we make the connection between these two judgments – it’s the 2nd trumpet and 2nd bowl that cause these things to happen.
Let’s move on to the 3rd trumpet judgment:
“The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” (Revelation 8:10-11)
We discussed this in a previous post. I believe this is referencing both the scarcity of fresh drinking water (increase in population coupled with drought, etc) and how the world’s fresh water has become polluted – pesticides, chemicals, inadequate water treatment, etc. Notice again that a fraction is used to describe this judgment. We’ve already seen how a fraction was used to describe the progressive death of our oceans. Are we told the same thing will happen to our fresh water? Yes.
Let’s fast forward to the future once again and look at the 3rd bowl judgment:
“The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” (Revelation 16:4-6)
Once again we see something progressive in the world that eventually leads the fresh water of the world to become ‘blood’. We don’t see a reference to fresh water animals only being affected – apparently this affects the rivers, lakes and springs themselves. What is another repercussion if the world’s average temperature rises six degrees? Many places throughout the world become deserts. Areas that were once rainforests become desert wastelands. Fresh water to drink is going to be in very short supply. We’re even given the reason for this judgment – those that have shed the blood of the Lord’s saints will be given blood to drink – by giving them nothing to drink at all. If we look at what the political ‘beast’ and the false religious entity are doing during this time – killing those who refuse the mark and refuse to worship this false religion – we begin to understand what is happening. They are killing the Lord’s saints – and He is going to judge them by making their lives on this earth miserable – it will be a struggle to stay alive. Once again we see that a trumpet judgment (3rd) references a similar bowl judgment (3rd).
The 4th trumpet judgment affects our atmosphere in some way:
“The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” (Revelation 8:12)
In the ‘Left Behind’ book series, the light from the sun and moon is somehow supernaturally dimmed. I believe this is pure fantasy. What we’re told here is something in our atmosphere is blocking our view of the sun, moon and stars. I believe this is most likely dust, smoke and/or debris. It could be the result of a global war or a volcanic eruption. The important thing to note is that our view of the heavens is hindered in some manner. I believe this is where we are on God’s prophetic timetable as it relates to His judgments. We are somewhere between the 3rd and 4th trumpet judgments. At some point in the near future, our view of the sun, moon and stars will be hindered as a result of something catastrophic happening on earth – but this is only the beginning. The days of clear, blue skies are coming to a close. Also note that, once again, a fraction is used to describe this judgment. Does this tell us that, once again, this is a progressive judgment? Does it get worse? Yes.
If we look ahead, we see that our view of the heavens is again affected by future judgments. The 5th trumpet judgment and 5th bowl judgments have an impact on this. Let’s first review the 5th trumpet judgment.
“The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.” (Revelation 9:1-2)
What is the Abyss? Hell. Whatever is causing this to happen on earth is controlled by demonic forces (and allowed by God). So, we see from the 4th trumpet that our view of the heavens is reduced by ‘a third’, then we see that something else darkens the sun and sky. Is this the result of war, environmental factors or both? I believe the remaining verses related to the 5th trumpet give us a clue as to one factor:
“And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:3-11)
What are these locusts? Once again, if you research this you will find many different answers. You will find people who believe the ‘locusts’ represent armies of the world or followers of other religions or are some type of supernatural being straight out of hell. For a long time I believed that this was a reference to the world’s armies. After further study and prayer, I no longer believe this to be true. If we study these verses and don’t disregard anything that doesn’t fit our pre-conceived ideas, the truth becomes clear. Would an army of the world or followers of another religion have anything to do with the grass, plants and trees of the earth? No. Why would the Lord mention grass, plants and trees? Would the world’s armies or followers of another religion give reprieve to true followers of God? No. Other verses tell us just the opposite – followers of Jesus Christ are persecuted and killed. Would the world’s armies or followers of other religions only torture people – not kill? Doesn’t make sense does it? No – it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense because these verses are not referring to armies or other religions.
As we’ve done before, we’re going to look to the Old Testament to answer another prophecy in Revelation. This puzzle is solved by the words given to an Old Testament prophet. The answer to this puzzle is given to us by Joel – written around 830 B.C. These verses were first written for the nation of Israel, but like many verses in the Bible, the words written by Joel have a dual meaning. They were given to the nation of Israel many years ago and were preserved for us – today.
“The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel.
Hear this, you elders;
listen, all who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
or in the days of your forefathers?
Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
What the locust swarm has left
the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
other locusts have eaten.
Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you drinkers of wine;
wail because of the new wine,
for it has been snatched from your lips.
A nation has invaded my land,
powerful and without number;
it has the teeth of a lion,
the fangs of a lioness.
It has laid waste my vines
and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
and thrown it away,
leaving their branches white.
Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth
grieving for the husband of her youth.
Grain offerings and drink offerings
are cut off from the house of the LORD.
The priests are in mourning,
those who minister before the LORD.
The fields are ruined,
the ground is dried up;
the grain is destroyed,
the new wine is dried up,
the oil fails.
Despair, you farmers,
wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
The vine is dried up
and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree—
all the trees of the field—are dried up.
Surely the joy of mankind
is withered away. (Joel 1:1-12)
We see that a locust swarm has invaded the land. The Lord refers to these locusts as a ‘nation’ and they have ‘the teeth of a lion’. The exact same phrase that is used to describe the teeth of the locusts in Revelation 9:8. It appears that these ‘locusts’ are actual locusts sent to torment those on earth who have not repented – they sting and torment those without God’s seal – those who have not been born again by God. In addition, it’s certainly possible that they will also devastate food production. Coupled with everything else going on in the world at this time, it’s going to be very difficult to find fresh water to drink and food to eat. In the ‘Left Behind’ books, these locusts are portrayed as supernatural beings from Hell. I believe they are simply some type of locust on earth that torments those who have not been redeemed.
Joel gives us additional information about our times:
“Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn;
wail, you who minister before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings
are withheld from the house of your God.
Declare a holy fast;
call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
and all who live in the land
to the house of the LORD your God,
and cry out to the LORD.
Alas for that day!
For the day of the LORD is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
Has not the food been cut off
before our very eyes—
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
The seeds are shriveled
beneath the clods.
The storehouses are in ruins,
the granaries have been broken down,
for the grain has dried up.
How the cattle moan!
The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;
even the flocks of sheep are suffering.
To you, O LORD, I call,
for fire has devoured the open pastures
and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
Even the wild animals pant for you;
the streams of water have dried up
and fire has devoured the open pastures.” (Joel 1:13-20)
This is a call to repentance. It also appears that other judgments of Revelation are referenced here – ‘fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field’, ‘the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures’. Also note what is near – the Day of the Lord. That terrible day when darkness envelopes the world.
It shouldn’t surprise us that something of this magnitude has been written of by both Old Testament and New Testament prophets. This message is not unique to the Book of Revelation. It is told to us many times.
“Listen, a noise on the mountains,
like that of a great multitude!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations massing together!
The LORD Almighty is mustering
an army for war.
They come from faraway lands,
from the ends of the heavens—
the LORD and the weapons of his wrath—
to destroy the whole country.
Wail, for the day of the LORD is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
Because of this, all hands will go limp,
every man’s heart will melt.
Terror will seize them,
pain and anguish will grip them;
they will writhe like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at each other,
their faces aflame.
See, the day of the LORD is coming
—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
to make the land desolate
and destroy the sinners within it.
The stars of heaven and their constellations
will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
and the moon will not give its light.
I will punish the world for its evil,
the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
and will humble the pride of the ruthless.” (Isaiah 13:4-11)
“Woe to you who long
for the day of the LORD!
Why do you long for the day of the LORD?
That day will be darkness, not light.
It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?” (Amos 5:18-20)
“Immediately after the distress of those days
” ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Mathew 24:29-31)
Let’s continue our discussion of the locusts of Revelation chapter 9 by reviewing Joel chapter 2. We are given more clues that these ‘locusts’ are actual insects on earth.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming.
It is close at hand-
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was of old
nor ever will be in ages to come.
Before them fire devours,
behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
behind them, a desert waste—
nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;
they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots
they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
like a mighty army drawn up for battle.
At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;
every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors;
they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other;
each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;
like thieves they enter through the windows.
Before them the earth shakes,
the sky trembles,
the sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
The LORD thunders
at the head of his army;
his forces are beyond number,
and mighty are those who obey his command.
The day of the LORD is great;
it is dreadful.
Who can endure it? (Joel 2:1-11)
Chapter 2 begins with yet another description of the ‘day of the Lord’. We are told again here that these locusts are a prophetic marker that the end is near. How are the locusts then described? A mighty army that ‘never was’ nor ‘ever will be’. They turn the earth into a ‘desert waste’. How do they look? They look like ‘horses’ and gallop like ‘cavalry’ – similar to what we’re told in Revelation chapter 9. They ‘climb into houses’ and ‘like thieves they enter through the windows’. It’s also very interesting to note that before them ‘the sun and moon are darkened and the stars no longer shine’. This appears to be either a reference to the 4th trumpet judgment or the locusts swarms themselves are so dense that they darken the skies. So, in addition to a darkened world, we’ll be dealing with an immense swarm of stinging, devouring locusts. Not pleasant. Yet once again, the Lord calls to us to repent and become right with Him:
“Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
weep between the temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ “
The LORD’s Answer :
Then the LORD will be jealous for his land
and take pity on his people.
The LORD will reply to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.
“I will drive the northern army far from you,
pushing it into a parched and barren land,
with its front columns going into the eastern sea
and those in the rear into the western sea.
And its stench will go up;
its smell will rise.”
Surely he has done great things.
Be not afraid, O land;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the LORD has done great things.
Be not afraid, O wild animals,
for the open pastures are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.” (Joel 2:12-27)
Here we see that if we will repent, our land will be redeemed.
Joel chapter 2 then finishes with the Lord again telling us about the end:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said,
among the survivors
whom the LORD calls.” (Joel 2:28-32)
So, we see that the 4th and 5th trumpet judgments both affect our view of the sun, moon and stars. How bad does it get? We don’t have to guess. The 5th bowl judgment provides the answer:
“The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” (Revelation 16:10-11)
Since the beast’s kingdom rules over the world, we’re told here that the world is plunged into darkness. Something in the atmosphere completely blocks our view of the sun, moon and stars. If we read the many verses in the Bible that reference the ‘Day of the Lord’, we see that almost every description speaks of ‘darkness’. I believe that the 5th bowl judgment tells us that this darkness precedes the ‘Day of the Lord’. When the Day of the Lord arrives, we will have already been in darkness for some time. Imagine the affect this will have on the earth. What do our plants, trees and vegetation need in order to grow? Sunlight. With no sunlight, there will be no photosynthesis. No photosynthesis means no plant growth. There will be many repercussions from this judgment.
What causes this darkness? I don’t really see anything that specifically tells us the answer. I believe it’s probably a combination of runaway global warming, wars, burning of forests, volcanic eruptions, etc. Whatever it is, it’s catastrophic.
One possibility relates to the 4th trumpet and 4th bowl judgments. We discussed earlier how the 4th trumpet judgment reduces the light from the sun, moon and stars by a third. We have also seen how the trumpet judgments are related to corresponding bowl judgments – 2nd trumpet relates to 2nd bowl, etc. This may be a hidden clue as to what causes the light from the sun, moon and stars to be reduced by a ‘third’. Let’s take a look at the 4th bowl judgment:
“The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” (Revelation 16:8-9)
We see that the earth becomes very hot. It’s not hard to correlate these verses with the affects of global warming we’re seeing in the world today. It’s getting warmer – and the Bible tells us that this heat will become extreme. Since we see the other trumpet judgments related to future bowl judgments, it’s certainly possible that global warming could be the catalyst that causes the light of the sun, moon and stars to be reduced by a third. Time will tell.
Let’s continue with the 6th trumpet judgment:
“The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:13-21)
As we read the 6th trumpet judgment it becomes important to remember that John was a first century man asked to describe 21st century technology. What we are reading here is a man living in the first century A.D. describing 21st century warfare. This is world-wide warfare using 21st century technology. It’s obvious that the ‘angels’ described are really fallen angels or demons. They are ‘bound’, so they are not the Lord’s angels. These angels will influence world leaders into engaging in warfare – warfare that results in death throughout the world.
If we again fast forward into the future and review the 6th bowl judgment, we see a similar scenario:
“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”(Revelation 16:12-16)
We have previously reviewed these verses in detail by reviewing Steve Wohlberg’s comments in his book ‘End Time Delusions’. In summary, we see demon spirits performing ‘miraculous signs’ – a similar description seen in Revelation chapter 13. These ‘signs’ will continue to deceive the world until the end. These verses leave no doubt as to who is controlling the New World Order (beast) and the ‘false prophet’ (image of the Catholic Church) – Satan and demons. What are they doing? They are gathering the leaders of the nations for the world’s final battle – Armageddon. This is the final world-wide battle before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we move on to the final trumpet judgment, we see the end of this evil age:
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
The nations were angry; and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your saints and those who reverence your name,
both small and great—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.” (Revelation 11:15-19)
Here we see the end. The day of judgment has arrived. Those who are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ receive their reward. Those who are not covered by Jesus Christ receive eternal punishment.
Does the 7th bowl judgment also speak of the end? Absolutely.
“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 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.” (Revelation 16:17-21)
Here we see the final judgments on the world. Here we see judgments that were also described by the 7th trumpet and the opening of the 6th seal. We see a description of great storms, a great earthquake that shakes the entire world and causes cities to collapse, islands vanish under the oceans and mountains crumble. We also see a reference to ‘Babylon the Great’ – God’s judgment on the Catholic Church. This isn’t all happening at once – it’s happening over time.
So, now we know why the opening of the 7th seal brings ‘silence in heaven’. I imagine that heaven is a place of music and singing, praise and worship from millions upon millions of angels and angelic beings. What is happening on the earth results in silence – from everyone.
There is one remaining judgment we have not reviewed in this post. We discussed the 1st bowl judgment in an earlier post, we’ll review it again here because it provides some very important information. This judgment gives us two important pieces of information that we need to remember.
“The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.” (Revelation 16:2)
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is the first mention of the ‘mark’ and the ‘image’ in the verses describing the Lord’s judgments in Revelation. So, we should expect to see the beginning of the bowl judgments when we see the world government begin to enforce the mark and when the beast (New World Order) creates its religious ‘image’.
What are these ‘ugly and painful sores’? It could be anything that causes boils or other painful lesions. Those that are redeemed by God are spared this affliction. Also notice that the 5th bowl judgment references these ‘sores’. Whatever this is, it’s not going away.
In summary, we see that many of the Lord’s judgments are present in the world today. We also see that many of these initial judgments will lead to harsher judgments in the years to come. I believe that we’re somewhere between the 3rd and 4th trumpet judgments. The next prophetic event we should expect to see is a darkening of our skies in some manner.
I find it fascinating that we’re told in Genesis the Lord created the world in 7 days. In Revelation, the Lord’s judgment upon the world is told to us with 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 bowls. The number 7 represents completion in the Bible. Once the last of the seven trumpets sound, the Lord’s judgment upon the world will be complete and Jesus will return for us. Will we hear the last trumpet? I believe the answer is yes.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
The important thing to remember is that in all likelihood, you and I will be here for all of this. We should be preparing ourselves spiritually for what is coming, not waiting for something to take us out of here before things get too tough – something that isn’t coming. It’s time to stop believing in fantasies and start believing in the truth.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mathew 24:32-51)