Home Page -Table of Contents -Previous Chapter -Next Chapter
It has been said that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. It is also said, “History teaches us that man learns nothing from history.” This chapter could be called—World War III.
There is an order about the book of Revelation. But putting all the details in precise order is difficult. In his book Israel’s Final Holocaust, Dr. Jack Van Impe says, “While many events of the end time are hidden from us, it is not difficult to sort out some important developments during the Tribulation period that lead to the Battle of Armageddon.”1
(1) The First Seal: False Peace
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer (Rev. 6:1-2).
Engraved on the cornerstone of the United Nations building in New York there is a prophecy from Isaiah 2:4: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” The UN has not fulfilled this prophecy, and it never will. The prophecy of Joel 3:9-10 is being fulfilled instead, especially since the beginning of World War I. “Beat you plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears.”
It is estimated there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy every human being many times over, not counting all the other weapons. James J. Kilpatric says, “At present, the United States maintains a strategic arsenal of 2,450 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 3,024 sea-launched ballistic missiles, 3,000 short-range missiles and 1,600 air-launched cruise missiles. For its part, the Soviet Union maintains 6,530 ICBMs, 3,642 submarine-launched missiles, 400 short-range attack missiles and 640 air-launched cruise missiles. Under the pending agreement, the United States would have 1,444 ICBMs, the Soviet Union 3,060. We would have 3,456 submarine-launched missiles, the Soviet Union 1,840. There would be 18,430 in all. And every one is 10 to 100 times as destructive as the bomb of 1945.”2
The white horse and its rider of the first seal is a symbol of false peace. A few years ago some believed the world may be entering a time of peace, a “new world order.” On July 25, 1988, the Pensacola News Journal wrote in bold letters across the page, “Is peace breaking out in the world’s hot spots?” Then it had a report by Peter Spielmann of The Associated Press, stating, “Maybe, just maybe, nations are turning to diplomacy to end wars that have littered the world with corpses, turned millions into refugees and filled hospitals with wounded civilians. This report focuses on recent steps toward a worldwide rule of reason, rather than force.”
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, this added to the hope of world peace. On December 29, 1989, The Associated Press reported, “As the decade closes, the red tide that Lenin dreamed would cover the world appeared to be receding.”
When Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, all the peace talk subsided. When the war was over, talk about peace, especially in the Middle East, started again. President Bush said, “The civilized world is now in the process of fashioning the rules that will govern the new world order beginning to emerge in the aftermath of the Cold War.”
The day after September 13, 1993, The Associated Press said: “Like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, a peace agreement between Israel and the PLO is another dizzying event that had seemed impossible.”3
In 1988, had you said all this would happen before 1994, you would have been labeled a nut. The Cold War with Russia may indeed be over—but a Hot One could begin at any time. Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister, says the West should feel “terrorized” by the nuclear threat posed by the breakup of the Soviet Union. “In a situation of general instability,” he says, “anything can happen.”4
(2) The Second Seal: War
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword (Rev. 6:3-4).
We talk about peace, but the world is geared-up for the greatest war of all times. Billy Graham says, “How accurately the ancient words from Jeremiah describe our present world situation. Today, as then, people are saying, ‘Peace, peace; when there is no peace’ (Jeremiah 6:14). Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Today we are startlingly close to repeating one of the most tragic chapters in human history. The present world situation parallels in striking fashion the conditions which prevailed during the prelude to World War II.”5
About the turn of the last century many thought that man had finally arrived: there would be peace, and war would become a thing of the past. Within a few years the greatest war the world had ever known broke out. After it was over many thought that man had learned his lesson and World War I was “the war to end all wars.” Within a few years World War II broke out, and it was worse than the first one.
Before World War II, just as today, there was much talk about peace. The “Munich Agreement” with Hitler in September 1938 was hailed as “peace for our time.” But Germany invaded Poland and before it was all over in September 1945, it had engulfed the whole world. The seven years between the Munich Agreement and the war’s end brought death and destruction for millions of people, the last half being a nightmare for the Jews in Europe. Many knew from the way it ended that the next one would probably be the last one. Many believe Russia will invade the Middle East, which may start the third and final one. The earth will have struck out.
How quickly this could happen was demonstrated in the 1973 Mid East war. Syria and Egypt came against Israel in October of 1973. When the war turned against them, Russia threatened to invade. Not only was there a crisis in the Mideast, Washington was having one also. President Nixon was being threatened with impeachment because of Watergate, and Kissinger was running the show.
In his book Henry Kissinger: The Private and Public Story, Ralph Blumenfeld says, “Moscow threatened to send seven divisions of Soviet paratroopers (about 50,000 highly trained commandos) to intervene against Israel on October 24. The Secretary of State [Kissinger] was forced to act. . . . Kissinger and Schlesinger made the decisions for President Nixon, on his authority, and in the basement of the White House that night they ordered a global alert for U.S. military forces—a move that shocked the world. For twelve hours there seemed to be a chance of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.”6
In his book Years of Upheaval, Kissinger says, “Our conviction that we were facing an imminent Soviet move was hardly diminished when we learned during the evening that eight Soviet An-22 transport planes . . . were slated to fly from Budapest to Egypt in the next few hours. And we discovered too that elements of the East German armed forces had been put on alert . . . We decided that going to DefCon III would not be noted quickly enough by Soviet decision-makers. Something more was necessary.”7
The threat of war with Russia worked. The Russians backed down—that time.
(3) The Invasion of Israel
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army (Ezek. 38:1-4).
Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia may be a prelude of things to come. Noah’s ark landed near Georgia, and some of his descendants settled this region. Hal Lindsey says, “For centuries men who have studied this passage have identified who this power is by ethnic background. Meshech, Magog, and Tubal are tribal names that have been in archaeological records that go all the way back to the fifth century B.C. They are tribes that are descended from Japheth, the son of Noah, and are named in Genesis 10. Herodotus, the fifth century B.C. Greek historian and philosopher, said that Meshech and Tubal were tribes that settled in the northern part of the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas and then fanned out through the northern regions.”8
Before Russia became a military power and the Jews returned to Israel, there were many who believed Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 referred to what we know today as Russia.
In 1854, Walter Chamberlain, commenting on Ezekiel 38, said, “From all which I should infer, the coming restoration of Israel will at first be gradual and pacific; a restoration permitted, if not assisted and encouraged or protected. They will return to occupy the whole land, both cities and villages; they will be settled there, become prosperous and increasing in wealth, before this great confederacy of northern people will be formed against them.”9
In 1864, Dr. John Cumming said, “This king of the North I conceive to be the autocrat of Russia. . . . That Russia occupies a place, and a very momentous place, in the prophetic word has been admitted by almost all expositors.”10
In these “latter days” many Christians have become aware of the place Russia has in Bible prophecy. In his book Re-entry, John Wesley White says, “We know from our Lord’s explicit reference that Daniel was prophesying specifically about events which would transpire prior to Christ’s return. ‘At the time of the end,’ envisaged Daniel, speaking from a Jewish geographical perspective, the ruler of ‘the uttermost part of the north’ [Ezek. 38:15, ASV] would sweep down and wage war ‘like a whirlwind’ with ‘many ships’ [Dan. 11:40]. Russia and her satellites would be the only logical power to answer this description, Moscow being almost exactly north of Jerusalem.”
Ezekiel 38:5 names Persia, Ethiopia and Libya as southern allies of this northern power. It is a well known fact that Russia has always wanted an outlet to the Persian Gulf through ancient Persia, which is modern day Iran. Russia has helped Iran with nuclear its nuclear program.
Ezekiel 38:6 names two others, Gomer and Togarmah, as being allies with Russia. Some believe Gomer might be Germany, or at least part of it, and Togarmah might be Turkey. During World War II, Louis Bauman said, “The Gomer of Ezekiel's prophecy is none other than modern Germany. And ...we must expect to find Germany a fixed ally of the northern Bear, even though at this present hour Teuton and Slav are engaged in the business of trying to cut each others throats.”11
Others believe Gomer might be some of the former Russian allies west of Russia and Togarmah might be the ones to the south.
Israel was surprised in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and suffered heavy casualties. It seems Israel will again be caught off guard because of the upcoming so-called Middle East Peace Treaty. The power from the north will “think an evil thought.”
In the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely, all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord GOD; it shall come also to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates (Ezek. 38:8-11).
After years of war, Israel is weary of it all and wants rest. Many Israelis are ready to accept any peace plan which they think will guarantee their security. Zola Levitt, a Christian Jew, conducted a number of interviews in Israel during 1974 when Henry Kissinger was the peacemaker. He asked such questions as: Will the present peace last? Will Russia invade Israel? One Israeli replied, “Kissinger is the new Superstar. Russia will have to abide by what he establishes.”12
There is coming a day when Israel will think that they have secured peace. Then, according to Ezekiel 38:14-16, the power from the north will invade: “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog; Thus saith the Lord GOD: In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: and thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, like a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land.”
In Ezekiel’s day they didn’t have guns, tanks, and airplanes, so naturally he would use the language of his day to describe an army during this day and age. But Ezekiel 38 and 39 may be more literal than we could have ever imagined. Ezekiel mentions a “mighty army . . . riding upon horses.” Hal Lindsey, commenting on the horses, says: “It is interesting to note that the Cossacks have always loved horses and have been recognized as producing the finest army of cavalry in the world. Today they are reported to have several divisions of cavalry. It is believed by some military men that cavalry will actually be used in the invasion of the Middle East just as Ezekiel and other prophets literally predicted. During the Korean War the Red Chinese proved that in rugged mountainous terrain, horses are still the fastest means of moving a large attacking force into battle zones. Isn’t it a coincidence that such a terrain stands between Russia and the Israeli?”13
Ezekiel also tells us that the army from the north will use wooden weapons, which the Israelis will use for firewood for seven years after the army is destroyed. “And I [the Lord] will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. . . And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons. . . and they shall burn them with fire seven years” (Ezek. 39:3,9).
You may ask, Could this prophecy about wooden weapons be taken literally also? In his book Destiny of America, Dr. Charles R. Taylor says, “Anticipating the possibility of the destruction of its mechanized war machine via radar-controlled rockets in the arsenals of today, Russia may well be planning to have it backed up with its world renowned horse cavalry: and even to have the men thereof armed with bows and arrows for guerrilla fighting.”14
Much of Russia’s heavy artillery might be destroyed at the beginning of the tribulation and it will come with some wooden weapons at the end. Commenting on the fact that Russia might invade twice, Anis Shorrosh says: “Apparently there is a regrouping of forces, perhaps within the seven-year tribulation. I see these two battles taking place, one at the outset of the great tribulation of seven years and the second at the end of the seven years.”15
When Russia invades the Middle East, it seems there will be a protest from the other nations. Ezekiel 38:13 says, “All the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take spoil?” Some believe the “young lions” refer to recent powers such as the United States. Russia may invade not thinking America or any other nation will retaliate for fear of nuclear war.
Ezekiel says the army from the north will be destroyed by fire and brimstone. “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel. . . . 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” (Ezek. 38:18-19,22).
The Lord will cause a “great shaking in the land of Israel,” which could be both an earthquake and small nuclear weapons. He will also set the northern army against each other (Ezek. 38:21).
Not only will the northern army be destroyed by fire, the land of Magog and a country that feels carefree and secure will be destroyed in the same manner. “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezek. 39:6).
(4) What People Lives Carelessly?
Notice the word “carelessly” in Ezekiel 39:6. Isaiah, speaking of the Babylon of Revelation 18, says, “Hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children. But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood. . . . the fire shall burn them” (Isa. 47:8-9,14).
Isaiah 13, 47, and Jeremiah 50, 51 are chapters predicting the destruction of Babylon. They said the city would be destroyed by fire in a moment, never to be inhabited again. The “whole land” would be burned. The Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon and fulfilled some verses in these chapters, but Babylon was never destroyed like Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted.
Ancient Babylon has a daughter; the prophecies about her destruction is in the future. It is described in Revelation 18, and a growing number believe it is America. Isaiah 47:1 says, “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon.”
At the end of World War II, General Douglas MacArthur said, “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace.” He goes on to add, “military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed . . . We have had our last change. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.”16
Armageddon is knocking!
When Russia began to develop its nuclear arsenal in the 1950s, there was a fear of nuclear war between the United States and Russia with both sides completely destroying each other. This fear was over exaggerated in the 50s and even possibly in the 60s. In the 50s and early 60s Russia probably did not have the nuclear capability to destroy us before we destroyed them. Both sides now have the capability to destroy each other within an hour, regardless of who strikes first. It’s ironic that now many see no danger of a nuclear war.
Our strategy is called Mutual Assured Destruction, correctly abbreviated—MAD. A former U.S. defense and national security official has rightly said, “Wars have a dynamism of their own, and nuclear, no matter how it is started, is most likely to end in the mutual destruction of both sides.”
(6) A Russian Graveyard In Palestine
In the 50s Khrushchev said to America, “We will bury you.” Russia might make the land of America a pile of rubble by their nuclear arsenal, but as for the Russians burying people, it seems the Russians will be buried by the Israelis. “And I will make a vast graveyard for Gog and his armies in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea. It will block the path of the travelers. There Gog and all his armies will be buried. And they will change the name of the place to ‘The Valley of Gog’s Army.’ It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies” (Ezek. 39:11-12, TLB).
(7) The Third Seal: Starvation
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine (Rev. 6:5-6).
In Matthew 24, the Lord said that out of the “wars and rumors of wars” will come “famines and pestilences.” This is symbolized by the third horseman of the Apocalypse, which seems to indicate that food will be so scarce that it will take all a person’s wages just to feed a small family. In his booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Richard DeHaan says:
We are given several clues as to the meaning of this vision. First, the color of the horse is black, suggesting suffering and death. Second, the scales in the rider’s hand indicates a severe shortage of food which makes necessary a strict rationing program. Third, the reference to money and what it will buy suggests that food will become very expensive. The announcement, “A measure of wheat for a denarius, three measures of barley for a denarius,” indicates a drastic food shortage and highly inflated prices. You see, in New Testament times a denarius was a day’s pay for most laborers. One could use it to purchase from 6 to 12 measures of wheat or 18 to 36 measures of barley. This means a working man will be able to feed a family of only three, and that at the starvation level. Many people, unable to get enough to eat, will perish.17
When we consider that the United States and the former Soviet Union cover close to one-fourth of the world’s land, with America being a leading country in food production, I think we can see how nuclear war will result in “famines.” No doubt the fallout from nuclear war will also affect the vast grain fields of Canada. Untold millions will die in the initial blast of a nuclear war, but millions more will die from the aftermath. This may be symbolized by the fourth seal.
(8) The Fourth Seal: Death and Hell
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (Rev. 6:7-8).
The opening of the first seal represents false peace (verses 1-2). The opening of the second seal will take peace from the earth (verses 3-4). This may coincide with the Russian invasion of the Middle East and the outbreak of World War III. The opening of the third seal indicates famine (verses 5-6). It seems to indicate that while millions are starving, a few will have plenty. The fourth seal is the end result of the first three.
Revelation 6:1-8 outlines a general pattern that happened twice in the last century: False peace, war, famine, and death. There have been many wars, but the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are yet to ride their destruction upon the earth. Verses 7-8 tell us that death is not the end of man’s troubles, for Hell follows the person who refuses to repent.
The opening of the four seals will affect the whole world throughout the tribulation, but they may deal primarily with America and Russia. In the fourth seal, “power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth.” According to the World Book Atlas, America and the former Soviet Union cover about one-fourth of the inhabited earth.
(9) The Fifth Seal: Heaven
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled (Rev. 6:9-11).
The fifth seal refers to another group of people who will be killed during the tribulation. But they die for having put their faith in Christ, and heaven—not hell—follows the person who repents. There will be believers dying throughout the tribulation from wars, earthquakes, disease, hunger, and it seems we will have two groups of martyrs.
(10) The Sixth Seal
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places (Rev. 6:12-14).
The stars falling on the earth like figs being “shaken of a mighty wind” may be describing missiles or meteorites, for they will appear like falling stars. In May of 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted with the force of a large hydrogen bomb and destroyed miles of forests. It spewed smoke and ash into the air, turning day into night for miles. Whether the “stars” of Revelation 6:13 are missiles, meteorites, or whatever, the end result is not good.
There was a partial fulfilling of Joel 2:28-32 at the first coming of Christ. The opening of the sixth seal may be another partial fulfilling of Joel 2:30-31a. It will be fulfilled again shortly “before the great and the terrible day of the LORD,” which will be the day He returns in judgment (verse 31b).
(1) The 144,000
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. 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, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 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 (Rev. 7:1-4).
Above we have 144,000 receiving special insight from God for a special purpose. These are not Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church, or many other things attributed to them. Verses 5 through 8 even names the tribes they come from and should make it clear to anyone, they are the children of Israel. And God knows the whereabouts of each person in each tribe.
In the most technical sense, a Jew is from the tribe of Judah. But the term can apply to any of the children of Israel. Anna was a good Jew, but she was from the tribe of Asher. Paul was from Benjamin.
There are Jews scattered throughout the world, and many in Israel can still speak the language of the nation from which they came. After the 144,000 are sealed, they will do just as Paul after his conversion. They will preach Christ, “that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).
It seems many will respond to their message. Verse 9 tells us of great multitudes from every nation standing before the Lord and His throne, giving thanks. John says, “After this I beheld and, lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”
In verses 11-12 we have the angels, the elders, and the four living creatures giving thanks for the ones who have left the trials on earth. John doesn’t realize where this great multitude came from, so his puzzlement is answered by a question: “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ ” (Rev. 7:13-14, NKJV).
During the tribulation many will be killed for their faith in Christ; others will die from the wars, famine, disease, etc. But verses 16-17 tell us, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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.”
(2) Kept From or Through?
In Revelation 3:10, the Lord says, “I . . . will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Some believe it should read, “I will keep you through the hour,” believing the Church will go triumphantly through all the fire like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then at the very end, right before God’s wrath is poured out, it will meet the Lord in the air.
I believe God will protect a remnant of Israel, and some Gentiles will make it through, but Revelation 6 through 19 says multitudes will die in the Lord and it seems very few will survive. The 144,000 will be protected for a time (verses 1-3), but chapter 14 seems to indicate that they don’t even make it through. The Lord will be with the tribulation believers in their trials as He is with the Church now, but most will die.
God’s key evangelists at the present hour are Gentiles. Dr. Ceztz, a Jewish Christian and son of a Jewish Rabbi, described the future role of Jews in replacing the Church in witnessing. He said, “Just as the cloak of Elijah fell on Elisha when he was taken up into the skies, so too the prophetic ministry of the Church will fall upon the shoulders of Israel, when the Church in like manner is caught up to be with her Lord.”18
Revelation 6 had six seals, but it omitted the seventh. The opening of the seventh seal is in chapter 8 and consists of seven trumpets. “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. . . And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (Rev. 8:1-2, 6).
It is estimated that it will take “about half an hour” between one side launching their missiles and them beginning to hit their targets. The exchange will take about an “hour.” Verses 7 through 12 may give us another description of nuclear war.
It is thought that the United States and Russia possess enough thermonuclear and chemical weapons to literally pollute and set both countries aflame in a matter of hours. Revelation 8:7 says, “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.”
According to U.S. News & World Report, May 9, 1983, North America and the Soviet Union have about one-third of the world’s forests. It is said that Siberia itself “contains one-fifth of the world’s standing timber.”
You may ask, How can there be hail along with fire? A hydrogen bomb was tested in the Pacific Ocean which produced great chunks of hail that actually dented the armor plating of ships miles away. Revelation 8:8-9 tells us one-third of the ships will be destroyed, one-third of the sea life will die, and one-third of the sea will become, as it were, blood. This may be from radiation and chemical poisoning of the waters, not counting the millions upon millions of gallons of oil that will spill into the sea from destroyed battleships, oil tankers, and offshore oil wells. The destroyed industrial plants will pollute the rivers with all kinds of chemicals which will empty into the sea. Verses 10-11 tell us that one-third of the rivers will become polluted and deadly to drink.
Revelation 8:12 tells us that one-third of the sun, moon and stars will be hidden from view for about eight hours of one day. In a nuclear explosion vast amounts of dust and debris are forced into the air. The smoke from the burning cities and forest of North America could hide the sun from view, while on the other side of the world, in Russia, it will hide the stars and moon (or vice versa). “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” (Rev. 8:12).
In their book Freeze, Senator Edward Kennedy and Mark Hatfield says: “The enormous explosive power released by the equivalent of many millions of tons of TNT would also spew huge amounts of dirt, dust, and ash into the atmosphere, much of it containing the fine particles and fragments of our society, the pulverized buildings and the vaporized human beings. In the short term, much of the northern hemisphere will look like the area around Mt. St. Helens in the aftermath of volcanic eruption. The sky will darken, and the land will be covered with a layer of granular, radioactive debris.”19
A missile exchange, or possibly a meteor bombardment, could set in motion the things described thus far. But it may be only “the beginning of sorrows.”a Revelation 8:13 tells us, “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!”
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. And 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 (Rev. 9:1-2).
Many believe the fallen star of verse 1 is Satan, and he is given the key to hell. A fallen angel is released, whose name in Hebrew is “Abaddon” and in Greek is “Apollyn” (verse 11). Both mean Destroyer. Verses 2-11 describe many things, which may be war, natural, and supernatural disasters. But more trouble is to come. “The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come” (verse 12, NIV).
What About China?
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand. . . By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths (Rev. 9:13-16,18).
It has been suggested that verses 1-12 of chapter 9 might be referring to China using helicopters to unleash chemical warfare in their part of the world. I wouldn’t rule this out, but verses 1-12 may deal primarily with North America and Russia in the initial stages of the tribulation, and verses 13-21 deal with the Far East. These verses tell us an army of 200 million will kill one-third of the world’s population with fire, smoke, and brimstone, which could be nuclear and other weapons.
China is afraid to make certain advances in Southeast Asia because of the Russian bear and the young lion of America. But with them out of the way, China will be able to strike like a leopard. In the vision of Daniel 7, Daniel saw a leopard with four wings and four heads. The four wings may represent the four angels which are bound at the Euphrates, and the four heads could represent four leaders whom they will inspire. They may leave and go to China, leading “the kings of the east” back to the Euphrates (Rev. 16:12).
It is estimated that millions were murdered under Mao Tse-Tung’s rule. The four who played a leading part in his bloody Cultural Revolution tried to take over the government after his death in the 70s. They were put in jail and are referred to as the “Gang of Four.” Could it be that another four will lead China in the murder of one-third of the human race?
The number “two hundred thousand thousand” seems like an incredibly large army, especially since it’s estimated that only about 250 million people were alive when John wrote this. In 1961 The Associated Press estimated that china had “200,000,000 armed and organized militiamen.” In 1962 China boasted that they could raise up a huge militia and quoted the same figure as the Apostle John—200 million!20
Dr. Jack Van Impe, commenting on this army, says, “The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Department of Defense has estimated that one out of every five Chinese has been trained for warfare. Furthermore, because China’s population has now reached the one billion mark, one out of five equals a total of two hundred million—the exact figure of Revelation!”21
When we consider that over one-third of the world’s population is packed into the Far East (in such countries as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, East Pakistan, India, which China considers as enemies), it will be easy for China, even with their limited nuclear and chemical capability, to “slay the third part of men.”
When the Fourth National People’s Congress of China met, they issued this warning: “The contention for world hegemony between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, is becoming more and more intense. The factors for both revolution and war are increasing. The people of all countries must get prepared against a world war.” The communique concluded by saying, “We are determined to liberate Taiwan!”22
The liberation of Taiwan is still their goal, and what China means by “liberate” is quite different from my definition of the word. War between the United States and Russia will give China its chance to not only “liberate Taiwan” but the other countries in that part of the world. Maybe I should say, “Slay the third part of men” (Rev. 9:15).
No doubt many of those killed will be Chinese. The Communist doctrine, especially the way the “Gang of Four” saw it, calls for the blood of its own people if they are not true to the cause. The Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 is just one of the latest examples. There may be a far greater backlash against the move for democracy in China—a bloodbath like the world has never seen. Those in power at the time may fear if they don’t use it they may lose it like the communist did in Russia.
Under Mao “The Gang of Four” took part in the murder of many Chinese. Their brand of communism has already been vividly demonstrated in Cambodia, where millions have been murdered. Recent history in the Far East, Stalin’s Russia, and Hitler’s Germany were but a small preview of things to come.
You would think with all the judgments mentioned thus far, man would turn from his sins. But the last two verses of chapter 9 tell us, “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (20-21).
There is a great mystery about chapter 10. In verse 11, the Lord said to John, “Thou must prophecy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”
Before Jesus returned to heaven, there was an interesting conversation between Peter and Jesus about John. Jesus told Peter that he would be imprisoned and die for his faith in Him. Then Peter saw John and asked what would happen to him. “Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall his man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” (John 21:21-23.)
I would not be a bit surprised if John died according to tradition, but I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he may play a part in the tribulation. Jesus said to His disciples, which included John, “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matt. 16:28).
(1) Jerusalem and the Temple
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein (Rev. 11:1).
The Bible tells us the temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt. Second Thessalonians 2:3-4 says this is where the “man of sin. . . the son of perdition,” will proclaim himself to be “God.”
Since the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., there has been talk among the Jews about returning to the land and rebuilding it. They began to return about the turn of the last century, but until the Six Day War of June 1967 a rebuilt temple seemed impossible, due to the fact that the temple site was in East Jerusalem which was controlled by the Arabs.
About two weeks before war broke out an interesting article appeared in the Washington Post. It occupied a space of eleven by eight inches and was headlined in inch-high letters which read, “TO PERSONS OF THE JEWISH FAITH ALL OVER THE WORLD.” The first two sentences said, “A project to rebuild the ‘Temple of God’ in Israel is now being started. With Divine Guidance and Help the ‘Temple’ will be completed.”
On November 16, 1989, an interesting article about rebuilding the temple appeared in The Alabama Baptist. Steve Rodan wrote:
The project has sparked a lively controversy in Judaism today. The debate divides theologians and political leaders. It has also united ultra-Orthodox Jews with fundamentalist Protestant Christians, both of whom share the dream of a third Jewish temple. Among the questions being raised: Can a temple be built or even planned without the arrival of the Messiah? What should be done about the Muslim shrines that for about 1,000 years have occupied the holy ground? Advocates of rebuilding the temple have no answers. But Rabbi Israel Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, has no doubt that a solution will be found. His institute has reconstructed 38 of the 103 ritual implements required for bringing sacrifices at the temple. “We believe that a temple will arise despite all the problems,” he said. “It is the force that unites the Jewish people.”
Until recently it was thought that the major problem in rebuilding the temple was the Dome of the Rock, which stands exactly on the spot where Solomon built the first temple.
The Dome of the Rock was built in the seventh century A.D., and the Arabs revere the site for a number of reasons. Mohammed, a descendant of Ishmael and founder of the Arab religion, is claimed to have ascended into heaven from this spot aboard his horse. Also, Genesis 22:2 says that God directed Abraham, the father of the Arabs and Jews, to go to the land of Moriah and offer up his son, Isaac, on one of the mountains there. The Arab-Moslems hold to this very same tradition, but they claim it was Ishmael, not Isaac, whom their father Abraham offered, and it was on Mount Moriah where the Dome of the Rock now stands.
If the Dome of the Rock is on the temple site, then Israel is left with one of three alternatives: Build the temple on another location, tear down the Arabs holy place, or wait until the Dome is destroyed by other means. If the Dome is not exactly on the temple site, as some now think, then the problem could be solved by building close to it.
On December 19, 1983, U. S. News & World Report said, “For centuries, Jews believed that access to most of the Temple site was impossible because it was assumed to lie below Islam’s most sacred structure, the Dome of the Rock, a mosque looming above rival holy places on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. This past spring, however, Israeli scientist Asher Kaufman published the results of 16 years of research that he said showed the Temple stood 330 feet outside the mosque.”
If Mr. Kaufman’s findings are correct, this may solve the problem of building the temple while the Dome of the Rock is still standing. This may place the Dome in the courtyard of the temple and have some bearing on Revelation 11:1-2. In verse 1 John was told to measure the temple. In verse 2, he was told, “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months” (NKJV).
It seems the 42 months will begin when the temple is desecrated. Jesus said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”b
For years the Orthodox Religious Party in Israel has tried to have travel restricted on the Sabbath, and should they succeed, this will be another indication that the time is near. Jesus said, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20).
East Jerusalem and the settlements in the West Bank will become a major sticking point in the peace negotiations. The world has already condemned Israel for these settlements and for making Jerusalem their capitol, claiming it is an obstacle to peace. What will cause even more problems for Israel is when the temple is started. Jerusalem is fast becoming as Zechariah 12:3 tells us, “A burdensome stone for all people.” The last part of verse 3 says, “All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
(2) The Two Witnesses
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will (Rev. 11:3-6).
The Antichrist is going to be top-gun in the world, but he will have his problems. God is going to anoint two of his servants with supernatural power and will answer their fiery prayer of judgment. After 1260 days God is going to lift his supernatural protection and allow the Antichrist to kill them, and their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and one-half days. The people of the world will rejoice over the death of God’s two prophets, but their rejoicing will turn to fear when they see them raised from the dead:
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer [permit] their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them (Rev. 11:7-12).
Before the days of TV some scoffed at these verses by asking: how could the whole world see two dead bodies in Jerusalem in three days? No doubt the cameras will have it beamed around the world within a few minutes after they fall.
You may ask: Who are the two witnesses mentioned in verses 3-12? It is thought by many that one may be the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Elijah is one of the men of the Old Testament who was translated to heaven without seeing death, and in the last two verses of the Old Testament we read of the return of Elijah before the return of Christ. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:5-6).
Many believe that the verses above are referring to John the Baptist. Elijah and John were like-spirited and had similar missions, but they were not the same person. The coming of John was the first fulfilling of Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1, but not Malachi 4:5-6. The first coming of Christ was no “great and dreadful day,” and when John was asked, “Art thou Elijah?” he replied, “I am not” (John 1:21).
John the Baptist came preaching, “Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and so will Elijah. The Old Testament law and prophets predicted the coming of Christ. If the nation of Israel had received the message of John concerning Christ, there would not be any need for Elijah to come later. Jesus said, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elijah, who was to come” (Matt. 11:13-14).
Some believe the other witness might be Enoch, for he is the only other man we know of who was taken to heaven without dying. Others believe that it might be Moses. Moses and Elijah did some of the same miracles that the two witnesses will do during the tribulation, and it was Moses and Elijah who were with the Lord at the transfiguration.
(3) The Son of Hell
Notice the statement in Revelation 11:7: “The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.” Some believe that Judas will be the Antichrist, and there are some Scriptures which seem to support this. In 2 Thess. 2:3, Paul refers to the Antichrist as “the son of perdition.” In John 17:12, Jesus called Judas the same thing, which means “the son of hell” (TLB).
On the night of the Passover, Luke 22:3 says, “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.” Lehman Strauss, commenting on this verse, says, “To the best of my knowledge this is the only passage where it is said that Satan entered into a man.” Strauss goes on to say, “He [Judas] is now in the bottomless pit, but will ascend out of it after the Church is removed. . . . Judas Iscariot will be the ‘man of sin.’ ”23
Those who believe Judas might be the Antichrist believe he will be resurrected. I believe he might be a reincarnation of Judas, which will disprove reincarnation. (More about this later.)
The Spirit in Christ came from heaven. The spirit of the Antichrist may have come from hell, and in a sense Satan how has a son—the son of perdition. At the right time he will be allowed to reveal his son.
(4) The New Fuhrer
The First World War brought despair, poverty, and disorder to the German people which set the stage for Hitler, the Fuhrer. A nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia would leave the people of Western Europe in a state of confusion which could open the door for the Antichrist. People will be out of work, disorder will run rampant, and the phony religious leaders trying to rule over the troubles will only make matters worse. It will be a perfect situation for the Antichrist, who will step in with “order over justice.”
For years many students of Bible prophecy have believed that ten nations in the vicinity of the old Roman Empire would one day unite together under a madman called Antichrist. Western Europe has already united to some degree and is looking for a leader. One of the early planners of the Common Market has said, “We do not want another committee, we have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man and be he god or devil, we will receive him!”24
The Bible pictures the Antichrist as a “beast” rising up out of the sea, who will be accepted with open arms. Richard DeHaan says, “The reason he will be so enthusiastically accepted is implied in Revelation 13, where he is described as rising up ‘out of the sea’ (Revelation 13:1). In the prophetic Scriptures, the sea, with its constant change and motion, its tumultuous waves and frothing billows, is often used to represent human civilization in throes of revolution, anarchy and chaos. . . . Mankind will be disturbed; in torment; afraid. The problems will seem insurmountable. The only hope will be for the appearance of a powerful man who can unite the world under his leadership.” 25
Even now some believe we need a world state led by a world ruler, but they see this as very unlikely because every nation is looking out for its own interest. Hans Morgenthau, a political scientist, says, “There is no shirking the conclusion that international peace cannot be without a world state, and that a world state cannot be established under the present moral, social and political conditions of the world.”26
Nuclear war may make “a world state” and a world leader possible. In his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Henry Kissinger says, “All-out war may merely pave the way for the dominance of the world by states whose social structure and forces-in-being have remained more or less intact during the struggle-to-death of the superstates.” 27
Many believe the Antichrist will be tall, dark, and handsome. But most of the world’s late greats were anything but that. Hitler is a good example, and millions died under his rule. The Antichrist will simply pick up where Hitler left off. Out of wars and chaos will come order; a Gestapo State that will make Hitler’s Germany look mild in comparison. Henry Kissinger says, “We must construct an international order before a crisis imposes it as a necessity.”28
(1) A Great Wonder
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars (Rev. 12:1).
Many suggestions have been offered to identify the “women” of this chapter. The Church of Rome says it represents the Virgin Mary. Others have proposed that the sun-clad women is the Church, and still others have tried to identify the woman with themselves. Lehman Strauss says, “Mary Baker Eddy . . . was conceited enough to claim that this woman of Revelation 12 represented herself. She added that the ‘man child’ that she brought forth is Christian Science; that the ‘dragon’ is ‘mortal mind’ (whatever that is) attempting to destroy her new religion.”29
(2) The Seven Headed Dragon
There have been six world empires, and the Bible predicts a seventh. Each one has had its outstanding king, but Satan was the head and the power behind the throne. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, each have persecuted Israel. I believe the seventh will be a revival of Rome with ten nations united together. It will also be headed by Satan, and he will try to destroy Israel.
The woman in this chapter is Israel. The chapter tells us of her struggle, which started with Pharaoh of Egypt. It will end when the Antichrist and the Seventh Empire is destroyed. “And she being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads” (Rev. 12:2-3).
The “great red dragon” is Satan, who has been trying to exterminate Israel since her birth in Egypt. He will consecrate his efforts in the ten nation alliance headed by the Antichrist. This will be “the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7).
Some believe Revelation 12:4 may give us the percentage of angels that rebelled against God. It also tells us of Satan trying to use Herod of the old Roman Empire to kill Christ at His birth. “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”
Satan failed to kill Jesus as a child, but God allowed him to succeed at the cross. But he made the second biggest mistake of his existence, for he failed to keep Him dead. This “same Jesus” returned to heaven to waiting for the time He will return to earth and rule with a firm hand. “And she [Israel] brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Rev. 12:5).
Verse 6 skips over the church age into the tribulation. This will be when Satan will try to destroy Israel in the person of the Antichrist. “And the women fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”
When Lucifer turned against God, no doubt there was a great conflict between the angels. Verses 7-9 tell us of another war in heaven and of Satan and the fallen angels being kicked out for good. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
At the present time Satan is not denied access to heaven. During the tribulation he will be banished for good. He will have about three and one-half years to try and destroy Israel and the new Christians.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child (Rev. 12:10-13).
Verse 14 tells us that Israel will flee from the persecution of the Antichrist. Many may leave Israel by an air lift. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
Daniel 12:7 uses about the same expression as John concerning the length of time that Israel will be severely persecuted. If we compare verses 6 and 14 of Revelation 12 we can see that the phrase “time, and times, and half a time” means about three and one-half years. This time will start about the time of the “abomination of desolation.”
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto [Judea at this time]. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:20-24).
The Antichrist will wage war against Israel. John says, “And the dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:15-17).
(3) The Last Exodus
Israel in its infancy went into Egypt to escape famine. Jesus was also taken to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. It seems many Jews will flee to Egypt from the wrath of the Antichrist. They will turn to Christ and become the sons of God by the new birth, fulfilling Hosea 11:1 again, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”
At the moment there are hardly any Jews in the neighboring countries surrounding Israel, but this will change during the persecution by the Antichrist. Isaiah 11:11 even names some of the nations, and one of them is Egypt. Verse 15 could tell us what will be another Red Sea crossing. “And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian Sea . . . and make men go over dryshod.”
God did a mighty miracle when He delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt. According to Deuteronomy 28:68, it seems He’s going to do it again. After Moses led them out, he prophesied about them returning again. “And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee.” Zechariah 10:10 tells us, “I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt.”
The Jews had to be re-gathered so they could be re-scattered during the tribulation. It seems not all will leave Israel, but many will. Then they will be re-gathered for the final time, never to be scattered again. The Lord says, “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (Amos 9:15).
One day Israel will finally find true peace. “And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid” (Ezek. 34:28).
(1) A Beast Out of The Sea
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority (Rev. 13:1-2).
In chapter 12 the conflict in heaven ended with Satan being kicked out by Michael and his angels. In 13 we have a description of his all-out effort to establish his kingdom on earth and defeat God’s program and His people
The seven headed beast may represent the seven world empires, and each one will have persecuted God’s people: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the revival of Rome. Rome was not conquered from without. It fell apart from within because of its moral decay. In a sense it still exists today. C. I. Scofield said, “Fragments of the ancient Roman empire have never ceased to exist as separate kingdoms.”
Ancient Rome awaits a leader who can put the pieces back together again. Its power base may be made up of ten countries in Western Europe. Before it ends, the seventh empire will rule the approximate area of the old Roman Empire and may take in the territory of all six previous empires.
The beast John saw rising from the sea may represent the United States, Russia, and China. The lion and the bear will virtually destroy each other, leaving the leopard free to strike in the Far East. The destruction of America and Russia could make way for the revival of Rome under its head, the Antichrist.
Revelation 13:3 tells us that one head of the seven headed beast appears to be dead, and then comes alive. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” This may represent the Antichrist being killed. Then God will allow Satan to enter into the dead body and raise it to life. Verses 4-9 tell us of the activities of Satan in his new role on earth:
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear (Rev. 13:4-9).
The Antichrist will “make war with the saints” (verse 7). They will not fight him with conventional means, but with their faith. Verse 10 tells us, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”
The disciples were willing to fight and die for an unworthy nation. But it was not until Pentecost that they were willing to die for the cause of Christ. It was not that they suddenly got more spiritual or Godly by their own efforts. It was a matter of God’s power, mercy, and timing.
(2) Another Beast, The False Prophet
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should doth speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Rev. 13:11-15).
The Antichrist will have a helper during the tribulation. This man will appear as a lamb to many but he will be a beast. He will make an image of the Antichrist and demand that it be worshiped This will be the ultimate in image worship: The worship of Satan in the flesh and his talking dummy. It takes one to worship one.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six  (Rev. 13:16-18).
Revelation 13:16-18 is speaking of a computer system, code marks, and the name of the “beast.” With the event of computers in recent years, the “mark of the beast” is now possible.
Most everyone already has many numbers and code marks associated with their name, which are in different computers. It has been suggested that we need to do away with all existing numbers and just have one number and one mark for each person. This number and mark would be registered in one central computer, which could be connected to local banks. This would take the place of cash and checks, and make shopping and banking real convenient. So no one could use your number, and so you couldn’t lose it, it has also been suggested that this number and mark could be “laser-tattooed” somewhere on your body.
Your number and code mark along with any information about you can now be placed “in” your hand or forehead. An article in the January 2, 1984, edition of U.S. News & World Report said, “A Colorado company manufactures a tiny computer chip that can be implanted under the skin with a syringe to serve as a permanent electronic fingerprint. When the chip passes through a magnetic monitor, it resonates a code that is read, much like specially tagged merchandise in retail stores. Such a device, now used in cattlesorting operations, could be used to identify criminals.”
The vice president of sales for the identification device pointed out how this could be used to keep track of bank-robbers, children, or whoever. He also added, “I’m not saying it couldn’t be used for bad purposes . . .”
Since 1984, many improvements have been made on the computer chip; and it’s no problem to place it in humans, just under the skin.
Most stores already have a device for reading codes and numbers at the check-out counter. A cashless society using a universal numbering and marking system will be a very powerful weapon in the hands of the Antichrist. Everyone may be given a number, but a person won’t be able to “buy or sell” unless he has the beast’s name, number, or mark in his right hand or in his forehead. This will make it easy for him to keep tabs on everyone and will make it extremely hard on anyone who rejects the mark, for a person will have to show the mark to obtain food, clothing and shelter. But God gives encouraging words for those who refuse to worship the Antichrist, his image, or have his mark. John says:
I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Rev. 20:4).
The number system will be most effective in Western Europe. They use the same letters and numbers, but each country has its own language. They will need some numbering system that will tie the people of each country together in a computer.
(1) A Lamb On Mount Zion
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth (Rev. 14:1-3).
I believe these verses refer to the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7. It seems they will be sealed shortly before the second seal is opened and millions may be brought to Christ by the Holy Spirit under their ministry. It also seems the 144,000 die sometime during the tribulation. Verses 4-5 tell us, “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”
The word “virgins” in verse 4 may be referring to a Godly life and does not necessarily mean that some of them will not be married. Some, however, may do as Paul and not marry. Paul knew that he could devote more time to preaching and teaching if he remained single, and during the tribulation, there will not be much time for family life.
(2) The Preaching Angel
After referring to the 144,000, John saw an angel from heaven preaching the gospel. This may be another indication that the Jewish evangelists die during the tribulation, and God fills their place with an angel. John says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Rev. 14:6-7).
The word “gospel” means “good news.” The gospel of salvation from judgment by a repentant faith in Christ must be heard around the world before He returns. Jesus said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14).
The angel is not going to preach a new gospel, but “the everlasting gospel,” which is a child-like faith in Jesus for salvation. John 3:16 has been called the gospel in a “nutshell,” and Paul makes his feelings known about anyone who deliberately distorts the message. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9).
(3) Don’t Worship the Beast
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Rev. 14:9-12).
Verse 13 tells us that there are still more believers to die during the tribulation. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
This chapter gives us a scene that will take place in heaven right before the last seven judgments are poured out upon the earth. It also tells us of those who were victorious over the Antichrist by their faith:
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God (Rev. 15:2).
In Revelation the “sea” and “waters” represent the troubles of the world. But notice in verse 2, the believers who will be killed for refusing the mark will stand on a “sea of glass,” which could represent the calmness of heaven.
(1) A Great Voice
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou are righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain (Rev. 16:1-10).
Much of Revelation seems to be the indirect judgments of God, allowing man and Satan to bring destruction and misery. But the world will not repent. This chapter tells us of seven plagues, which are symbolized as bowls of wrath being poured out on the earth. It seems these judgments are more direct from God, like the plagues in the days of Pharaoh.
Notice after the fourth plague mentioned in verse 9: “And they repented not to give him glory.” So God pours out the fifth plague in verse 10. You would think that after all this men would repent, but verse 11 says, “And [they] blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
I believe all this proves my point. Hell, whether it be on earth or in the center of it, will not change the spirit of those hardened against God, which began before the world began.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon (Rev. 16:12-16).
Many believe that the United States and Russia will relinquish their power and sit idly by while Western Europe rises to the Number 1 rating. Then at the end of the tribulation, they will all converge on Israel. But the United States and Russia may virtually destroy each other at the beginning of the tribulation, leaving Western Europe intact. China will be a problem for the Antichrist, and at the end of the tribulation these two great armies along with what’s left of the other armies of the world will converge in Israel for the Battle of Armageddon, the final battle of World War III.
Until recently there were two great obstacles to marching a large army from China to Palestine: the Himalayas Mountains and the Euphrates River. The Himalayas Mountain system is the highest in the world and in some parts is as much as 200 miles wide. In the last few years, at great expense, China has built a super-highway across the mountains and through the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This road has no economic purpose. While it was being built, India protested, saying this would be a threat to the West. And that it is, for China can now invade Israel if they can get across the Euphrates River.
The Euphrates River has figured prominently in military history throughout the ages. It was always recognized as the ancient boundary between the East and West. It runs a distance of 1800 miles and in some places is up to 1200 yards wide. Many bridges across the Euphrates were destroyed in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Before the Tribulation War is over, they all may be down. This would be a problem in marching a large army from the Far East. But this river will be dried up (Rev. 16:12).
There are a number of dams under construction on the Euphrates and one has already been completed. On January 14, 1990, The Associated Press reported: SANLIUFRA, Turkey (AP)—President Turgut Ozal cut the flow of the Euphrates River with the push of a button Saturday.
Whether a dam is used, or God does it Himself—the Euphrates will be “dried up.”
Joel 3:9-10 tells us more about this final battle. “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles: Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears.” Joel 3:14 tells us there will be “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.”
It will look like Israel and the city of Jerusalem are about to be annihilated. But Zechariah 8:3, 7 tells us about Christ’s return to save the city from the armies of the East and West, and of the city becoming a city of truth. “Thus saith the LORD: I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth. . . . I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country.”
(3) The Great Earthquake
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of this wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found (Rev. 16:17-20).
There has been an increase in earthquakes over the years, in frequency and intensity. It seems there will be a great earthquake at the beginning of the tribulation and many throughout the whole time, but the one at the end will be the greatest of human history.
Even after all this, rather than repent men will curse God, which proves punishment will not change the spirit of those who rebelled against God. Verse 21 tells us, “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
Revelation 16:19 indicates that Babylon and all it represents falls before the remaining “cities of the nations.” This verse also lets us know that the Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18 fall sometime before the “great earthquake,” which is clear from the context of the next two chapters. Babylon represents something that God hates. In chapter 17 it’s phony religion. In 18 it’s the love of money and the power of wealth, which has corrupted many, especially in America..
(1) The Mother of Harlots
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Rev. 17:1-5).
In Revelation 17 and 18, ancient Babylon is used to represent two cities. Many believe the city in this chapter is the head of an apostate religion that has and will kill many believers. Verse 6 tells us, “And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement” (NKJV).
Because of its distorted teachings and practices, gaudiness, persecutions, and blatant hypocrisy down through the years, many have identified “the great whore” of Revelation 17 with the Roman Catholic Church. The city of Rome was built on seven hills and ruled over the world in John’s day. John was told, “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. . . . And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (verses 9,18).
Even today Rome is called, “The City of Seven Hills.”
The aftermath of a nuclear war and major natural disasters would certainly leave the world like troubled “waters,” which it seems “the great whore” will try to control (verse 1). There’s nothing quite so distasteful as religious fakes and crooked politicians, especially when they get together. During the tribulation, as in the pass, the leaders and “the inhabitants of the earth” will commit “fornication” with the “whore” (verse 2).
Many believe the Roman Catholic Church will at first “sit upon” or control the Antichrist and the ten leaders of Revived Rome. John was told, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Rev. 17:12-13).
When the ten leaders of the confederacy receive authority to rule their nation, they will all agree to give it to the Antichrist. Verse 14 says they will wage a war of persecution against the “chosen, and faithful.” Not only will they be against the true Christians, they will hate the false religious leaders who are trying to rule over the state and its troubles, symbolized as restless waters.
John was told, “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:15-18).
At first it seems the apostate religion will be the stronger influence, and the big “ten” and the Antichrist will have to co-operate. Then they will turn on the religious frauds and may destroy their headquarters “with fire.” If Revelation 17 is speaking of Rome, depending of the size of the nuclear weapon, they could destroy the whole city or just Vatican City. I’m inclined to think the Lord is going to use the Antichrist to destroy the whole city with all the religious leaders, and the Lord Himself will take care of “the beast” when He returns.
The Antichrist may finish what Nero started. If Rome is destroyed, the Antichrist may move to ancient Babylon where Satan tried to set up his first kingdom through Nimrod.
(2) The Mystery of the Beast
And the angel said unto me, Why didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition . . . (Rev. 17:7-8a).
There have been many novels about intriguing mysteries, but it has been said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The mystery of the beast is one of those strange truths. Some believe Judas will be resurrected and play the role of the Antichrist during the tribulation. I believe he may be a reincarnation of Judas.
Judas and John were together with Christ, so the phrase, “the beast that thou sawest,” may be referring to that time. The phrase, “and is not,” may be a reference to Judas being dead at the time John received the vision of Revelation. The phrase, “and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition,” could mean that God has allowed the spirit of Judas to be brought out of hell, only to return when Satan is finished with him. When he was finished with him at the cross, he drove him to suicide.
The “bottomless pit” and “perdition” are terms used for hell. In a sense Satan may now have a son—the son of perdition. Jesus used this term for Judas, and Paul used it for the “man of sin.”c At the right time Satan will reveal his son. “And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev. 17:8b).
There are many variations of reincarnation. Those who believe in it generally believe that the spirit keeps returning in another body and sooner or later it is purified and winds up in a state and place called nirvana (eternal peace). Reincarnation is just one of many old falsehoods of the New Age religion.
I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I do believe the Antichrist could be a reincarnation of Judas. If this is true, it would prove the opposite of reincarnation. He didn’t find peace and contentment; he didn’t get any better, and he has the same spirit he had before the world began—an evil one. This would also show that God has given Judas every chance to change and be saved. Some people will never change!
The Lord picked a “familiar friend,”d Judas, to be an apostle. Judas walked, talked, and heard the gospel from the mouth of God Himself. He may have even heard Him again when Jesus “went and preached to the spirits in prison”e and again during this century in another body. He will hear it again on the last day, only to reject it again.
In the Bible, mountains can represent kings and kingdoms. Satan was the power behind the throne in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. He will head the seventh and final one at Revived Rome. “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the women sitteth” (Rev. 17:9).
Each of the past six world empires produced one that Satan used to try and eliminate the people of God. Egypt had its Pharaoh, Assyria had Sennacherib, Babylon had Nebuchadnezzar, Medo-Persia had Darius, Greece had Antiochus, and Rome had its Caesar of John’s day, Domitian.
John was told about seven kings, of which five had already fallen. The sixth was in his time, and a seventh was to come and rule a short time. “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (Rev. 17:10).
Judas, like Peter, James and John probably had grand dreams of ruling with Jesus when He conquered the Roman Empire. f He may get part of his wish and be the seventh king and will rule from Rome for a “short” time before he dies. It seems the Antichrist will be killed and rise again, but not in very good condition. Zechariah 11:17 says, “Wow to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye; his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.”
During World War II Moshe Dayan was wounded in the hand and eye. His fingers were paralyzed and he lost the eye. He became famous after he led Israel to victory in the 1967 Six Day War, and the black patch over his eye made him stand out even more. Some wondered whether he might be the Antichrist. But it was the wrong eye.
(3) Who Is The Eighth King?
Most premillennialists have had no problem identifying the seventh king as the Antichrist, but in verse 11 John was told of an eight king, and he would also go to hell. “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”
Each of the past six empires had a king used by Satan. It seems the seventh and eighth king will use the same body. I believe the seventh king may be a reincarnation of Judas, but the eighth will be Satan himself. Judas will be killed and his spirit will go “into perdition” (be returned to hell). Satan will inhabit his body and raise it to life. When the Lord returns, He will destroy his body, and his spirit will go “into perdition” for 1000 years.
Hitler was burned to ashes, and the same fate awaits the Antichrist. Daniel 7:11 says, “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” The Lord says, “I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee” (Ezek. 28:18).
Lucifer may have once ruled the earth in his angelic body and led a rebellion against the Lord. He will invade heaven again only to be kicked out again.g He will rule the earth for 42 months, in a human body, and then be sent to hell. The Lord says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer. . . . Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who did shake kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness, and destroyed its cities, who opened not the house of his prisoners?” (See Isa. 14:12-17.)
Jesus came from heaven and was rejected. The Antichrist may have come from hell and will be accepted. Jesus died and returned to heaven. The Antichrist will die and return to hell. Jesus’ body was raised by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Antichrist’s body will be raised by the power of the Evil Spirit. It will no longer be Satan controlling another person. It will be Satan himself—in the flesh. He will imitate the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.
The disciples read all about God in the Old Testament, but it was hard for them to visualize exactly what He was like. Little did they realize, until later, that they had been walking and talking with God Himself, the very One who created them. So it is with Satan. We can read about him, but many do not seem to understand his nature. After the body of the Antichrist is inhabited by Satan, then the world can see his ways in person. Adolf Hitler was just a preview of what he will be like.
The Bible makes many interesting statements about Lucifer’s former and future role on earth. If the Antichrist takes up residence in ancient Tyre and winds up ruling from ancient Babylon, this would certainly clarify Ezekiel 28:1-19, and Isaiah 14:1-23.
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen (Rev. 18:1-2).
God said He would “destroy the whole land” of Babylon. The city would be as “Sodom and Gomorrah,” never to be “inhabited” or seen again. It would be “covered” with the “waves” of the “sea.” This was prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah, but it has never been completely fulfilled. Medo-Persia conquered Babylon and fulfilled some verses, but it wasn’t totally destroyed. But it will be and Revelation 18 describes its destruction, possibly at the beginning and end of the tribulation. Perhaps this is why “fallen” is used twice. This whole time could be describes as “the day of the Lord.” (See Isaiah 13, 14, 47, and Jeremiah 50, 51.)
A number of verses in Revelation 18 are taken from Isaiah and Jeremiah. In the 60s, S. Franklin Logsdon wrote a book, entitled, Is the U.S.A. in Prophecy? He believed Revelation 18 might be referring to America and said, “If Jerusalem is given such an unbelievable descriptive appellation as Sodom [Rev. 11:8], it should not surprise us to discover a strange proper noun [as Babylon] to describe the U.S.A. in prophecy.”30
The Babylon of the West
The first “fallen” of Revelation 18 may refer to an end time wealthy nation—the United States, and God has singled out a certain city that would characterize this nation—New York City. It’s interesting that the Brooklyn Bridge is called the Bridge to Babylon and there is even a city called Babylon which is a suburb of New York. Another interesting point: Like ancient Babylon, New York is filled with Jews. The first Babylon was known for building its tower to heaven. New York is famous for its towering skyscrapers. Two of these have already fallen.
God confused the language and scattered the people at the first Babylon. The United States has reunited the races and we have a common language, but most are still confused. The United Nations, located in New York City, is a prime example of united confusion, which began in ancient Babylon.
Revelation 18:3 tells us of the deceitful dealings and immorality between the nation of this chapter and the other nations, and how the businessmen of the world have been made rich by the abundance of her wealth. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
Verses 4 and 5 give a warning to leave the great city before it is judged. John says, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
These verses may be referring to Christians and Jews. About half of the total Jewish population of the world lives in America. About three million live in the vicinity of New York City itself.
God has blessed America above all nations, but He gets very little of the credit. Instead of being thankful, America is full of pride. She has spent billions on defense and feels secure. “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (verses 7, 8).
The Manhattan Project may come back to plague Manhattan, the heart of the city.
The leaders and the merchants of the earth will not rejoice over the fall, for the nation will not be able to buy their goods any more. No doubt they will view the smoke of her burning from far away places on TV, like we did when the Twin Towers fell. “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more” (verses 9, 11).
America still has many good qualities. But we now have a moral minority, and it’s getting worse. About the only thing we have done half way right in recent years is address some environmental problems and treat African Americans as equals, which we brought over here as “slaves.”
Verse 14 tells us that the things the nation lusts after will be taken away. “And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shall find them no more at all.”
It was not too many years ago that some verses in Revelation 18 didn’t fit America. We were rich but we imported very little compared to now, and we owned most companies overseas rather than being owned by them. We now buy billions more in merchandise than we sell, and foreign nations have invested much in this country. When their investment goes up in smoke and America is no longer around to buy their goods, they will be made sad. Verse 15 says, “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing.”
Not only is New York City thought of as the world’s financial capital, it has the world’s most famous seaport. When the city is destroyed the world’s shipping industry will suffer a great loss. Verses 16-18 describe the swiftness of destruction and sailors on ships looking at the smoke from the burning city, saying, “Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city.”
If Babylon is America the Word of God will no longer be heard, but neither will the sounds of our music and craft industries. Verse 22 says, “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee.”
The number “fifty” stands for liberty. America has 50 states and is known for liberty. The Statue of Liberty in NYC could now be used to symbolize America’s abuse of liberty and license to sin. We approve of immoral leaders with no integrity or character, as long as the economy is good, and idolize Hollywood hypocrites. We call wrong right and right wrong. If we are not No. 1, we are probably in the top ten in such things as lying, greed, false pride, phony religion, witchcraft, astrology, crime, violence, sensuality, pornography, homosexuality, filthy music, filthy movies, filthy conversation, drugs, drunkenness, adultery, divorce, abortion, etc. We are also turning against Christianity, and Israel.
America has helped Israel and immigrant Jews in the past. I believe this is one reason God has blessed America. In Genesis 12:3, the Lord told Abraham, the father of the Jews, “I will bless them that bless thee.” But in the other half of the verse, He says, “[I will] curse him that curseth thee.” America as a nation has never persecuted and killed Jews or Christians, but this could change overnight. “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. 18:24).
(1) A White Horse
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dripped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:11-16).
Before the days of TV, my friends and I always went to the movies on Saturday (for 10 cents). We would watch Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and our other heroes defeat the bad guys. It was the same thing every week. But we loved it; for we knew the man on the leading horse would conquer the evil one in the end, and we would all cheer. Of course in this life it’s not always like that, but it will be at the return of Christ—for God has written the script. We could compare the Bible to reading tomorrow’s sports page and seeing that our team has won the game of the century, which we are presently watching today. We can relax and enjoy the predetermined victory.
In Revelation 6:2 we have a false peace, symbolized as a man riding on a white horse. But his peace will result in war. The rider on the white horse in this chapter is none other than the true Prince of Peace—the Lord Himself returning to earth.
At the Battle of Armageddon the Antichrist and the False Prophet will actually try and stop the Lord from taking over the kingdoms of this earth, but the Lord will be victorious. John says, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:19-20).
Many quote Acts 1:7 out of context. Jesus said it was not for the disciples of that time “to know” the general time He would restore the kingdom to Israel. He didn’t say it wasn’t for us to know. Daniel also asked about these things, and he was told: “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end . . . and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise will understand” (Daniel 12:9-10).
You would think with all the Bible has to say about Christ’s return this would be a well taught subject. Yet it is hardly whispered in many churches, and when it is spoken about, many times it is done in a derogatory way. Peter rightly said, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Peter said there would be those who would scoff at the thought of Christ returning back to earth; but many will claim that He has already come, and some will even claim to be Christ.
(2) False Prophets and Phony Christs
If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told your before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matt. 24:23-27).
There have been many false prophets and false Christs, and the closer we get to His return, the more there will be. Some will make the news; others will not be heard of outside of their small following. The die-hard followers of false religious leaders are under demonic influence. The extent to which some will go has been vividly demonstrated in recent years. Jim Jones and David Koresh are just two examples.
(3) Where Will Christ Return?
When the Lord returned to heaven, He left from the Mount of Olives. Two angels told those who witnessed this event, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Zechariah says, “WATCH, FOR THE day of the Lord is coming soon! On that day the Lord will gather together the nations to fight Jerusalem; the city will be taken, the houses rifled, the loot divided, the women raped, half of the population will be taken away as slaves, and half will be left in what remains of the city. Then the Lord will go out fully armed for war, to fight against those nations. That day his feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will split apart” (Zech. 14:1-4, TLB).
The city of Jerusalem is in an earthquake prone area. An oil company doing seismic studies discovered a gigantic fault that runs east and west precisely through the center of the Mount of Olives. It is said this fault is severe enough that it could split at any time. Hal Lindsey says, It is awaiting the “foot!”
The Mount of Olives is just east of the old temple site. This is the mount that Jesus descended from on Palm Sunday during His triumphal entry. The crowd shouted, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). Jesus will have a real Triumphal Entry when He returns. He may even come through the Eastern Gate, which has been sealed for years.
(4) When Will Christ Return?
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only (Matt. 24:36).
The Lord said no one knew the exact day or hour the Father would send Him back to earth, but He also said there would be a certain generation that would see certain signs, and by seeing these signs we could know His return was very near. He said, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt. 24:32-34).
We have not seen “all these things” Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24, but I believe we are seeing the fig tree blooming.
The fig tree has long since been a historic symbol for the nation of Israel. Jesus told a parable about a fig tree which did not bear fruit, and the owner said, “Cut it down.” But the keeper of the vineyard asked him to give it another chance.h Shortly before the cross, Jesus went to a fig tree. The leaves had sprouted, but there was no fruit, for it was not “time.” He spoke to the fig tree and it died.iThe reason He did this: The time was not right for Israel to bear fruit, and they were scattered into the nations. That generation died in unbelief.
Many believe the budding of the leaves in the parable of Matthew 24:32-34 represents the return of the Jews back to their land and the rebirth of their nation, and since we are the generation to see this, we will be the generation to see the return of Christ. The leaves have sprouted, but there is still no fruit.
You may ask, How long is the generation Jesus spoke of and when did it start? I don’t know. Some believed the generation might be forty years and began in 1948. Others suggest 1967. Anisth Shorrosh, the Christian Arab, who was born in Nazareth and had to flee his home in 1948, suggests the generation might be 50 years.31
The generation may not have a specific length of time. It may simply be the “generation” which sees “all” the “things” related to the Lord’s return mentioned in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
Down through the years many have dogmatically claimed to know the day Christ would return. It is one thing to suspect that the Lord might come about a certain time, but it is something else to start naming the day, or even the year at this present time. The tribulation saints should be able to know the year and even possibly the month, but I don’t believe even they will be able to pinpoint the hour or day with any absolute certainty.
Many of the early Christians believed Jesus would return any day. He did not come, but they hoped He would.
Billy Graham, commenting on the return, says, “From one end to the other, the Bible teaches that our present epoch will end with God’s judgment and the return of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom. This does not mean the end of the world. It means the end of this age, the end of the domination of evil.”32
Scripture References [a] Matt. 24:8, [b] Matthew 24:15-16, [c] See John 17:12, 2 Thess. 2:3, [d] Psalm 41:9, [e] 1 Peter 3:19, [f] Matthew 20:20-21, [g] Rev. 12, [h] Luke 13:6-9, [j] Mark 11:13-14,20.
Home Page -Table of Contents -Top of Page -Next Chapter