Monday, July 17, 2017

Preacher Andrew Alan Buhman's Systematic Theology, Chapter 30: Eschatology, Part 4

The above image is from Clarence Larkin's book, The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in the World, which is in the possession of the author. The text below is the work of the author. Any unauthorized reproduction either in part or in whole is prohibited without the expressed, written consent of the author.

The Seven Vial Judgments

         The seven last plagues, or, seven vial judgments, come straight out of the Temple of God in heaven (Revelation 15). These are the most severe judgments yet, probably happening immediately after the trumpet judgments. Again, this demonstrates that the tribulation period is a time of judgment, and therefore has nothing to do with the church. The church will not go through a period of judgment, for Christ has already been judged for the sins of the saints in the church when He was on the cross, and therefore the church is saved from judgment in the rapture.

The First Vial – Noisome and grievous sores

            “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,” (Revelation 16:1, 2).
            The first vial judgment brings a certain skin disease upon all who have been delighting in the worship of the beast and have had his mark placed on their forehead and hand. I am saddened when I see some poor deceived soul today who has gotten a tattoo reading “666” on his head, hand, or arm. Seldom does the author see someone like this, but he has witnessed it before. These are people who are deceived into thinking this blasphemy is a great way to rebel against God. These people would do well to consider if they would like the plagues that come along with such a mark in the end times.

The Second Vial – The death of the sea

            “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,” (v. 3). Before, God had destroyed a third of the creatures in the sea. Now, He kills everything and everybody in the oceans and seas of the world. He is pulling out all the stops now!

The Third Vial – The death of the rivers

            “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 art 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,” (vv. 4-7).
            Now God takes away life from the rivers and fountains of waters in the whole earth. They become blood because they shed the blood of His people. Is not God’s vengeance for His own severe? Lest we should think God is being too severe, we are told in verse 7 that whatever God does is true and righteous, even His judgments.

The Fourth Vial – Scorching heat

            “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,” (vv. 8, 9).
            Before God took away light. Now, He magnifies the power of the sun to actually make men combust and be severely burned! These judgments do not cause the men to repent. They are not designed to cause them to repent. Remember, these men have already been given a strong delusion (II Thessalonians 2:11) to believe a lie, and there is now no turning back. All they can do is blaspheme and refuse to repent.

The Fifth Vial – Darkness

            “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, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds,” (vv. 10, 11). Having destroyed men with light, God now makes them cower in darkness. It is amazing what pitch black will do to a man’s mind.
            This author was once taken deep into a cave in Sweetwater, Tennessee. The cave was amazing containing graffiti dating back to the civil war, as well as remnants of moonshine stills from the days of prohibition. The guide took the tour group, along with the author, into a portion of the cave where they then proceeded to turn out the lights to show us what total darkness was like.
            It was eerie! Imagine days upon days of not being able to see your hand in front of your face! Probably lanterns and flashlights will do nothing to alleviate this darkness, and so men will begin to go mad and even gnaw on their tongues. Yet again, they will not repent, but will go on in pain and misery rather than turn to God.

The Sixth Vial – Preparation for Armageddon

            “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,” (vv. 12-16).
            Now God dries up the Euphrates river to make way for the kings of the east, an apparent army of Kings who are to unite with other armies for a rebellion against the forces of Antichrist (we will examine this further later in the chapter). The Euphrates is a large river, so this will be no small task! Meanwhile, Satan sends three demons throughout the world to gather his forces to combat this coalition. These forces will meet together at Armageddon, or Megiddo, which is an actual location not far Southeast of Nazareth.

The Seventh Vial – Voices, thunders, lightning, earthquake, and hail

            “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 his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 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,” (vv. 17-21).
            This final judgment is of course the most cataclysmic of the judgments yet. There are apparently lightning storms over the whole earth, and another great worldwide earthquake. This earthquake will divide Jerusalem into three parts and will also signal the beginning of the end for the city of Babylon. Massive hailstones will fall upon unsuspecting men, causing those who live to blaspheme God yet more and more. It will be a time of horror and confusion like the world has never seen before!

The Aftermath of the Judgments

            Evangelist Bob Sheldon writes, “If there were only those two judgments (fourth seal and sixth trumpet), we could conclude that 50 percent of all the people on earth will die. But we cannot stop the death count with just two judgments…it seems from the slaughter of the northern confederacy (Ezekiel 38) through the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19) that at least two-thirds of all the inhabitants of the earth will die.”[1]


            Up until the mid-point of the Tribulation, Antichrist will have free reign over the earth, demanding tribute of every single person and destroying any who refuse. “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain,” (Daniel 11:36-39). At this juncture, however, there will be a rebel effort that will have some success: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over,” (v. 40).
            These directions are probably in relation to Israel, since the Bible, and especially Daniel, is an Israel-centric book. The King of the South would then reference Egypt. As Antichrist deals with Egypt’s rebellion, “…tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him,” (v. 44a). This may refer to Russia, which would then be joining the rebellion with Egypt.
            Now there is a full-scale civil-war of worldwide proportions! Antichrist’s loyalist include the revived Roman Empire, and all other European nations. They will stand against Russia, Egypt, and a federation of far Eastern nations (The kings of the East mentioned in Revelation 16:12).
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
            Satan’s actual purpose for bringing these forces together will not be to fight a civil war, but rather to bring these armies together to combat Christ’s second coming, which he knows will happen. When Christ appears, they will unite together to oppose Him!
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 dipped 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. Revelation 19:11-16
            Here is the final showdown between Christ and the nations! Proud men will actually believe that they can prevail against God! Much will be happening in Israel at this time, but God will protect them.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. Zechariah 14:1-5
            Antichrist’s forces will be completely destroying Israel and wreaking havoc on the inhabitants, probably because the Jews will have concluded that Antichrist is not their Messiah. Now Christ will come to defend His people Israel! When He lands on the Mount of Olives, in the exact same spot where He ascended (Acts 1:11), the mountain will split in half with a mighty earthquake, and provide a place of shelter for the Jews to hide.
            Now, Jesus Christ declares, “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn,” (Zechariah 12:10). Israel now is brought to repentance as a nation and is therefore saved, for salvation is never without repentance either corporately or individually.
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,” (Zechariah 13:6. Can you think how touching of a scene this will be when Christ demonstrates to His people that He died for them? Now He will go out and destroy their enemies for them!
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 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. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:17-21
Christ is described as having a sharp sword proceeding from His mouth. Since He is the Living Word who spoke the world into existence, He also has the power to speak individuals out of existence. This is precisely what is meant by a sharp sword proceeding from His mouth. He merely has to say the word, and his enemies will fall down dead before Him without firing a shot (Apparently in a very bloody death, according to Revelation 14:20, which gives another account of the battle). All that will be left is for God’s cleanup crew, the birds, to come and eat their flesh (Matthew 24:28).
Totally victory for Christ. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be captured as prisoners of war and thrown into the Lake of Fire. Total victory and total justice! Finally for the believers, it will be total peace!

The Millennium

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and 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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6
Satan will also be captured as a prisoner of war, but he will be thrown into the bottomless pit. Now he may no longer deceive the nations, and Jesus Christ Himself will preside as King over all the Earth! The author becomes so sick of present-day politicians and rulers making the stupidest policy in recent history and claiming it is good when it is plainly evil or simply ineffective. How wonderful it will be to have every ruling from a righteous ruler be just that: A righteous ruling. Every law made will benefit man. Every trouble will be taken away. Man will be free to live as he ought: as a Christ-glorifying subject.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this,” (Isaiah 9:7). Jesus Christ will sit upon the Throne of David and reign for One Thousand Years! The Angel Gabriel’s prophecy shall be fulfilled: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David,” (Luke 1:32).
Old Testament Saints, along with the raptured church, will live on earth in glorified bodies, as will those Tribulation Saints who died during the Trubilation. They will have come with Christ riding on white horses when they came to the battle of Armageddon. Now they live upon the earth during the Millennial Kingdom.
Alongside them will be those who survived the Tribulation. They will not have glorified bodies yet, but shall still abide in their mortal bodies. This includes both Jew and Gentile survivors.
Jewish Survivors
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matthew 25:1-13
We have here a description of the believing Jews in the Tribulation. The believing Jews enter the Kingdom of Heaven still in their mortal bodies, and are separated from the unbelieving Jews, whom God will judge. He says to Israel, “and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord,” (Ezekiel 20:38).
Gentile Survivors
            Jesus Christ judged the nation of Israel and separated the wise and unwise virgins. He will also separate the Gentile nations and shall separate the sheep from the goats.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:31-46
Those Gentile survivors saved during the Tribulation period will be designated as sheep, and will enter into the Millennial Kingdom in their mortal with the believing Jewish survivors. These were saved through the witness of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, and they gave them refreshment and lodging, sheltering them from the long reach of Antichrist. Jesus Christ says now that He saw those actions and counted them as action done for Him.
Those who refused the Gospel message of the 144,000 and did nothing for the Jewish witnesses are told that Christ sees it as being done to Him, and therefore they are taken away into hell. Therefore, at the beginning to the Millennium (which is the beginning of a new dispensation), all people upon earth will truly be believers. There will be believers in mortal bodies living side by side with believers who have glorified bodies. “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” (Isaiah 2:4).

When Christ’s Kingdom Comes

            When the Kingdom is restored, many of the original Edenic conditions of earth shall be restored as well. Isaiah 11:6-9 states, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed;
their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” This suggests to us that dangerous animals shall once again eat vegetation and not meat. They will be harmless and will have the fear of man removed from them so that they can come right in among men and dwell among them.

Unbelief in the Millennium

            Although the Millennium begins with only believers in Christ, those in their mortal bodies shall have children who will have sin natures and the need to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation just like everyone else. Even with Satan banished, the human heart will still be as corrupt then as it is now (Jeremiah 17:9), and there will be many who will simply reject Jesus Christ. “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed,” (Isaiah 65:20).
            Those believers who die shall immediately have a glorified body, but sinners who refuse to believe will live a normal life, die, and go to hell. Yet they shall also multiply, and those unbelievers will apparently separate themselves into the farthest reaches of the earth, as far from Jerusalem (Where Christ will be reigning) as possible, for at the end of the Millennium, Satan will draw a rebellious army from the four corners of the earth (Revelation 20:8).

The Last Rebellion

            And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10
            Scripture does not give us a reason as to why the wicked one is released after one thousand years. However, it does seem to be Jehovah’s way of dealing finally with the problem of sin. God must bring judgment upon the unbelief that has crept up in His Kingdom, and He uses the wicked one to bring about such judgment.
            Satan gathers the rebellious host together that has been living in unbelief and rebellion against the existing Theocracy, and there is a battle outside of Jerusalem that will probably go very much like Armageddon. Christ will emerge victorious and Satan will then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

The Great White Throne of Judgment

            And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15
            Here is the judgment of every person who has not trusted Jesus Christ as their Saviour throughout all ages. Now the dead are judged according to their works out of the book of life. It will be finally proved in the courtroom of Jesus Christ the judge, that good works cannot possibly save anyone! All who are judged by their works will be found guilty.
            Death and hell are then going to be done away with by being cast into the lake of fire. And anyone who is not written in the Lamb’s book of life will also be thrown into that same lake of fire. Anyone not having their names written down in Eternity Past will find that their own good works were not sufficient to pay for their sins, and that they should never have reject Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation. Here we can see once again the balance of God’s Sovereignty and man’s free will.
            Dear reader, if you are reading this now, and you have never trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, please understand something. If you die rejecting Jesus Christ, you are going to be in this number that suffers judgment. The author would strongly urge the leader to call upon Jesus Christ now, and be saved before it is too late. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Romans 10:13).
            This is the final mention of death in the Bible. Revelation 21 and 22 tell of the new heavens and new earth and the perfect world without any sin. Finally, things will be restored exactly as they were in Eden.

The Renovated Heaven and Earth

            Notice in Revelation 20:11, heaven and earth fled away from the Lord. What happened to them? According to II Peter 2:10-13, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
            So we see that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Really, it is the same heaven and earth, but they will be fully renovated by fire. This is why Revelation 21:1 states, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” So begins a perfect age without any sin or death.

The Heavenly Jerusalem

            “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” (v. 2).
            Dr. J. Vernon McGee states in his commentary on Revelation, “I believe the the New Jerusalem is where those of us who are children of God are going to live. When you talk about going to heaven, what do you think about it? To most people, it is just a “beautiful isle of somewhere.” However, it is a definite place. It is a city called the New Jerusalem. It is a planet within itself. Very candidly, very little is said in Scripture about heaven—but here it is, and that is the reason this ought to be important to us.”[2]
            This is about as accurate of a commentary on this verse the author can find. New Jerusalem is the place where the church will dwell. Revelation 21:15-21 beautifully describe this wonderful place:
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb isthe light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
            At this time, God will dwell among His people (Revelation 21:2). There will be no night there, and there will be no sun or moon anymore (Revelation 22:5) because Jesus Christ will be the light in that glorious place.

The Earthly Jerusalem

            Of the earthly Jerusalem, Pettingill states, “The present city has never exceeded four or five miles in circumference. The Temple of the Millennium city will be a mile wide square. The city will occupy a plain including the site of old Jerusalem and much more, which will be prepared for it by a great earthquake when the Lord’s feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives at His coming to take His great power and reign.”[3] Such a description is given in Ezekiel 40-48.
            God says of Israel, “I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all,” (Ezekiel 37:22). Who will this King be? “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever,” (vv. 24, 25).
            In the Heavenly Jerusalem, Jesus Christ will reign as King of Kings. In the Earthly Jerusalem, David will reign as Prince regent over the earth. The Edenic paradise will be restored, complete with the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:2). This is the happiest of happy endings for the people of God, and a wonderful way to end this Systematic Theology.

[1] Sheldon, Bob, God’s Prophetic Blueprint, p. 76. Greenville, SC: BJU press, 2000.
[2] McGee, J. Vernon, Revelaion chapters 14-22, p. 164. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.
[3] Pettingill, p. 119

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Preacher Andrew Alan Buhman's Systematic Theology, Chapter 30: Eschatology, Part 3

The chart above is from Clarence Larkin's book The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in The World, which is in the possession of the author. The work below is that of the author. Any unauthorized reproduction in part or in whole without the expressed, written consent of the author is prohibited.
          Although in popular movies and literature, this author does not see the mark of the beast as a microchip implanted beneath the skin. While this may be the case, the Bible treats the mark as just that – a mark ­– not a microchip. In fact, there does not seem to be any mention of technological advances in eschatological literature. It is as if technology has taken a step backward in the end times. We read of horses and swords, and we are given no reason not to take this literally. Of futuristic machines we find no mention at all.

The Battle of Northern Aggression

            Ezekiel 38 is a chapter of Scripture that uses unique language to indicate that it is speaking of future events (v. 8 speaks of the latter years, for example). In verses 1-4, we read:
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, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
These verses mention the names of lands that seem to not exist anywhere upon first glance. They would not have any meaning at all if we did not relate them to end times. Yet notice in Genesis 10:1, 2 how the children of Noah spread out after the flood: “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
Ezekiel 38, then, speaks of the descendants of Japheth, who spread themselves northward and became the progenitors of the modern country of Russia.[1],[2] Ezekiel 39:1-5 prophesies of the future battle when Russia will come against Israel:
Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, 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 leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
Russia will create a confederacy with Persia, Ethiopia, and Lybia (Ezekiel 38:5, 6) and will attempt to attack Israel. This is portrayed in the popular Left Behind novels as taking place immediately in the sequence of end times events using airplanes stuck from the sky by fiery hail. It looks really cool, but no airplanes are mentioned in Scripture.
It would be better to place this event during the period after Antichrist has signed a peace treaty with Israel, for in Ezekiel 38:11, we read of Israel as a “land of unwalled villages.” Israel is anything but a peaceful land of unwalled villages today!
In verse 12, we read that this Northern coalition of forces attack “ to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” It appears that the attack is merely for the purpose of taking material possessions from Israel. This is not uncharacteristic of Russia, which has done the same to Crimea and the country of Georgia.
The result of this battle is that God defends His people Israel, even though at the time they are still in unbelief, trusting in Antichrist as their Messiah. VV. 18, 19 of Ezekiel 38 state, “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;” God will send an earthquake of judgment upon the armies as they enter Israel. It will be so great that “every man’s sword shall be against his brother,” (v. 21b). Great confusion will cause friendly fire to kill much of the aggressors. To finish off the remaining forces, God says He will intervene with a plague of fiery hailstones, “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone,” (v. 22).
Although Israel is defenseless at this time, Jehovah will defend them and completely break the advancing armies. “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord,” (v. 22). This event will shake the Israeli confidence in their false Messiah, and this false Messiah will betray them soon after.

144,000 Jewish Evangelists and the Salvation of Israel

This attack from the North fulfills the prophecy of Revelation 6:4 of the rider on the red horse of war. During this time, God will seal his 144,000 servants in their forehead (Revelation 7:3), and they will evangelize the world. Everyone who has not heard the Gospel previous to the rapture (II Thessalonians 2:10-13) will be eligible to turn to Christ and be saved. These will be the tribulation saints, many of whom Antichrist will hunt down and kill for they appear in heaven in Revelation 7:11-17

The Jewish Evangelists

The 144,000 witnesses are obviously chosen out of Isreal, for we read, “Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand,” (vv. 5-8).

The Tribulation Saints

That those who are evangelized of them are the ones who appear in heaven is evident, for they appear immediately, and this meaning is then in context with the chapter. Some, such as Stephen Anderson, try to make a case for a mid-tribulation rapture by saying this is a group who suddenly appears in heaven, but the chapter itself makes it clear that this is not the case. The church is not mentioned, here, but rather those who have just been saved: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” (v. 14). The angel does not tell John this is the church, but rather that these are tribulation saints. Let us make sure to draw the same distinction!

The Two Witnesses

            It is during this chronology of events that God states “I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth,” (Revlation 11:3). They will prophesy for about half of the tribulation period. They will only survive for this period of time because “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,” (v. 5).
            Scholars are divided as to who these witnesses are. Many, such as LaHaye, seem to feel they are Elijah and Moses, since the miracles they bring upon the earth are the same as these men perform: “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,” (v. 6).
            Others, such as Pettingill (The unveiling of Jesus Christ, p. 38) seem to feel these witnesses will probably be Enoch and Elijah. The author agrees with this second conclusion merely because both men are still alive in heaven. Neither man died. Enoch was translated into heaven (Hebrews 11:3) as a definite sign of the rapture to come, and Elijah was taken into heaven by a fiery chariot (II Kings 2:11, 12). Yet, the Bible teaches “it is appointed unto men once to die,” (Hebrews 9:27), therefore these two men should be given their turn as well. So we read of them:
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 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 an 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. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:8-13

The Salvation of Israel

These events, combined with the witness of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, will do what no one in the last 2,000 years has been able to do. They will convince the nation of Israel as a whole that they have been deceived, that Antichrist is not their Messiah, and that Jesus Christ has been their Messiah all along. So, Romans 11:26 will finally be fulfilled, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
Another reason that the Jews will begin to understand that they have been deceived is that Antichrist will begin to do things uncharacteristic of a true Messiah. To begin the great Tribulation, “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week [The midpoint of the tribulation, beginning the Great Tribulation] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate,” (Daniel 9:27).
Antichrist is hear breaching the contract he made with Israel at the beginning of the tribulation period. He rebuilt the temple and allowed the Old Testament sacrifices to resume, but now he abruptly puts an end to these sacrifices, setting up instead the abomination of desolation, “so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God,” (II Thessalonians 2:4). The image of the beast will be set in the holy of holies in the temple (Daniel 12:11, Revelation 13:14, 15), and all worship will be directed toward Antichrist through the image. The image will be able to speak, and will probably speak great blasphemies.
These events, Antichrist’s demand that all received the mark of the beast, will cause the Jews to understand that the real Messiah would not do these things. Because of the work of the evangelists and the witnesses, there will be a national turning to the true Messiah, Jesus Christ!
            There will still be unbelieving Jews, as we discover in Christ’s parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). However, the nation as a whole will believe upon Him, and unbelieving Jews will for the first time be in the minority. This will bring the wrath of Antichrist upon that nation, but we shall deal with that subject later.

Worldwide evangelism

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands,” (Revelation 7:9). Here we see the millions who are saved through the work of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. They appear in heaven because apparently soon after their conversion, they are “beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and…had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands,” (Revelation 20:4).
It appears that once a soul receives the mark of the beast he is damned already and cannot be saved. The faithful refuse the mark and are slaughtered, and yet this should be considered a great honour, for next they appear before Christ, worshipping Him.

The Seal Judgments

            The tribulation period is a time of judgment. These judgments are categorized in Revelation. In Revelation 6, we have the seven seal judgments, which coincide with the events that we have already been viewing in both Daniel and Revelation.

The first seal – a white horse

            “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,” (Revelation 6:1, 2)
            The rider upon the white horse is a representation of Antichrist. We can tell this because although he has a bow, he has no arrows. He goes forth, and conquers not with warfare, but with peace treaties. This is exactly how Antichrist will come to power. This is how Israel will mistake him as their Messiah and will sign a covenant with them. Remember, every seal is a seal of God’s judgment. This is His first judgment upon the world, and upon His people Israel.

The second seal – a red horse

            “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,” (vv. 3, 4). After this false peace come the warfare of the great tribulation, another event that will shake Israel and cause them to repent and turn to their True Messiah.

The third seal – a black horse

            “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,” (vv. 5, 6)
            After a worldwide war, you would expect worldwide famine, and this is a further judgment of God upon the earth. There will be millions starving to death with no remedy. Yet, it seems that the rich of earth will still be able to provide for themselves, for we see that the oil and wine are not hurt. These are luxury items that the wealthy still will be able to afford.

The fourth seal – the pale horse

            “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,”
            The word pale here, is translated from the Greek word chloros, from which we get our English word chlorine. The word denotes a pale green colour, like the colour of a sick person (The same word is used to indicate the colour of grass in Mark 6:39). Death sits upon this horse, and hell follows him. This would indicate that those who die in this famine go straight into hell fire. This is God’s severe judgment upon the inhabitants of the earth who have rejected His Son.

The Fifth Seal – Martyrdom of Tribulation Saints

“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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled,” (vv. 9-11).
            Here we have again those who have been converted by the witness of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. They will be hunted and killed by Antichrist and his forces. Though some interpret this to be the souls of martyrs killed throughout the centuries, the context would seem to indicate that these are tribulation martyrs, appealing to Christ that He will avenge their blood. They are given the blessed assurance that they shall be avenged in His time.

The sixth seal – earthquakes and meteor showers

            “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. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (vv. 12-17).
            The sixth seal judgment is the most severe yet. There will be an earthquake that will make the 1906 San Francisco earthquake seem like the rumble of a truck on the road by comparison. Apparently, this earthquake will be world-wide, so that no one will be able to escape from it. It will cause great chaos and death.
            Concurrent with the earthquake will be some type of meteor shower, although if we follow the literal language of the Bible, it will not be meteors but actual stars. This author is unsure if the idea of actual stars falling from heaven is to be taken literally or if it is said in a figurative sense since the readers of that day might not understand so much the concept of a meteorite. Stars raining down from heaven is a great literative construct to promote such a concept. Either way, it will cause great destruction and death.
            At this point, it will become obvious to the world’s population that they are under divine judgment, and suddenly, class will be of little importance. No matter if a man is wealthy or a poor slave, if he is abiding in unbelief, he will desire that mountains fall on him and kill him rather than be alive and face the wrath of the Lamb of God.

The Seventh Seal – Silence in Heaven

            “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour,” (Revelation 8:1).
            Silence in heaven is completely atypical of heaven. Heaven is a place that is ringing with praise to the Lamb of God. This odd silence for such a prolonged period of time indicates that something great and dreadful is about to take place. Now we see that the prayers of the tribulation saints for vengeance is about to be fulfilled:
            “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound,” (vv. 2-6).
            Now God hears the prayers of these tribulation saints, pictured as incense before Christ’s throne. He will judge the world for its treatment of the Tribulation saints with seven more judgments more severe than the previous seven. These are the seven trumpet judgments.

The Trumpet Judgments

            Pettingill writes, “Trumpets are typical of convocation, and the judgment of the trumpets is preparatory to the regathering of Israel to their own land. The siege of Jericho, when the seven blasts upon seven trumpets by the seven priests after the sevenfold march about the city on the seventh day were followed by the destruction of the city, finds its antitype in the trumpet judgment of the Apocalypse. Jericho, the accursed city, is ever a type of this world abiding under the curse and wrath of God.”[3]

The First Trumpet – Hail and Fire

“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,” (v. 7) There is no reason not to take this verse literally. God will judge the earth like he did Egypt, with fiery hail mixed with blood. The author assumes this means it will bring a bloody end to many human beings. It will also destroy a third of the forests of earth, much to the sorrow of whatever is left of the nature lovers of earth. It will also burn of the grass of earth, which will cause a hardship for anyone who owns cattle and has any left.

The Second Trumpet – An Asteroid Crashes into the Ocean

            “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed,” (vv. 8, 9). A great mountain burning with fire falling from heaven is indicative of an asteroid. An asteroid crashing into earth would doubtless be a cataclysmic event, and in this case, it isn’t even your typical asteroid. It seems that this asteroid, by God’s design of judgment, can cause a third part of the oceans and seas of earth to turn into blood, and therefore can cause a third of the sea creatures to die.
            That would mean that dead sea animals would begin to wash up on the beaches of much of the earth’s coastline causing both amazing stench and airborne diseases beyond human control. When the reader thinks on the magnitude of this judgment, let it make him understand just how much God values his saints and hates the persecution and death of those His Son died for.

The Third Trumpet – Wormwood

            “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter,” (vv. 10, 11)
            Pettingill indicates that wormwood here is Satan cast to earth, but the author does not see this clearly stated in the text. This star falling from heaven is not to be taken as a mere asteroid as in the previous judgment. It does seem to be some demonic being that has power to harm the water. It would not be the first time God used a demonic being to accomplish His purpose (Job 2, I Kings 22:19-23).
Now a third of the waters of earth are not potable, and this will surely cause water to become all too precious of a commodity and many will die of thirst, while others fight and kill each other for a drink of water! We know the brute nature of man from the news reports we saw when Hurrican Katrina cut many off from the basic resources of food and water. There was rioting and looting, and people fighting over small amounts of food and water. Imagine this on a grander scale as the world begins to run out of water!

The Fourth Trumpet – Sun, moon, and stars darkened

            “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. 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!” (vv. 12, 13).
            Now to annoy and horrify those dwelling in unbelief, God takes away most of their light. Man naturally fears the night. Criminal activity is usually carried out under cover of night. People always want some type of light in dark places so they may see and so they may not fear what comes from darkness. This judgment will be a mental warfare carried out by God, and it will surely help to drive the inhabitants of earth toward madness.

The Fifth Trumpet – The demon locusts, Apollyon, and the First Woe

            Now begins the first of the three woe judgments, which are part of the Trumpet judgments. Revelation 8:13 announces this as the angel flying through heaven announces, “woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth.” As if God’s judgments were not sever enough already, He now ramps up the chaos and destruction with the following judgments.
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. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. Revelation 9:1-12
Here we see a demonic being that has been bound in the bottomless pit. The Bible tells us not how it was bound or for how long, but now it is unleashed upon what remains of the population of the world. Here again we see God using a demonic being to accomplish His purpose, for God can control sin without being tainted or corrupted by it. This demonic being is Apollyon and comes with its own army of locust-like creatures that are allowed to attack only those who are not sealed by the Spirit of God. Therefore unbelievers only are tormented by these creatures, but those tormented are not allowed to die. What terrible agony it must be to make one want to die to avoid it, and yet he is not able!

The Sixth Trumpet – The demon army and the second woe

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: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 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. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 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. VV 13-21
Now four more demons are unleashed which are apparently today bound within the river Euphrates. These come with their own armies as well so that they slay a third of the remaining population of earth. The armies ride upon beasts with heads of lions breathing fire and tails of serpents that can bite and kill men.
In the first woe, men were tormented so they wanted death and instead they remained alive. In the second woe, men were tormented to death who wanted to stay alive. Here is God’s judgment upon those who torment His people. His vengeance is greater than anything His children can devise!

The Seventh Trumpet – Satan cast out and the third woe

            “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. 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,” (Revelation 12:7-12).
            There is actually no trumpet mentioned in this passage. We must assume this is the final trumpet judgment as it is the pronouncement of the third woe, and the first and second woe were associated with the fifth and sixth trumpets. Since no trumpets are again mentioned in the rest of Scripture, it is safe to assume this is the seventh trumpet judgment.
            The judgment here is both against the dark one and his forces, and against the remaining inhabitants of earth. The devil is here defeated in battle by an offensive attack by the archangel Michael and his angelic troops. They defeat the demon forces and cast them to earth. Now the devil creates even more havoc upon earth because he knows he has very little time before he will be captured. He is like the villain in the end of a movie who is trapped a high rise with the police surrounding the building. He knows the jig is up, but he chooses to go out guns a blazin’ rather than be captured. This is the devil’s predicament, and so God uses him to bring even greater affliction upon the unbelievers on earth.

[1] According to Bill Cooper: “Magog: His immediate descendants were known as the Magogites, being later known to the Greeks as the Scythians, according to the testimony of Josephus. However, given the subsequent history of the peoples of Ashchenaz (see 3), who are far more certainly identified as the later Scythians (Gk. Skythai, and Assyr. Askuza), it is more likely that the early Magogites were assimilated into the peoples of Ashchenaz, thus making up merely a part of the Scythian hordes. The early Irish Celts traced their own lineage from Japheth through the line of Magog (see chapter 9 and Map 1). (Refs: 1DB 3:226. NBD 'Gog and Magog' 480-1 JA P 1:26)” From the Library of Lamber Dolphin,

[2] Tubal: The descendants of Tubal first come to our notice in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser I, king of Assyria in about 1100 BC. He refers to them as the Tabali whose original area of settlement (i.e. Tabal) was adjacent to that of Tegarama (see 5). Subsequently, Josephus recorded the name of Tubal's descendants as the Thobelites, who were later known as the Iberes. Their land, in Josephus' day, was called by the Romans Iberia, and covered what is now the (former Soviet) state of Georgia whose capital to this day bears the name Tubal as Tbilisi. From here, having crossed the Caucasus mountains, this people migrated due north-east, giving their tribal name to the river Tobol, and hence to the famous city of Tobolsk. (Refs: 1DB 4:717. NBD 'Meshech' 811. JA1. vi.1), Ibid.
[3] Pettingill, William L., The unveiling of Jesus Christ, p. 36. Findlay, Ohio: Fundamental Truth Publishers, 1939.