“The Seven Seals of the Lamb” (Part 6)
The Seventh Seal: (Revelation 8: 1-13; 9:1-21; 11:14-19)
The Sixth Trumpet: (9:13-21)
Today the major super powers it seems are heading for a military confrontation. China is expanding its empire into the South China Sea as well as into the South Pacific and it would also seem on an inevitable collision course with America. China has its sights on North Korea as we see the uncertainty surrounding the health of its dictator Kim Jong-un. If he dies China might well invade North Korea to ‘stabilize’ the country economically but also give China access to the Sea of Japan. Iran has just launched a military satellite into space showing their capacity to launch a missile with a nuclear warhead. Added to this we can see a conflict immerging in the Persian Gulf between Iranian gunboats and American ships. Then you have the situation in the Straits of Hormuz, the narrow waterway between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the route for much of the world’s oil via shipping.
Then there is the Middle-east conflict as we see the increasing ‘storm’ approaching from Israel’s immediate Islamic neighbours, namely Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria just over the Golan Heights backed by Iran. Also there are reports that Turkey has opened its doors to the Hamas leadership. While we see the development of wars and hear of rumours of war and nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom we must not be alarmed because these things are to happen and increase in frequency and intensity as we come nearer to the Second Coming of the Messiah.
In this seventh seal so far we have seen the first five trumpets with their accompanying bowls effect the earth, the sea, the drinking water and the constellations in the heavens. The fifth trumpet blown focuses on demonic fallen spirit beings released from the bottomless pit to work mayhem and to torment the people of the world for a period of 5 months. During this time these spirit beings will most likely prompt men to use biological weapons that will not kill straight away but incapacitate people on a global scale. As we see the effects of COVID-19 we can see what a virus released from a laboratory can do. Whatever causes this torment and anguish to men will be of a demonic nature.
By their wicked activities men will have invited these demonic creatures to invade the planet. Possibly there will be Nephilim produced once again and John is describing these ‘giants’ or ‘fallen ones.’ Through virtual reality technology and cloning these fallen spirit beings will somehow be able to gain entrance into human affairs and possibly even have sexual relations with women as they did in the time of Noah.
These spirit beings will ultimately raise up an army that will be like no other army that has ever existed in past history. This army will cause the death of a third of mankind. It is a demonically led army that will devastate the whole world. With biological and nuclear capability we can easily see the effects on the planet and the heavens described in the first four trumpets with the accompanying bowls. Now let’s look at this sixth trumpet and the bowl that accompanies it.
“Then 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 who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.”
How does a first century man describe modern armaments? What John is seeing is an army of ‘horsemen’ but from his description of them these resemble horses but are not in fact literal horses. These four angels are released and their mission is to destroy people through a mechanized army of 200 million. Some would say, this is China today, however, this army we are told will come across the Euphrates River which will have dried up. (16:12) this is a Middle-Eastern Islamic army. They are also called “the kings from the east” (16:12) It is a confederation of Islamic nations empowered by demonic forces. Behind this army is Satan himself. (16:13-14)
When you consider the combined population of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Turkic speaking Islamic states located in Southern Russia, that were part of the former Soviet Union, a mechanised army of 200 million Islamic Jihad warriors would not be hard to raise. The whole Islamic world is waiting on the arrival of the Mahdi who will unite the Islamic world to wage a Jihad of global proportions. Nuclear and biological weapons in the hands of Islamic extremists set on a global jihad could bring about the death of a third of the world population. John describes these ‘horsemen.’ What he is also seeing is an army with supernatural power at its disposal. Their ultimate goal will be the destruction of Israel. However the Messiah at His Second Coming will destroy this army and its man of sin. (Zechariah 14:1-5) (2 Thessalonians 2:8) (Isaiah 63:1-6) (Revelation 19:11-21) (Joel 2:18-20) And so we read…
“And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulphur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.”
Who has ever heard of a lion or a horse breathing out fire, smoke and brimstone? It is clear that this first century man of God is not seeing literal horses but missile carrying armoured vehicles with the power to destroy vast geographical areas and regions with their fire power. Fallout and biological contamination would be the result causing the death of around 2 billion people. The total population of the world today in 2020 is estimated to be 7.8 billion. A third of this number would amount to 2 billion 600 million. Only a nuclear war with fallout and accompanied by biological chemical agents or airborne viruses could produce these staggering, mind-blowing statistics. And so we read…
“By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.”
Armoured vehicles or tanks with missile launchers would have machine guns at the back of these vehicles. These machine guns would shoot so many rounds per minute that their effective firing range would be very wide and deadly. This firepower accompanied by thousands of missile launches could easily destroy a third of the world’s population. These three plagues that will kill a third of the world’s population are mentioned by John and they are all related to firepower. Having said this not all of the people will be destroyed by this firepower. There will be survivors.
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts…
Repentance will be impossible for the surviving inhabitants because they will have already worshipped the man of sin and his beast empire and taken his seal of ownership. Notice the things listed they were doing. They were worshipping demons. In the Bible the worship of idols is in fact the worship of demons. (Deuteronomy 32:16-17) (1 Corinthians 10:20) Today demons are being worshipped through the cyber world of virtual reality even though those into the cyber world do not realise the power that is controlling them and the addictive behaviour it produces in them. While the internet is a wonderful tool to spread the gospel of the kingdom it is also the tool to spread witchcraft and wicked behaviour.
An idol is anything that we give priority to over our priority to God. Idols come in many forms today. Money, music, immorality, fame, career, human relationships, entertainment, the internet, virtual reality games in cyber space, a pre-occupation with self-interest and self-gratification and materialism and even worshipping icons and religious relics and statues of the saints, it is all idolatry! It is all ‘Babylon.’ For many even sport itself is an idol. Sports, like money, in themselves are not evil or wrong but the problem lies within us when we give them the priority over God. As the prophet Jeremiah writes; “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) God knows it even if we don’t.
Paul writing to timothy about what people will be like in the last days speaks about what men love or are lovers of. He lists the things they love to do. He begins the list with lovers of themselves and lovers of money and ends the list with lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) This describes our culture today especially in the western democracies. John also mentions four specific things marks of this period of time. He mentions murder, witchcraft (sorcery), sexual immorality and thefts, all conspicuous marks of what we see happening around the world today.
Added to this we see the times of Noah being repeated once again where it is recorded in the Book of Genesis just before the flood came, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) The imagination was involved. Through visual stimulation via the internet and virtual reality computer games in cyber space the imaginations of millions are being hijacked by Satan, “the prince of the power of the air.” The “air” is the atmosphere just above the circumference of the earth where the radio, television and internet wave transverse the globe.
As the Lord Jesus Himself said, ”As a man thinks in his heart so is he (in his actions).” The images in virtual reality cyber space today are so realistic that they look just the same as live people and it will come to the point where those enslaved to this virtual reality world will not be able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. One can readily imagine the image (icon) of the beast empire is in the field of virtual reality. Virtual reality I am persuaded is the main gateway into satanic infiltration of the human race. In the beginning we see this in Genesis, and in the Book of revelation we see the same thing happening again only the way it happens is different in light of the technology we see today in our world. The upcoming generation of young people will be opening themselves up to demon possession as they become intoxicated with images that stamp themselves on the imagination.
So then even though a third of mankind will perish at the hands of this 200 million strong satanically empowered army people will still refuse to repent. Once the sixth angel has sounded his trumpet we see the sixth bowl of wrath poured out.
The Sixth Bowl
The Sixth Bowl: (16:12-16) “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.
Once again we see the sixth trumpet and bowl connected together. The River Euphrates is mentioned and the kings of the east as well. The source of their power is Satanic. It is a confederation of nations gathering together to make war against the Lamb of God Himself our Lord Jesus and Israel’s Messiah. Today the River Euphrates is drying up as is the Tigris River. The water supply for many in the region is also becoming scarce and famine in the region may well be the ultimate result. The Bible tells us that the Euphrates will be completely dried up so that an army of heavy armoured vehicles and mobile missile launchers will be able to pass through it. Once again the kings of the east are a confederation of Islamic nations.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Here John describes a satanic trinity. You have the dragon, which is Satan and then the beast which is the Empire itself with its leader and the false prophet, possibly the religious component of this beast empire or its religious figure. Islam is an ideology, a socio-economic system of government, a military power as well as a religion. It is both a secular and religious power. Out of their mouths come three evil spirits that looked like frogs. Once again we see a first century man seeking to describe demons. These three demons had some form of resemblance to frogs which are slimy creatures that live on the muddy banks of rivers. These are three unclean or filthy spirits.
For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
The goal of these spirits is to entice the generals of this vast army to go up against the Lord Jesus. It will be a war between the Lamb and the Beast. It will be the Lamb of God and his army pitted against the man of sin and his army and the false prophet. These spirits will be able to perform supernatural signs that will engage the minds of the leaders of this beast army much like the magicians were able to do before Pharaoh in the time of Moses. How they will do this we are not told specifically. This army will have a religious component. I am persuaded it is an Islamic army but that other nations will have joined them and that their objective will be to destroy Israel while other nations look on. (Ezekiel 38:10-13) The lamb will win this war and so will the saints who accompany Him in this final pitched battle against Satan and his hordes from hades! (Revelation 17:12-14) This battle is depicted elsewhere in the Bible. (Isaiah 63:1-6) (Joel 3:1-3) (Revelation 14:17-20) (Revelation 19:11-21) (Ezekiel 38:1-12, 14-22; 39:1-6) God is going to have “a field day” with these armies.
“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walks naked and they see his shame.” And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
There is a very brief interlude. In all of this that is coming upon the world the Lord Jesus encourages His Body the faithful Assembly (Church) by saying that they will be blessed by Him if they continue to maintain spiritual watchfulness over their souls and keep the garments of salvation and His righteousness on, and not to discard them. Those who keep the garments of salvation on will not have to face this time of God’s wrath because they remain under the cleansing power and protection of the atoning blood of the Messiah and will not experience the wrath of God. (Romans 5:9) John then continues to tell us that this great army gathers together at a place in the Hebrew called Armageddon.
The word is transliterated to Greek from Hebrew is “har məgiddô.” Some say that it was originally spelt “Har-Megiddo” and therefore means a Hill at the end of the Megiddo valley. The problem with that is that we never read in the Bible of a battle on any such hill. On the contrary the Biblical battles fought at Megiddo were on a plain, such as when Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Necho (2 Chronicles 35:22). The earliest known interpretation still in existence is in Arabic and means “a level trodden place”. Nevertheless, the general consensus among popular writers and preachers is that Armageddon refers to the place in Northern Israel where a future battle is to be fought out.
This last great battle between the Lamb and the Beast will be fought on the Plain of Esdraelon in Northern Israel which is also described as Jezreel or the valley of Megiddo. When Napoleon visited the place in 1800 he agreed it would make a fine battle ground for the world’s armies. In 1874, Lord Kitchener (the man whose picture adorns the poster which says “Your country needs you!”) reported to the Palestine Exploration Fund that “this is the greatest battle field in the world where the last great battle of Armageddon is to be fought”. In 1918 it was the site of the British General Allenby’s final defeat of the Ottoman Turkish forces which resulted in the liberation of Israel from the Turks including the City of Jerusalem. Nazareth the city where the Lord Jesus grew up overlooks the plains of Megiddo. It was at Jerusalem where Satan suffered his first defeat at the hands of the suffering servant our Lord Jesus and it is at Jerusalem where he will suffer his last defeat at the hands of the all- conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords our Lord Jesus the Messiah! (Daniel 11:45)