Let us now return to the mainstream of
the prophecy, back to the seals. The 7th seal, remember, has still
to be opened. Chapter seven was inserted between the 6th and 7th
seals simply because that is when the sealing work will occur
in the stream of time. But once the 144,000 are sealed, the four
angels standing at the four corners of the earth are allowed to
release the four winds which will hurt the earth, the sea
and the trees. The hurting of the earth, the sea and the trees
is in fact the beginning of the 7th seal.
The 7th seal is divided into seven
sub-sections, each introduced by a Trumpet blast. The seven Trumpets,
in other words, constitute the 7th seal; they are the 7th seal
in terrifying detail.
Remember this important point, for great confusion will result if the seven seals and the seven trumpets are treated as two separate prophecies. The 7th seal is introduced with these words:
|Rev.8:|| 1: And when he had opened the
seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half
2: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
|Rev.8:||7 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.|
At this Trumpet, mighty continents housing
millions of human beings will be devastated by hail and fire mingled
with blood. Similar scenes, though on a much smaller scale, were
witnessed in ancient times at the destruction of Sodom and Egypt.
(Gen. 19:24, Exodus 9:24) The God of Israel then literally rained
hail and fire on mankind because of their grievous sins and stubborn
refusal to acknowledge His authority. The same thing is due to
happen at the 1st Trumpet. We are also told that one third of
the world's forests and all the green grass will be burnt up.
As foretold in Rev. 7. 1-3 the four winds are
beginning to hurt the earth and the trees.
What these events do to the agricultural
output of the world is difficult to imagine: but it is quite obvious
that this 1st Trumpet ushers in the terrible Time of Trouble!
a time of international turmoil and terror unparalleled in the
history of humanity.
|Rev.8:||8 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;
9: 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.
At this Trumpet one third of the earth's
oceans will congeal like the blood of a dead man. The sea, like
the earth and trees before it, is being hurt as foretold
in Rev. 7.1-3. All the traffic on the ocean/s involved will
stop; and all the fish in those waters will perish. In addition
to these immediate effects, there will be other awesome repercussions,
such as freak weather conditions, lack of rain water, fresh air
and oil. The oceans of the world, as any ecologist will confirm,
regulate the weather and help purify the very air we breathe.
So the death of even one ocean is a catastrophe of unimaginable
magnitude. This Trumpet, in short, will disrupt the weather, the
agricultural output, the economy and the physical welfare of the
whole human race.
At about this time the sun will begin
to scorch the earth, for the cooling effect of the oceans will
have diminished and drought will become a world-wide problem.
Hunger and thirst will then become as common in the West as they
are today in the East. The Great Tribulation will have
then entered its second terrifying stage.
|Rev.8:|| 10: 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;|
11: 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.
Like the 1st and 2nd Trumpets before
it, the 3rd Trumpet causes untold damage and distress on earth.
A third of the rivers and fountains of water are now polluted
and many people die as a result. The question is often asked,
Could not the terms earth, sea, trees, grass, ships
and fish be symbolic?
The Stewarton Bible School does not deny
that possibility for it obviously does exist. Indeed, some of
the terms (trees, grass, fish etc.) could easily be taken
to represent people and scriptural texts found in support. The
main reason why we favour the literal translation, however, and
avoid references to people, is because 'a third of mankind'
is scheduled to die under the 6th Trumpet That frightening
fact by itself, which is expressed twice in Revelation 9 verses
15 and 18, compels us towards the opinion of that the hurting
of a third of the sea, a third of the ships, a third of the rivers,
a third of the trees and all the green grass cannot also
refer to people, but must,
at least on a lower plane,
refer to the literal sea, ships, rivers, fish, trees and grass.
Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what else they could be, especially
when we remember that a third of the human race is scheduled to
die at the 6th Trumpet. Nevertheless, and we say this without
reservation, symbolic representation may still be present here;
but to date we have not come across any person capable of explaining
away the anomalies such an interpretation would create.
|Rev. 8||12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.|
The punishment hitherto confined to this planet now mounts up to the heavens. The sun, moon, and stars are somehow smitten and begin to shine with a greatly diminished beam. How this almost unimaginable catastrophe is brought about is not explained, but it is obvious that if this trumpet is understood in a literal sense, then physical light as we know it will be greatly reduced on earth. This could be the result of enormous amounts of dust, ash and smoke being produced by the natural catastrophes mentioned above.
Once again we ask the question: Could
it be that this Trumpet presents a symbolic picture of
heavenly powers, and that the sun, moon and the stars in this
instance actually stand for spiritual agents of light and energy
The possibility obviously must exist, especially in view of the plain statement like: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. (Rev. 1:20) If this were the case, then this Trumpet's reference to darkened stars could well present a drastic reduction in angelic authority throughout the universe. A third of the angelic host would be smitten by God, and their privilege and ability to radiate spiritual light taken from them. This Trumpet, then, may be the prelude which is mentioned below:
|Rev.12||9 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.|
Yes, the 4th Trumpet could well have
symbolic overtones; but whatever its interpretation, it sets the
scene for another dark age,
a spiritual twilight zone in time
when light from heaven will diminish greatly and Satanic activity
on earth will increase sevenfold.
The picture presented so far is undoubtedly
grim and the reader is probably wondering if there is any good
news in this catalogue of catastrophe; any protection for the
true believer in the terrible Time of Trouble. We are happy
to report that there is a great deal of good news and a most encouraging
degree of protection; but these blessings are conditional, being
reserved for those who genuinely endeavour to obey God. (Read
Deuteronomy 28 for proof of the principle that the blessings of
God are reserved for the obedient.)
We have already seen that the Seal of
Yahweh the God of Israel is His law, and that His Sign
(signature) is the Sabbath commandment in His law. We have
also seen how that 144,000 believers will at that time accept
the Almighty's Seal in their minds, and will begin keeping the
commandments of God with faultless dedication and effect. The
blessings which follow that kind of obedience will be beyond comparison
and will manifest themselves in many miraculous ways during the
Time of Trouble. One of the blessings will be that of divine
protection. A perfect example of the protection afforded the
144,000 sealed believers in the Time of Trouble is given in Revelation
chapter 9, which outlines the event of the 5th Trumpet. In verse
4 we note
with great relief
that at that time all sealed believers (those who obey Yahweh's
law) will be supernaturally protected from torture and abuse.
All others will suffer. This matter of divine protection is
dealt with later. Yes, there will be protection during the Great
Tribulation, but it will be reserved for those who obey the Almighty
God and bear His Seal. Of all mankind, they alone will be kept
from Satan at the time of the end, and will walk unscathed through
the fiery trials just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in
ancient Babylon. (Daniel 3) Indeed, those bygone experiences
in Daniel's day were especially staged by the Eternal as miniature
demonstrations, prophetic prototypes of a mighty deliverance
which is to be repeated on a world-wide scale before the entire
universe, when the Almighty will once again miraculously protect
His obedient servants form the terrors of the Evil One.
Bearing these reassuring thoughts in mind, let us now return to the prophecy of the seven seals, for there are still three trumpets to explain. The last three Trumpets (5, 6 and 7) are so fearful that even by angel standards they are classified as 'Woes.'
|Rev.8||13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!|
|Rev.9:|| 1: 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.|
2: 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.
3: 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.
4: 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.
5: 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.
6: And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
No one will deny, but that here before us is a picture of absolute terror, when for 5 months earth's mighty population, all except the sealed servants of Yahweh, will be tormented by a host of merciless beings who are to arise from the bottomless pit. For obvious reasons we will not dwell on this frightening aspect of the prophecy once having presented it. Instead, we will briefly answer the following questions and point to a way of escape.
1) What is the Bottomless Pit?
2) And who are the beings that ascend out of it?
The general lack of interest in the Revelation
has over the years resulted in a dearth of information about the
Bottomless Pit. But it is obviously a subject which
all the world should know about; for is not mankind going to be
tormented for 5 months by beings which come out of the bottomless
pit? The answers to those two questions about the bottomless
pit and it occupants are of vital importance, so let us closely
study the matter.
The original Greek word abussos
is translated in the Bible (in Rev. 9:1) as bottomless
pit. Some Bible dictionaries render abussos as 'abyss.'
The word abussos means exceedingly deep gulf or pit.
Abussos is also used in Luke's gospel where it is translated
simply as the deep. In the incident recorded in
Luke 8. 26-36 we are given an important clue as to what the abyss
is and how frightened evil angels are of being sent there. If
the reader will turn to Luke's gospel he will see (in verse 31)
how certain devils who had taken possession of a man were themselves
terrified of being ordered into the abyss. They literally begged
the Messiah for permission to enter a herd of swine rather than
be sentenced to the abussos
the exceedingly deep pit.
From this incident we can see that the
abussos, the Bottomless Pit is a place or condition which
evil angels dread; a kind of spirit penitentiary or dungeon
which existed thousands of years ago.
Strong's concordance describing the 'bottomless pit' says it is a:
"pit of immeasurable depth, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons."
It is from somewhere within that unlit dungeon that a myriad symbolic locusts will arise at the 5th Trumpet or 1st Woe. (Rev. 9:1-3) What are these locusts that torture mankind for five months? They are evil angels, devils of mind-bending depravity who were sentenced to the abyss long before the early Christian era. At this very moment (1998) they are still chained and completely immobilised within the blackness of the abyss, held there in total darkness awaiting the judgement of the Great Day. Here is proof of this astounding fact.
|2 Peter 2:||4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;|
|Jude 6||And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.|
Yes, fallen angels are at this moment held captive in the abyss, the Bottomless Pit, fettered in a way we humans do not properly understand, so the symbol of a 'chain' is used to help us. At the 1st Woe, a mighty angel (star) will be divinely authorised to open the abyss, and out will pour this host of devils like the smoke of a great furnace. (Rev. 9:1-5) The only people on earth who will be protected from their sadistic onslaught will be the ones who bear in their foreheads the Seal of the God of Israel. All others will be tormented. Here is proof of this frightening fact.
|Rev.9||4 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..|
Without labouring the point, we will
at this stage again respectfully remind the reader to seriously
consider accepting Yahweh's Seal, for fearful indeed will be the
lot of those who reject it. References in this woe to Abaddon,
the king of the bottomless pit (verse 11) are covered later where
the identity of this king who is to ascend from the bottomless
pit is considered.
Revelation 9:12 brings us to the end
of the 1st woe (the 5th Trumpet). The reader will have noticed
that even though the scenes portrayed here are fearsome, divine
protection is assured to those who have God's Seal, especially
from the terrors of Abaddon the Destroyer from the Abyss!
SBS Prophecy Book Index