The first cycle of judgments is ending. The
144,000 have been commissioned and a huge group of martyrs has
arrived in Heaven. In many places on Earth war rages unchecked, with
its attendant famine and pestilence, and yet in other places peace
still prevails. Those lucky enough to enjoy it are fooled into
thinking that soon the rest of the world will settle down too, and
it’ll be business as usual. Since the anti-Christ has not yet been
revealed as Satan’s man for Planet Earth, many still see him as a
talented world leader doing his best to restore order, and despite
the unprecedented death tolls and all the missing people, they still
give him high ratings.
But in Heaven it’s a different story, because
God is about to unleash the 7 Trumpet judgments. It gives Him no
pleasure to do this. But as bad as they were, the now concluding
Seal Judgments simply weren’t severe enough to turn man’s stubborn
heart back to Him. Alas, He knew it all along, but that doesn’t make
matters any easier. If only He didn’t love them so much, He could
just let them destroy each other. But while His righteousness
demands justice, His love requires that He keep on trying to save
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
When he opened the
seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
And I saw the seven
angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
Another angel, who had a
golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much
incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden
altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the
prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar,
and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder,
rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (Rev.
The half hour of silence fills Heaven with a
sense of foreboding, as if all the angels are holding their breath,
waiting for the Lord to act. The post-Rapture believers on Earth
know what’s coming too, and their urgent prayers come up before the
Throne in a giant cloud of incense.
But the time for mercy ended with the
Rapture. This is a time for justice and as the angel hurls fire from
the altar, God announces the coming judgments in His traditional
way, with thunder, lightning and earthquakes.
Then the seven angels who
had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
The first angel sounded
his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it
was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up,
a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was
burned up. (Rev.
Reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt, the
first judgment is upon the land. Fire breaks out over a third of the
Earth, the acrid smoke from the grass and trees filling the skies
The second angel sounded
his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was
thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third
of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships
were destroyed. (Rev
This judgment appears to be a giant asteroid
or meteor crashing into the Earth’s oceans. This has happened to
Earth hundreds of times in it’s history. The latest was on June 9,
2006 when a meteor slammed into Northern Norway with an impact force
equal to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
Astronomers are currently watching thousands
of potentially hazardous asteroids (PHA) and Near Earth objects
(NEO). As of now none are projected to collide with Earth but these
scientists caution us that NEO’s often appear suddenly and with very
little warning. How many of us knew in June 2006 that one was about
to strike Norway?
The meteor strike referenced in this passage
causes astounding devastation, turning 1/3 of the world’s oceans a
poisonous red color, killing 1/3 of marine life and destroying
thousands of ships. (There are over 40,000 commercial and merchant
ships registered in 143 countries. In addition there are more than
9,000 naval ships from 50 different countries, and an unknown
number of large private vessels.)
The third angel sounded
his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the
sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name
of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and
many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
The next judgment falls on the world’s fresh
water supply. One third of it will become poisonous because of
something like a shooting star that will fall from the sky. John
called the star Wormwood, from the Greek word
(absinthe). Because of this, some commentators believe that
the agent making the waters poisonous is radioactive contamination.
They say this because, although it’s not free
of controversy, the Russian word chernobyl can be translated as
wormwood and on April 25 and 26 of 1986 the world’s worst nuclear
disaster occurred in the Ukranian city by that name. A nuclear
reactor in the Chernobyl power plant exploded during testing,
releasing amounts of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere 300
times greater than the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima. If you saw
the movie “China Syndrome” you learned that out of control reactors
can burrow into the ground and once that happens are all but
There’s no official word on whether that did
or can happen at Chernobyl. But containment efforts are still
ongoing 25 years later, and if European aquifers become
contaminated, it’s easy to see how this view of
could be accurate.
The fourth angel sounded
his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon,
and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A
third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
Between the smoke from the grass and forest
fires, and particulates thrown into the air by the meteor strike the
atmosphere will become so dense that 1/3 of the light from the
heavenly bodies will be blocked. I’m reminded of TV footage from the
fires that Saddam’s troops set in Kuwait’s oil fields while
retreating toward the end of Gulf War I. The smoke was so dense that
it was like night during the day, the sun like a dark red ball
floating in the blackened sky above. That’s about what it’ll look
like as the world awaits the fifth trumpet.
As I watched, I heard an
eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe!
Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts
about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (Rev
This is no ordinary eagle. The Greek text
uses the word normally translated angel, indicating some kind of
supernatural messenger, sent to prepare the world for what’s ahead.
Four of the trumpets have sounded, and the Earth is reeling from
this onslaught. But now the judgments turn supernatural and are
directed at man himself. It’s about to get personal.
The fifth angel sounded
his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the
earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he
opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic
furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.
This star had fallen some time previous to
the 5th angel’s trumpet, and by using a personal pronoun, John
identifies him as a living being, most likely a supernatural one.
Whoever he is he’s been told to open the shaft of the Abyss to
release a swarm of “locusts.”
And out of the smoke
locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of
scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the
earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have
the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to
kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony
they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it
strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not
find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
The locusts looked like
horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like
crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair
was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They
had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their
wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing
into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their
tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as
king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is
Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. (Rev
These locusts are unlike any such creatures
ever seen on Earth before. Normal locusts are vegetarian, but
these creatures are prevented from eating the grass, plants, or
trees. Instead they attack people, and when they do they sting them
like a scorpion would, causing pain so intense that their victims
will pray for death. It’s been said that the sting from a
small scorpion compares to hitting your thumb with a hammer at full
force, but a sting from a large one is like a nail being driven
through your thumb. The sting from these locusts is like
nothing man has ever experienced. And their leader is the
angel of the Abyss, whose name means “Destroyer” in both languages.
(In one of those precious little tidbits of wisdom that God’s word
is noted for,
Proverbs 30:27 informs us that normal locusts have
no king lending credence to the idea that these “locusts” are
something else.) Only the 144,000 witnesses will be protected from
this excruciating pain.
John had certainly never seen such a thing
before, and in describing them he exceeded even the limits of his
imagination. You’ve got to appreciate the nature of his challenge
here. He was a first century man called upon to describe twenty
first century warfare. But he had to do it in such a way that all
the generations in between could interpret it as well. Even today we
can’t relate these so-called locusts to anything in our world.
They’re clearly a demonic manifestation of some sort.
Certainly this is a God ordained judgment,
but did Satan willingly turn these little monsters loose on his own
followers? Was he ordered to, or is it some diabolical scheme to
further inflame the hatred of the people of Earth toward God? Did
Satan deliberately do this so he could blame God for it, advancing
his strategy of turning Darkness into Light and the Lie into the
Truth? A little later John will inform us that none of these
torments turned the people of Earth from their rebellious ways.
The first woe is past;
two other woes are yet to come.
The sixth angel sounded
his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden
altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the
trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river
Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this
very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third
of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred
million. I heard their number.
The horses and riders I
saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery
red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses
resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire,
smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues
of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power
of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their
tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
Traditionally, the Euphrates River has been
the territorial, cultural and religious boundary between East and
West. Rarely have customs, traditions or philosophies crossed from
either direction. As a result the Eastern world is far different in
almost every respect from its Western counterpart. This passage
helps to explain why that’s so. There’s been a boundary in the
spiritual world as well. But with this command from the very throne
of God the boundary comes down and the effect is deadly beyond
The combatants released by the lowering of
this barrier wind up killing 1/3 of the remaining population of
Earth. Remember 1/4 of mankind met their end in the seal judgments.
With this additional third that means that over 3 billion people
will have died by the time the Trumpet judgments are over, and the
Great Tribulation hasn’t even begun yet.
The cause of this destruction is the release
of angels at the Euphrates River, but the River hasn’t been dried up
yet allowing the Kings of the East to cross. That comes later in
Therefore, I think this passage is describing warfare that takes
place in the Far East where over 40% of the world’s population lives
(many in crowded conditions increasing the potential for mass
casualties) where religious and ethnic tensions are traditionally
high, and where several countries can mount huge armies. I think
it’s the coalition formed by the winners of this war that storms
across the dried up Euphrates while the anti-Christ is distracted by
other uprisings. (Daniel
The rest of mankind that
were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of
their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold,
silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or
walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their
sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev.
You’d think that with those demonic locusts
attacking them and 3 billion people dying from wars and other
disasters, people would be flocking to the Lord in search of comfort
and security. But this just doesn’t happen, and I’ll tell you why.
There is a belief floating around that’s as
old as mankind but in the last days will become a religion that
deceives almost everybody. It’s called the Luciferian Doctrine and
understanding it helps explain why the world won’t turn to its
Creator in this, the worst time in human history.
The Luciferian doctrine is named of course
after Lucifer, a Latin name meaning, “light bearer.” It holds that
Lucifer is the Angel of Light, the good guy trying to enlighten the
people of the world in preparation for the spiritual evolution
necessary to bring peace to all mankind. According to
Luciferian Doctrine our physical evolution is finished and all we
need to do now is throw off the bonds of Judeo-Christian thinking to
complete our spiritual evolution and enter into our long awaited
But Lucifer’s being hindered in all this by
the evil Adonai (Hebrew for Lord) Who, along with His followers, is
working to thwart Lucifer’s grand plan, effectively preventing our
spiritual evolution. In order for humanity to achieve Utopia
those who insist on clinging to their obsolete Judeo- Christian
faith have to be eliminated. The Great Tribulation is characterized
in Luciferian Doctrine as the evil Adonai’s last great effort to
destroy mankind’s “light bearer” and prevent our ascension into
Utopia, keeping us in bondage to Him.
Following the church’s disappearance the
Truth will become pretty scarce on Earth and the whole world will be
deceived into believing the Luciferian Doctrine just as Paul warned
would happen (2
Thes. 2:9-12). So naturally, thinking the Lord is
the bad guy, they will become even more intense in their worship of
Lucifer, hoping that he’ll prevail and bring an end to their
suffering. (There is a way that seems right to man, but the end
thereof is death …
Lucifer, of course, is also widely known as Satan or The Devil.
Next time we’ll learn about the two witnesses
and see evidence that a New Temple will be built early in Daniel’s
70th Week. See you then.