WE ARE NOW fast approaching a world crisis unparalleled in human history! Right now, as you read this, nations are busy applying science, technology and industry to produce newer, more frightening weapons. Each "improvement" is intended to increase the ability to mete out the threat of death and mass destruction in the event a neighbor should attack. Already enough "vintage" nuclear weapons are stockpiled to erase all life from this planet dozens of times over! Meanwhile, devastating evils gnaw away at human society the world over. Mindless violence, murder, appalling immorality, rampant crime of all kinds and grinding poverty, sickness and disease continue to escalate at an incredible rate. What has gone wrong?
Predicted Centuries Ago
The sad state of today's world was predicted more than 1,900 years ago by the greatest newscaster who ever lived. He accurately foretold today's chaotic world conditions. He foresaw the scientific discoveries and technological advancements. This famous newscaster knew men would produce the destructive forces that now threaten the extinction of all life! This great newscaster was Jesus of Nazareth. He warned, "And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved [ALIVE]..." (Mark 13:20). This is the same Jesus Christ who is coming again, this time not only with an advance announcement but with all power and authority to save the world from destroying itself in nuclear warfare. He is returning to establish the government of God and enforce world peace! But before that dramatic intervention in world affairs by Jesus Christ, a sequence of events must first occur — events that will affect every last person on earth! These catastrophic events are outlined in the last book of the Bible — Revelation. In vision (Rev. 1:1), Christ catapulted the apostle John some 1,900 years forward in time into the great and terrible "Day of the Lord." It is described throughout the book of Revelation as the time when Almighty God will supernaturally intervene in world affairs to punish rebellious nations. God is going to use the forces of his natural creation to "spank" humanity in true love, in concern for humanity's welfare, just as any loving parent punishes his children who will not listen to gentle admonition. God will send a series of punishments of increasing severity to finally jolt men to their senses and to humble them! Men today, as a whole, do not want to come under the authority of God, for their own good. They want to continue in the selfish ways that are bringing the world all its miseries. The coming catastrophic end-time events of the Day of the Lord were revealed 1,900 years ago when the Lord Jesus Christ opened the seven "seals" that covered the scroll of the Apocalypse or Revelation (Rev. 5:1-9). Yet, when opened, most of the book of Revelation is found written in symbolic terms that Christ, the Revelator, elsewhere reveals. These were, in part, explained in the preceding two studies. (Be sure to read the full explanation in our free booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last!) We learned in the previous study that the seventh seal, which covered the scroll or book of Revelation, disclosed "seven trumpets" (Rev. 8:1-6) representing seven consecutive events — physical punishments — as warnings to the nations not to go any further into national and personal sins. And as we learned in our last study, the fifth and sixth trumpets (trumpets are symbols of national emergency and war) are also called "woes" (Rev. 8:13; 9:12). They signal catastrophic warfare that the Bible reveals will occur between superpowers in Europe and Asia. Next in the sequence is the seventh trumpet. When it is about to sound, the third "woe" is about to fall on mankind. Let's pickup our study at this point and see the smashing climax of God's intervention in the affairs of rebellious mankind! 1. After God has allowed six previous punishments to exact their toll upon the earth, will most of humanity remain hard to convince, unyielding and unrepentant? Rev. 9:20-2l. 2. What happens next? Rev. 11:15. Is this clearly the prophesied time of Christ's Second Coming to rescue mankind from annihilation and establish the kingdom of God on earth? Same verse. 3. But what is the reaction of rebellious mankind at this time? Verse 18, first five words. COMMENT: Instead of welcoming the returning Christ, the new ruler of the world will be rejected by major world political and military leaders whose armies are already committed to an all-out struggle over who will rule the world. Men have never wanted God's rule, which is the only way to real peace, happiness and joy. And so rulers of many nations are found angry at Jesus Christ!
Seven Final Punishments
1. What else occurs under the symbol of the blowing of the seventh and last trumpet? Rev. 11:14, 18. Notice the words "thy wrath is come" in verse 18. COMMENT: God's anger is not motivated by temper or hate but by love and mercy and justice. 2. Exactly what "fills up" or completes the just anger or wrath of God? Rev. 15:1. COMMENT: The preceding six trumpets have heralded the unleashing of different punishments upon this rebellious war-torn world. But notice that the seventh and last trumpet completes God's punishments by ushering in "seven last plagues." 3. Are these plagues compared to the concentrated contents of "vials" about to be poured out? Rev. 15:7. On what are they poured? Rev. 16:1. Read the rest of this chapter to get the story flow. 4. Will the first vial cause excruciating sores upon all who are participating in this world's idolatrous, civil-religious system? Rev. 16:2. 5. What will the second and third of these plagues do? Rev. 16:3-4. Is God just to inflict these punishments upon rulers who have subjected the world to a nuclear holocaust? Verses 5-7. 6. Will the pouring out of the sixth vial climax in the most significant battle in all human history? Rev. 16:12-16. Will Christ judge and make war against defiant men who want war? Rev. 19:11; Isa. 11:4. 7. Will the earth be violently shaken by the mightiest earthquake ever to occur when the seventh and last plague is poured out? Rev. 16:17-18. Will islands of the sea be suddenly removed from their present geographic positions? Verse 20. 8. Will part of God's final punishment involve gigantic hailstones? Rev. 16:21. COMMENT: The weight of each hailstone will be in excess of 100 pounds! Can you imagine the tremendous destruction this storm will cause on earth? 9. What is the reason God must punish mankind so severely? Isa. 24:4-6. Notice especially verse 5. COMMENT: Sin is disobedience to God's laws of happy, successful living (I John 3:4). Sin is the CAUSE of all human suffering and woe. The world is in reality bringing divine wrath upon itself by having lived in sin and refusing to repent. And so our loving Creator will have to punish the world primarily by the forces of nature to bring it to its senses and to humble all men and women so they will be teachable. God loves mankind (John 3:16). He wants everyone to eventually understand his way that leads to eternal life — to be born into his supreme ruling family (II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:3-4). But people must be humbled before God can work with them! And what of those who will die in the crisis rushing upon this sick world? Since the Creator has power over life and death, these same people will be resurrected to mortal life after 1,000 years (Rev. 20:5, 11-13). Having been humbled by the experience of death and resurrection to physical life, they will listen to Jesus Christ and most will voluntarily choose to obey him. They, too, will have their opportunity to understand and live God's way of love that leads to peace, happiness and joy. 10. Will the nations finally begin to seek God and ask him to teach them his ways? Isa. 2:1-4. COMMENT: Worldwide peace, security and happiness will be ushered in by the rule of Jesus Christ. The law of God will be enforced over all nations. Meanwhile, individually, each of us can receive God's divine protection now. But we must first turn to God and seek to do his will, as well as do our part in helping to spread God's end-time warning to the world (Rev. 3:7-8, 10; 12:14-16). No plague need come near you! If you heed and obey God, you can be worthy to escape these things that shall surely come to pass (Luke 21:36).