INCREASE YOUR BIBLE IQ - What did John — the last surviving of Jesus' 12 apostles — mean when he wrote in the mysterious book of Revelation: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10)?
What does the "Lord's day" mean? Is it Sunday, Saturday or some other day of the week?
And what does the Lord's day have to do with the strange prophecies recounted by John the apostle throughout the book of Revelation?
In this keynote verse, John is not referring to any day of the week, but to that prophetic period spoken of in more than 30 separate prophecies as the great and terrible "day of the Lord"! He is stating the theme of a whole series of prophetic events revealed to him by the Revelator, Jesus Christ (verse 1).
In Spirit, or in vision, John was carried forward some 1,900 years — projected into the DAY OF THE LORD. It is the time described all through the Revelation when God Almighty will supernaturally INTERVENE in the affairs of men and punish rebellious nations for the hellish nuclear destruction they have wrought on earth! It is the time that immediately follows great national and religious persecution to fall on the English-speaking nations and northwestern Europe. That time is called "the great tribulation" and leads up to and climaxes in the glorious Second Coming of Christ and the final establishment of peace among men and the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW!
The day of the Lord is the focal point of all biblical prophecy. The awesome events to take place during this momentous period are described prophetically in many places in the Bible. When the original book of the Revelation of Jesus was given to John it was covered by seven official seals. The sixth seal, when opened, revealed spectacular astronomical signs (Rev. 6:12-14; Matt. 24:29-30). Men are frightened for they suddenly realize that God's direct intervention in human affairs is about to begin-that the "day of the Lord" with its punishments for sin is about to commence.
Let's pick up our study where we ended last issue.
God's Direct Intervention The day of the Lord will be a terrible, awesome, fearful time! Bible prophecies show that God must intervene in world affairs in a way not seen before. Up to this time God has generally left the world to its own devices ever since the first humans chose to follow the way of Satan nearly 6,000 years ago.
1. Exactly why will God have to punish mankind so severely? Rev. 11:18, last few words; Zeph. 1:17; Isa. 24:5.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ and God the Father are angry at the grievous sins and destructive ways that mankind has brought on the world. God is sending Jesus Christ, this time not to announce peace and die for sin, but to "spank" humanity in love — otherwise humans would obliterate all life on earth (Matt. 24:22).
As any loving parent punishes disobedient children who will not listen to gentle admonition, Christ will have to punish the leaders of this world to bring humanity to its senses. He finally will usher in peace, abundant prosperity, happiness and joy for all mankind!
2. What scriptures indicate how long the "day" of God's anger or wrath on a sinful world will last? Isa. 34:8; 61:2; 63:4. Does a prophetic day often represent a year? Num. 14:34.
COMMENT: When the Bible talks about the "day" of the Lord, it almost always refers to a year of punishment that precedes and culminates in the 24-hour day of Christ's return.
When Trumpets Begin to Sound! John sees in vision seven trumpets being handed to seven angels. The trumpets are, of course, symbolic. The trumpet was always blown as a warning of war or approaching armies during ancient times. These seven trumpets represent real world events to come. These trumpets signal plagues God shall send as physical punishment upon rebellious mankind as warning not to go any farther into national and personal sins!
1. What occurs on earth after the first trumpet is blown? Verse 7.
COMMENT: The result of limited use of chemical defoliants during the Vietnam War — and major use in the next round of world war — will seem trifling after God shows his power by this supernatural fire when it burns all the grass and one third of the trees on earth!
2. What does the blast of the second angel's trumpet announce? Verses 8-9.
COMMENT: Because humans have dumped nuclear wastes in the oceans and the streams and will have waged nuclear war in the oceans, God will show his power and turn one third of the waters to blood. One third of all life in the oceans and other bodies of water will consequently die for lack of oxygen.
3. Next, what happens to part of the earth's supplies of drinking water when the third angel's trumpet is sounded? Verse 10. Will many die from drinking this poisoned water? Verse 11.
4. What terrifying plague is announced by the fourth trumpet? Verse 12.
5. What are the last three trumpets called? Verse 13.
COMMENT: The last three trumpet plagues specifically picture three phases of coming world war. At the third stage — the third "woe" and last trumpet — mankind, left to his own devices, will have to be saved from extinction by a direct miracle from God. If God were not to personally intervene, despotic leaders would utterly destroy the last vestige of human life from the face of the earth! (Matt. 24:22.)
6. As the fifth angel sounds his trumpet, how is the first woe described? Rev. 9:1-11. Are men to be tormented by symbolic "locusts"? Verses 3-6. Are these "locusts" described as operated by men? Verses 7-10.
COMMENT: John described what he saw in the vision God revealed to him. These symbolic, locust — and horse-like creatures with power to hurt men can only refer to terrifying war machines man would be capable of inventing in the end time — possibly sophisticated attack helicopters. Today machines carry men as horses did then. And helicopter gunships are highly maneuverable so as to seem able to hop and jump and fly like locusts.
Precisely what these weapons are and how they will be used by power-crazed men will become plain when the fifth trumpet is blown and this terrible warfare begins.
7. Where does the super army symbolized by this first woe come from? Verses 2-3. Where do we find the "bottomless pit" interpreted? Rev. 17:8-14.
COMMENT: The soon-coming final resurrection of the ROMAN EMPIRE is the power that emerges from the bottomless pit or abyss. It is a war-making power (verse 14) equipped with sophisticated weaponry. Mussolini restored the pitifully weak, insignificant sixth "head" of the "beast" — the ancient Roman Empire. A seventh and final revival is prophesied soon to occur. (To learn the identity of the various revivals of the Roman Empire, send for the free booklet Who Is the Beast?)
8. Who is the motivating force — the real leader — of this war-making power? Rev. 9:11.
COMMENT: The Hebrew word Abaddon and the Greek word Apollyon both mean "destroyer." The sinister power guiding the beast's army will be none other than the great deceiver and destroyer himself — Satan the devil! (Rev. 12:9.)
9. But who will be spared from this blitzkrieg-type warfare? Rev. 9:4, last part.
COMMENT: When the forces of the beast attack its enemies, those who are "sealed" by God's Spirit (see all of chapter 7) will not be harmed. They will be protected from all of these terrible plagues. (The true Church of God, which is doing God's Work of proclaiming Christ's true Gospel to the world, will already have been taken to a place of safety to spare it from the great tribulation, which is Satan's wrath — Rev. 12:13-16.)
Meanwhile, hordes of people in Asia will also be preparing for war. The second woe is now ready to begin — the sixth trumpet is ready to sound.
10. Are the sixth angel's trumpet plague and the second woe clearly one and the same? Rev. 9:12-13. What happens when the sixth trumpet is blown? Verses 14-16. And how are their weapons described? Verses 17-19.
COMMENT: To the north and east (from the point of view of Jerusalem), beyond the Euphrates River, lies a realm. From there a Eurasian army of 200 million men will attack westward! Their war machines, here again described in symbolic terms, deal death from front and rear — principally by "fire," "smoke" and "brimstone." These symbols may represent firebombs and other forms of explosives, including atomic and hydrogen, as well as poison gas and other chemical agents.
The seventh angel has yet to sound his trumpet — one more "woe" is to occur. All that the last trumpet signifies will be covered in next month's study.
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