The Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department, presents brief excursions into the study of the Bible, delving into topics relevant to the development of future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which Christians are renewed daily (II Cor. 4:16), so let's refresh ourselves with more of the precious truths of God's Word!
Instructions: The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up and read in your Bible the scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.)
Most people know very little, if anything, about the "Day of the Lord." Yet it is the focal point of all prophecy! The awesome events to take place during this time are described in more than 30 different prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments.
Recall from our previous study that the heavenly signs of the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12-14, Matt. 24:29-30) are events intended to warn the world that God's wrath upon rebellious mankind is about to begin — that the Day of the Lord with its punishments for sin is about to commence. Let's pick up where we ended our study.
1. How does Isaiah 13:6-13 describe the Day of the Lord? Will the whole world be punished and not just modern descendants of Jacob? Verse 11, Obad. 15. Also notice again the following scriptures dealing with the Day of the Lord: Joel 2:30-31, Zeph. 1:14-18, Rev. 6:15-17, Isa. 2:6-21.
The Day of the Lord is going to be a terrible, awesome, fearful time!
God is going to intervene in world affairs in a powerful way, after having left the world to its own way, its own devices, its own governments, for about 6,000 years.
Note that the main theme of the book of Revelation is the Day of the Lord. The apostle John said he was in spirit on the Day of the Lord (Rev. 1:10).
He saw unfold the horrible events described in many Old Testament prophecies. And so the sequence of events in this book deals with the Day of the Lord, except for those interludes relating to other matters.
2. Exactly why will God have to punish mankind severely? Rev. 11:18, last few words; Zeph. 1:17; Isa. 24:5.
Jesus Christ, the Lord God of the Old and New Testaments, will be angry at the grievous sins of mankind. In order to bring mankind to its senses and save the human race alive, Christ is coming to "spank" humanity in love, otherwise man would destroy all life on earth (Matt. 24:22).
As any loving parent punishes his disobedient child who will not listen to gentle admonition, Christ will have to punish this world to wake it up, after which He will usher in peace, abundant prosperity, happiness and joy for all mankind.
3. What scriptures indicate how long the "day" of God's wrath on sinful man will last? Isa. 34:8, 61:2, 63:4. Does a prophetic day often represent a year? Num. 14:34.
When the Bible talks about the "Day" of the Lord, it refers not only to the 24-hour day when Christ returns, but also the year of God's punishment that precedes it and culminates in that return.
4. What transpires as soon as the seventh seal is opened? Rev. 8:1-6.
John sees in vision seven trumpets being handed to seven angels. The seven trumpets are, of course, symbolic. They represent real world events to come. These trumpets are plagues God shall send as physical punishment upon rebellious mankind.
Notice also that the seven trumpets constitute the seventh seal. This seventh seal occurs, then, in seven successive stages, each of the seven stages or parts being called a "trumpet."
5. What occurs on earth after the first trumpet is blown? Verse 7.
The result of limited use of chemical defoliants during the Vietnam War will seem trifling after this supernatural fire burns all the grass and one third of the trees on earth!
6. What does the blast of the second angel's trumpet announce? Verses 8-9.
The seas will be gravely affected by this plague. One third of the seas will turn to blood and one third of all life in them will be destroyed.
7. '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.
8. What terrifying plague is announced by the fourth trumpet? Verse 12.
9. What are the last three trumpets called? Verse 13.
In vision, God continued to show the apostle John that the next tormenting events to afflict rebellious, heedless mankind will be renewed warfare. The last three trumpets are called "woes" because there will be great destruction of human life and natural resources as a result of this warfare.
Just as God punished ancient Israel by sending the armies of Assyria, and punished Judah with the armies of the Chaldeans, so He will send armies of one nation against another to punish them because their evil is bringing suffering, poverty and unhappiness on all peoples.
And so the last three trumpet plagues specifically picture three phases of coming world war. At the third stage — the third "woe" and last trumpet — men will be saved from extinction only by a miracle from God. If God did not personally intervene in this climactic way, men would destroy the last vestige of human life from the face of the earth (Matt. 24:22).
10. 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. Note in verse 5 that their torment is not "of" a scorpion, but "as … of" a scorpion.
11. How are these "locusts" described? Verses 7-10.
These symbolic, locust-like "horses" with power to hurt men can only refer to terrifying war machines — 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 specific weapons are meant and how they will be used by power-crazed men will be plainly evident when the fifth trumpet (first woe) is blown and this terrible warfare begins.
12. Where does the super army of the first woe come from? Verses 2-3. Where do we find the "bottomless pit" interpreted? Rev. 17:8-14.
The 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) with a super army equipped with sophisticated weaponry. Mussolini restored the pitifully weak, insignificant sixth "head" of the "beast" — the so called Holy Roman Empire. A seventh and last revival is prophesied to come soon.
13. Who is the motivating force, the real leader, of this religiopolitical war-making power? Rev. 9:11.
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 destroyer himself – Satan the devil.
14. Who will be spared from this blitzkriegtype warfare? Verse 4.
When the forces of the beast attack its enemies, those who lived through the Great Tribulation, turned to God and were "sealed" by His Spirit (see all of chapter 7 and chapter 14, verse 1) will be protected during these terrible plagues. Meanwhile, hordes of other people in Asia will also have been preparing for war. The second woe is now ready to begin — the sixth trumpet is ready to sound.
15. Are the sixth angel's trumpet plague and the second woe clearly the same? Rev. 9:12-13. What happens when the sixth trumpet is blown — who will dare to threaten and even make war with the beast? Verses 14-16. And how are their weapons described? Verses 17-19.
To the east (from the point of view of Jerusalem), beyond the Euphrates River, lies the communist realm. From there an 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 mean firebombs and all forms of explosives, possibly including atomic and hydrogen bombs, as well as poison gas and other chemical agents.
16. How many people will suffer the torment, torture and death inflicted by this mighty army and its sophisticated weaponry? Verse 18.
More than one billion people will be killed as a result of the warfare pictured by the sixth angel. It is this wholesale carnage that Jesus Christ's personal intervention must halt, or no flesh would be saved alive (Matt. 24:22).
(This subject to be continued.)