When will the next world war come? Which will be first, the war precipitated by Russia or the revival of the Roman Empire?
Here is a complete synopsis of impending events, placing each future prophesied event in its proper time-order, as revealed by the story-flow of the Book of Revelation. Only by arranging these events in a chart can the many separate events prophesied be properly correlated, as to time-sequence.
Amazing Prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes! Still more amazing things soon will occur in the world! But how can we tell what will happen NEXT? How can we learn the exact ORDER in which coming events will occur? For instance, all Bible students know that the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel foretell a gigantic world war, yet future, in which Soviet Russia, together with many allies, will be the aggressor. But WHEN will this world war occur? Most Bible students know, too, that the 17th chapter of Revelation tells us the ancient Roman Empire will once more be revived, this time by a federation of ten nations and it will be the aggressor in war. But WHEN? How soon? Before, or after, Russia precipitates war? What is the time when the "two witnesses" of Revelation 11: appear? The Bible, in scores of texts, prophesies the Second Coming of Christ. But WHEN before the great Tribulation, to rapture His "bride" out of it, or at the end of it and before the terrible "day of the Lord," or at the end of that? Will His coming occur before the final ending of the "Times of the Gentiles," or after Gentile "Times" have ended? We cannot really understand these prophecies at all, unless we can arrange them in their proper time-order. The Bible is like a jig-saw puzzle that became such a fad a year ago; each text on a given subject is like a piece of a jig-saw puzzle; and if we get all the various pieces properly joined together, a beautiful picture, clear and perfect, is the result. But if they are not joined properly together, the picture is distorted. Neither is it complete if one or two of the texts are left out. We must have EVERY piece that fits into the picture, and every one in its PROPER place in relation to the others.
Time-Sequence Found ONLY in the Revelation
ONLY in the Book of Revelation do we find the various stages of prophesied events arranged in an orderly time-sequence. In the Book of Revelation there is a story-flow, relating one event to another in the time-order of occurrence. But what is the KEY to an understanding of it? For Revelation is in symbols. The Book is the REVELATION that is, the revealing, not the concealing of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1). What does it reveal? What is its subject, its theme? Primarily the "DAY OF THE LORD" the time immediately prior to, and climaxing in, the Second Coming of Christ. With this in mind, let us ask, Did Jesus ever before tell us in plain language what He here tells in symbols? Yes! When His disciples, on Mount Olivet, asked Him, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Mat. 24:3), Jesus gave a startling prophecy, covering in general the SAME EVENTS that Jesus foretold in greater detail in the Book of Revelation. A fuller description of this comparison will be found in the February number of The PLAIN TRUTH. In the present article we must be brief, giving only the essential synopsis. Read each text from your Bible. Give it slow and careful study. Much new and important understanding may be obtained.
HOW TO READ THIS ARTICLE Surely here is the most important subject of the present hour. But you will not thoroughly understand it with a hasty reading. Before proceeding further, get your Bible. Take time to turn to EVERY reference. Study every text quoted from your own Bible. It will take more time, but you will be rewarded!
The Olivet Story and the Revelation Compared
Jesus' Olivet prophecy is found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Notice, in Matthew 24, Jesus said these events would occur: 1st, False prophets, verse 5. 2nd, Wars, (verse 6), thru the age, culminating, at the age-end (verse 7), in the recent world war the first ever to fit the description, nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, 3rd, Famines (verse 7). 4th, Pestilences (verse 7). Then Jesus digressed, to describe the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the destruction of the Temple, the dispersion of the Jews. Luke's version makes this clear. Notice, "before all these things," (Luke 21:12) but He then returns to the end-time, foretelling, 5th, Great Tribulation (Mat. 24:21). 6th, sun and moon darkened, and stars falling from heaven (verse 29), and at the same time, or immediately after, the SIGN of the Son of man in heaven. This, finally is followed by the Second Coming of Christ! Now compare with the symbolic story in Revelation. Chapter 1 is the introduction. Chapter 2 and 3 Christ's messages to the Seven Churches. Chapter 4 and 5 the prelude to the real revelation. And in chapter 6 we come to the very heart of the revelation itself. Now notice how accurately it compares with Jesus' prophecy of the same events in Matthew 24: The first seal is opened (Rev. 6:1), and a white horse appears an imitation of Jesus at His actual second coming, as described in ch. 19:11-16. This symbolizes false christs and prophets, corresponding with the first event in Matthew 24. In the second seal, a red horse appears, symbolizing WAR. (verses 3, 4). The third seal is a black horse, symbolizing FAMINE (verses 5, 6). The fourth seal is a pale horse, symbolizing PESTILENCE, (verses 7, 8). The fifth seal depicts one phase of the TRIBULATION, the martyrdom of saints, (verses 9-11). The sixth seal shows the sun and moon dark, and stars falling from heaven, (verses 12, 13). And what then happens, corresponding to the Sign of the Son of man in Matthew 24:30? Notice verse 14: "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together and the kings of the earth . . . and every bondman (slave) and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME." (verses 14-17). The Sign of the Son of man, then, is the heavens departing as a scroll. Now many have supposed that the text just quoted describes the Second Coming of Christ. But this is not a description of Christ having come to earth, and sitting on His throne. Study carefully the setting of this whole scene, described in Rev. 4:2 and 5:1-7. It is God the Father sitting on the throne. Jesus STANDS before Him, and in the vision comes and takes the sealed book out of the right hand of the Father. It is this vision, IN HEAVEN, which the wicked look up into the sky, rolled back as a scroll, and see and are unable to see without crying out for the rocks to fall on them and kill them! This is not the actual coming of Christ, but the SIGN, in heaven, OF the nearness of His coming! Where We Stand Today in this Chain of Events
Now let us pause to check up with other Scriptures, and see where we are today, in the order of events. There have been false christs and prophets thru the whole age, but recently their number and influence has multiplied. There have been wars all thru the age. This was no sign of the end-time, for, as Matthew 24:7 explains, at the end time nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom in real world war. The world war of 1914-1918 was the first that truly fit this description. So here we begin to get dates fit to the prophecies. There have been, too, famines and pestilences all along. But they have become much intensified recently. The most colossal famine the world ever saw occurred just recently in Russia, when ten millions of people starved to death! The flu epidemic, at the time of the world war, was the worst pestilence in history. It took almost as many lives as the war itself, and in a period of one year! All these, (Mat. 24:8), are the beginning of sorrows. That is, the BEGINNING of the TIME OF TROUBLE leading up to the coming of Christ! In the marginal reading of the same expression in Mark 13:8, it is explained that the meaning of the original Greek is "the pains of a woman in travail." So the world war, the flu epidemic, the Russian famine, were as birth-pains the solemn warning that there is just barely time to make hasty preparation. Are YOU heeding this warning?
Now we come to the TRIBULATION. Notice this is the very next event in order. Matthew describes it as "great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time." Daniel gives a very similar description: "and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time," and continuing to explain that during, or at the end of this time, will occur the Resurrection, simultaneous with the Second Coming of Christ. (Dan. 12:1, 2). Luke's account of this same Tribulation paints in additional details, and fixes the TIME, exactly. Notice Luke 21:24-27. After digressing, in the 12th verse, to prophesy what was to happen in 70 A.D., Jesus concludes this part of the prophecy in the 24th verse. The Jews at that time were to be led away captive into ALL nations. This HAPPENED. And Jerusalem, He said, from that time, would be trodden down of the Gentiles how long? "UNTIL the Times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." And then what shall take place as the Times of the Gentiles finally end? It is in the next, or 25th, verse: "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars," and, when this occurs, what will be the condition upon the earth? "and upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth." (verses 25, 26).
The Present Depression Described!
Now here is an exact description of the present world-wide depression, Never before have all the nations been in distress, with perplexity. Governments are overthrown, the financial structures of every nation have collapsed, business and industry is paralyzed, men are out of employment, everyone is perplexed, and the statesmen and business leaders do not know what to do. It is truly a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. It is vital to bear in mind that this text in Luke corresponds to Matthew 24:21, where the Tribulation is described. Matthew and Luke are both reporting the same prophecy uttered by Jesus. So this IS the TRIBULATION. We have been IN the Tribulation since 1929 in the United States, and since 1928 in Europe. There are two or three points which, at this juncture, it is vital that we notice. Mat. 24:29 says the sun and moon will not be dark and the stars fall, until AFTER the Tribulation immediately after. In other words, these heavenly signs come at the very END of the Tribulation that is, they END it. So, as Luke's version makes plain, at the time of the heavenly signs, the earth is in the grip of the Tribulation. Therefore, the present world-wide trouble will continue until the time of the heavenly signs, and Luke's text tells us that will be at the final ending of the Times of the Gentiles. But when will the Times of the Gentiles end? This subject was thoroughly discussed and explained in the March number of the PLAIN TRUTH. We give here merely the following brief summary: God warned the children of Israel that if they disobeyed Him they would go into national punishment for a duration called "seven times." (Lev. 26:18, 21,24,28) "Seven times" is actually 2520 years. First Israel sinned so persistently they were driven into Assyrian bondage. Later Judah, too, was taken captive to Babylon. When they were driven out of their own land, God gave it over and the world dominance that He had promised Israel, had they obeyed Him to the Gentiles. Thus the Times of the Gentiles correspond with the Times of Judah's national punishment. These "Times" tapered in gradually, and they are tapering out the same way. They began to taper in when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made his first siege on Jerusalem, 604 B.C. At the time of this first siege this Gentile king did not drive out the Jews. Consequently when, 2520 years later, or 1917 A.D., Gentile Times began to taper out, Jerusalem was captured and the Jews have since been returning, but the Gentiles were not driven out. But 19 years after the first siege, or 585 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar made his final siege, drove out all the Jews, took complete possession of the land, and the Times of the Gentiles came fully in. And 2520 years later, or 1936 A.D., the Times of the Gentiles will have completely ENDED. As nearly as we can calculate from the dates of ancient history, the year 1936 will see the END of the Times of the Gentiles. Those "Times" have not been completely fulfilled until that year.
The Terrible "DAY OF THE LORD"
These prophecies above considered, then, indicate that we may expect the present world-wide depression, time of trouble and fear of war to CONTINUE until the year 1936! This in spite of the NRA or any man-devised remedies for the present trouble! And at, or quickly after that time, we may expect to see the heavenly signs of the sun and moon becoming dark, the stars falling and the heavens rolling back as a scroll, showing the SIGN of the coming of the Son of man IN HEAVEN. Some say the heavenly signs already have occurred. But the signs pointed to occurred only in one small New England neighborhood. When this prophecy is fulfilled, it will be GENERAL, and the whole earth will know! Moreover, these signs FOLLOW the depression, or Tribulation, which FOLLOWED world war and the greatest famines and pestilences. So we know these terrible signs are in the very immediate future. THEY ARE NOW THE NEXT PROPHESIED EVENT TO COME! And THEN WHAT? Notice the proclamation that goes up announcing the next event, as the nations, awe-struck, shrieking, seeking death, behold the heavenly glory of the SIGN of the Son of man "The GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME!" (Rev. 6:17). "The Day of His WRATH" is the "Day of the Lord," the time of God's intervention, and divine judgements, or PLAGUES to bring the nations to a knowledge of the true God. This "Day of the Lord" is the primary theme of the entire Book of Revelation (ch. 1:10). Many have carelessly assumed that the "DAY OF THE LORD" and the Tribulation are one and the same thing. But they are not. The present Tribulation is the result of man's own folly. He has brought this trouble upon himself, thru independence of God, and going contrary to God's laws. But the "Day of the Lord" is the day of God's WRATH against the sins of earth. It is a time of Divine judgment, interference, plagues a time of terrible trouble. See Joel 1:15 and 2:1, 2; Isa. 13:6, 9-12; Zeph. 1:14-17; Jer. 46:10, etc. It would not seem reasonable that God would interfere with the Gentile nations during the "times' He has allotted and given over to them. Therefore we should not expect the "Day of the Lord" to begin until the Times of the Gentiles completely end, in 1936. But will Scripture bear out this reasoning? Notice again Luke 21:24, 25. Jerusalem shall be trodden down of Gentiles until the END of their "times" THEN shall the sun and moon be dark and the stars fall at or quickly after 1936. But this is immediately AFTER the Tribulation (Mat. 24:29). And it is also BEFORE the beginning of the "Day of the Lord" for Joel tells us "the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, BEFORE the great and terrible day of the Lord come." (Joel 2:31). And for Great Pyramid students, a point in this connection will be of interest. The present depression, or tribulation, is there symbolized as occupying the entire low passage continuing from May 29, 1928, when the tribulation struck Europe, until September, 1938. This symbolism is not the same as that which represented the WAR tribulation of 1914-1918. And since no part of this final passage symbolizes war, but continues the same symbolism as at the beginning, it would indicate a continuation of this present world condition until the fall of 1936! So we have, so far, this time-order of events: 1. False prophets, 2, war culminating in the world-war of 1914-1918, 3. Famines culminating in the Russian famine, 4, pestilences culminating in the flu epidemic, 5, the present world-chaos Tribulation, to be followed, by or quickly after, 1936, by the heavenly signs, which shall be followed by the "Day of the Lord"
The Revelation Story-Flow Agrees
To the time-sequences fixed by these prophecies, the Revelation story-flow agrees exactly. The Tribulation is symbolized by the 5th Seal. Then follows the heavenly signs under the 6th Seal, and at that time it is announced that the Day of the Lord is come. (Rev. 6:17). The order is the same, Tribulation, heavenly signs, Day of the Lord. But before the plagues and judgments of the Day of the Lord begin, another event must quickly occur. We come now, in our Revelation story-flow, to the 7th chapter. And the first 3 verses show that the first plagues under the "Day of the Lord" are held back until the sealing of the 144,000. Who are the 144,000? Verse 4 tells us they are of the 12 literal tribes of Israel. They are sealed in their foreheads. The Holy Spirit does the sealing, but what is the seal? Notice Rev. 14:1, where they are again mentioned, this time sealed. The seal written in their foreheads is "THE FATHER'S NAME." The Church should have been kept in the FATHER'S NAME all along (John 17:11) instead of following a babel of man-made names. After the 144,000 literal Israelites are sealed, as "the firstfruits," (Rev. 14: 4), another innumerable multitude apparently are sealed, of all nations (Rev. 7:9-17)! Before God visits judgments upon any people, He always gives them warning, that they may escape if they will heed. In an "inset" chapter, the 14th, verses 6-12, we find described three warning messages to go with a LOUD VOICE, warning people that the hour of God's judgments is at hand, and how to escape the plagues of His wrath. Apparently this innumerable company, who have been in and come thru the Tribulation, (Rev.7:14), are those who have heeded the warning. After this sealing, follows quickly the beginning of God's judgments His Wrath the "DAY OF THE LORD." Some, failing to notice the continuous story-flow of time-sequence in the Book of Revelation, and neglecting properly to connect these prophecies, teach that the "Trumpet" plagues which now follow are in the past. But we believe this study of all these Scriptures makes it self-evident they are in the immediate FUTURE. Notice Rev. 7:1. It is AFTER the heavenly signs, which Luke 21:24, 25 places at the end of the Times of the Gentiles, that these plagues are held back while the 144,000 are sealed. So their sealing, too, is in the immediate future. Notice now chapter 8. In verse 1 the seventh Seal is opened and what is the seventh Seal? Verse 2 tells. It is the "Seven Trumpets." These seven "Trumpet" plagues are, and constitute, the Seventh Seal. The first four "Trumpet" plagues hurt the earth, the sea, and trees, the rivers. (Verses 7-12). Then follow the three WOES, which are the last three "Trumpet" plagues.
The Roman Empire Revived
The fifth "Trumpet" plague is THE FIRST WOE. (Rev. 8:13, and 9:1, 12). Notice chapter 9, verses 1 and 2. The "bottomless pit" is opened. The power, or force, which brings the trouble of this woe emerges from the "bottomless pit." What does this "woe" signify? It is described in the 1st 11 verses of chapter 9. In verse 3, "locusts" come out of the smoke of a great furnace which seems to belch forth out of this "bottomless pit." Now these, of course, are symbols. But these symbolic "locusts" represent very REAL THINGS. According to verse 4, they apparently have power to "hurt the grass of the earth" that is, destroy vegetation but they are prevented from doing so. They are permitted to hurt only people, and only those who have not the seal of God in their foreheads. Notice the description of the "locusts" in verse 7. Their shape is like horses prepared for battle. On their heads are crown like gold. There seem to be men's faces in them. They have breastplates (v.8), of iron. They have wings, which make a sound like many horse-drawn chariots running full speed. Apparently these "locusts" symbolize AIRPLANES, a vast army of war planes. Airplanes now have breastplates of iron. Their heads appear to have crowns like gold. Men's faces are in them. And a squadron of airplanes flying in formation make a noise exactly like many ancient-type chariots rumbling over the ground! Notice verse 10. They have tails, and their "sting" is in their tails. The bombs and gasses are dropped and sprayed from the "tails" of the planes. So this "WOE" appears to symbolize a coming WAR but which war? We know that elsewhere, Scripture prophesies two great military powers to arise in the last days one the revival of the Roman Empire by a federation of ten nations in the territory of the ancient Roman Empire; the other "Gog", or Russia, with her allies. Observe in what manner the Roman Empire is spoken of in coming back to life. It is in Rev. 17:8. "The beast which thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend OUT OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT." The virtually extinct, non-existant condition of that once great Empire is spoken of as "the bottomless pit." The revival of the ancient Roman Empire is Mussolini's whole aim and dream. This he has publicly announced many times. Already three of these nations are virtually in his power, and two others about to become so. In the past thirty days Mussolini has been firing the men of Italy with patriotism and enthusiasm for WAR. He has publicly stated that "between 1936 and 1940" he will "make our air force so strong and numerous that its roaring motors will drown all other sounds, its shadows hide the sun over Italian soil." (Speech of May 26, 1927). So this prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes! If the first WOE plague is WAR, and the locusts are airplanes, then it must symbolize the revival of the Roman Empire "out of the bottomless pit." Otherwise, the time-order of this coming war is no-where given in the story-flow of Revelation. And notice, this places this war as shortly after the year 1936!
Soviet Russia Plunges World into War
Now we come to the sixth "Trumpet" plague, which is the SECOND WOE. (Rev.9:12, 13). According to verse 16, an ARMY, a vast army, numbering "two hundred thousand thousand", or two hundred million, cause the death of "the third part of men." (verse 15). So this, too, is WAR. Notice verse 17. This is an army of HORSEMEN. Also airplanes seem to be symbolized in verses 17-19. They have breastplates. Out of their "mouths" issue fire, and smoke, and brimstone machine gun fire. Their power is in their "mouth" and in their "tails," (v. 19). The bombs and gasses issue from their "tails." The only other great coming WAR prophesied is that of Russia and allies against Israel. This is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Notice Ezek. 38:15. "Gog", or Russia, is a nation of horsemen. This is true. Russia has more horses than any other nation. Her army has the world's greatest cavalry. Now "Gog's allies are Persia, Ethiopia which is Abyssinia, Libya which is Tripoli, Gomer which is Germany, and many others probably including Turkey, possibly China or Japan. The land of these allies circles around the river Euphrates. Notice verse 14 and 15 of Rev. 9. This war is finally "loosed" from the territory of the River Euphrates! So this second WOE appears to be war brought on by Russia and allies. Otherwise no provision is made for this war in the time-order of events revealed in Revelation. Compare, also, with Joel 2:1-11. The "Day of the Lord" is coming, verse 1, A day (verse 2) of trouble and darkness, when the greatest armies the world ever saw will plunge the world into war. A "fire devoureth before them" (v. 3). This is the "fire, smoke, and brimstone," which issued "out of their mouths," (Rev. 9:17). Study both texts. Compare carefully. This airplane army comes upon a prosperous land, and leaves it a desolate wilderness. The "appearance of them is as the appearance of horses." (v. 4). Compare with Rev. 9:16, 17. Then notice verse 5. "Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they LEAP. Again the picture is airplanes, agreeing perfectly with the description of the second WOE in Revelation. Joel apparently is describing this same WAR Gog and allies, or Russia, against Great Britain and the United States. But where does Joel set the TIME of this war? IN the "DAY OF THE LORD." (Joel 2: 1, 2). It is AFTER the heavenly signs (Joel 2:31). Therefore it is AFTER the Tribulation, or present world-depression (Mat. 24:29). And this agrees perfectly with the time-sequence of the Revelation story-flow. Notice these identical points of similarity in Joel 2, Ezekiel 38, and Rev. 9 the horsemen, the airplanes, the largest army in history. The Russian Red Army is now the largest the world ever knew in peace time. In the coming war every person will be participant in one way or another and the population of Russia and the allies mentioned in Ezek. 38 is approximately 200,000,000. So these Scripture indicate, then, that the war to be precipitated by Russia will not occur until after 1936, and following the revival of the Roman Empire. It is wholly possible, however, that in the meantime this war might be prepared for by a war between Russia and Japan. And it should be carefully noted that BOTH these wars the one brought on by Rome, and the one by Russia apparently will CONTINUE from the time they begin until the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, as they CLIMAX in the Battle of Armageddon, which will be at the exact time of His coming!
The Two Witnesses
The next event in order in the main story-thread of Revelation is the mission of the "two witnesses" of the 11th chapter. Who are, or will be, these witnesses? Several points about them may be briefly noted. 1st, they "prophesy" or preach a final warning to the world during "1260 days." (Verse 3). Does this mean a literal 1260 day, or 3 ½ years, or does each day symbolize a year, meaning actually 1260 years? The key to the question is this: A day in prophecy represents a year in fulfillment DURING the "times" of Israel's punishment. The "day for a year" interpretation is taken from Ezek. 4: 4-6, and Num. 14:34. Study them. In each case the "day for a year" involves Israel's PUNISHMENT only. After the 2520 years of punishment has ended, when we come to the thousand years' reign with Christ we all accept it as a literal thousand years. We do not multiply it by 360. Now these two "witnesses" END their "1260 days" prophesying AFTER the "times" of Israel's and Judah's punishment have ended. Therefore we think a literal interpretation of 3½ years for their "prophesying" the more logical in this case. 2nd, at the END of their testimony, or "1260 days", it is "the BEAST THAT ASCENDED OUT OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT" which kills them. Since this is the re-establishment, yet future, of the Roman Empire, which does not take place until the time of the first WOE, it appears that these "witnesses" are two literal men, not the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible, as some believe. 3rd, after their testimony is ended, and they have been killed and resurrected, it says in verse 14 "the second woe is past," So the time of the ENDING of their "1260 days" prophesying is the time of the second woe, or the war in which Red Russia will be the aggressor. Therefore it seems that the most logical identification of the Two Witnesses is the one generally accepted Moses and Elijah. They do the works of Moses and Elijah. Malachi says (4:5) Elijah shall come BEFORE the "Day of the Lord," and they probably will BEGIN their ministry before the "Day of the Lord" commences. It was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Christ in the Transfiguration on the Mount. (Mat. 17:1-8). In a sense, John the Baptist was Elijah fulfilling the prophecy of Mal. 4:5. John the Baptist was NOT Elijah, as he plainly said, yet he came in the power and spirit of Elijah, and in that sense he was Elijah. Compare John 1: 21, Mat. 11: 14, and the explanation in Luke 1:17. So it is likely the two witnesses will be two men who will come in the power and spirit of Elijah and Moses, or Enoch.
The INSET Chapters
Next follow three chapters which have no bearing on the continuous story-flow of the Book of Revelation. Chapter 12, describing the two "wonders" in heaven, chapter 13 describing the two "beasts", and chapter 14, again picturing the 144,000 and describing the three warning messages to the world, are INSETS, injected into the main story-flow for the purpose of making necessary explanations of things not directly concerned with the time-order of events. The continuous chain of events is picked up again in the 15th chapter.
What is the Third Woe?
Now for the moment let us go back to the 11th chapter to identify the 7th Trumpet plague, or 3rd WOE. Notice verse 14, and 15. The seventh angel sounded. What IS this woe? It is not the great voices in heaven announcing the time has come for Christ to rule. That is good news, not a woe or plague, But we find it in verse 18. "The nations were angry, and THY WRATH is come." This is the only thing mentioned that could describe the woe. It is GOD'S WRATH. And, skipping now the three inset chapters, we find GOD'S WRATH described in Rev. 15:1. THIS is the 7th "Trumpet" or 3rd Woe: "seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up THE WRATH OF GOD." The seventh Trumpet, or third Woe, then, IS the seven LAST plagues. Just as the 7th Seal was sub-divided into the 7 Trumpets, so now the 7th Trumpet is sub-divided into the 7 parts, or the 7 Last Plagues. These terrible plagues are described in detail, and symbolically, of course, in the 16th chapter of Revelation. But while symbols are used, remember they represent very real, literal things to happen! We catch a glimpse of how terrible these last plagues will be from such expressions as "men were scorched with great heat," and "they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. Those who refuse to repent NOW to respond to God's loving appeal or to heed the warning of those who are faithfully sounding it are so hardened that they refuse to repent then. The door of mercy is still open to them, even during these last plagues. There is still time to repent but men will not! NOW is the time to repent and get right with God.
The Battle of ARMAGEDDON!
Apparently, as stated above, the two war plagues overlap into the seven last plagues, for at the end of the sixth of these last plagues, the armies of these nations are gathered together into a place called ARMAGEDDON. (Rev. 16:16). Armageddon, as the article in the May number explained means "Megiddo fortified." Megiddo is 70 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Great Britain has just recently completed fortifying it! It has now become ARMAGEDDON. The stage already is set! Notice also verse 15 of this 16th chapter. Between the 6th and 7th of these last plagues the warning is once more sounded, "BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF." Those who expect Jesus to come SECRETLY and snatch away His "bride", the church, and take those included off to heaven so that shall escape the Tribulation, will have a hard time explaining this warning given long after the Tribulation has ended, and with only one more plague in the "Day of the Lord to follow! At this late hour, Christ has not YET come "as a thief." The answer is that the "thief" illustration is used to show the uncertainty of the HOUR, or time, of His coming, not to picture the MANNER of His appearing. See Luke 12:39-40, and Rev. 3:3. Now at the precise time that the armies of the Gentile nations are gathered before Jerusalem for the final battle, the seventh and last plague falls. Notice verse 17 (Rev. 16). This appears to be at the precise time of the Second Coming of Christ. There is the most mighty earthquake in all history (verse 18), probably the resurrection. The plague itself is described in verse 21, great hail stones. Then follow two more "inset" chapters, the 17th and 18th, dealing with Babylon the Great. And we pick up the story-flow again in the 19th chapter. Now we come to the mighty climax of the whole Revelation, the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. (v. 11 -16.).
The SECOND COMING
At this moment the armies of all nations are gathered against Jerusalem to battle, (Zech. 14:1, 2,), just as described between the 6th and 7th plagues (Rev. 16:14, 16). And here we find the "beast" (Rev. 19:19), who came up out of the bottomless pit in the first Woe, and the other armies of earth, ready to make war against Christ Himself as He comes! At this moment Christ comes (Zech. 14:3), and His feet stand once more upon the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4; Job 19:25). And the "Beast" is taken. (Rev. 19:20), and with him the "false prophet" that great world religious leader who has an alliance with the "Beast", or revived Roman Empire, and these two men are cast alive into the lake of fire. This is the final hell fire, where all other unrepentant sinners shall be cast at the end of the thousand years' reign with Christ. (Rev. 20:14). And now what of the fate of these soldiers in these armies gathered before Jerusalem in the Battle of Armageddon, to fight against Christ? Their flesh will consume away while they stand on their feet; their eyes will consume away in their holes; and their tongues will consume away in their mouths. (Zech. 14:12). At the time of this Battle, the Jews must have returned to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:14). More Jews have already returned there than returned to fulfil the prophecies of the rebuilding of the Temple in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. So we say again, the stage is being set!
The KINGDOM Established!
Next we come to the 20th chapter of Revelation, and the next event is the "chaining" of the Devil for a period of 1,000 year (verse 1-3). The Resurrection of the saved dead has occurred at the very instant of Christ's approach to earth in the clouds. (I Thes. 4:16, 17). The living saints are caught up with them to meet the descending Christ in the air. All the holy angels shall have come with Him from heaven (Mat. 25:31). These form the armies which were in heaven and follow Him to the earth. (Rev. 19:14). Then, with all the saints, both resurrected and translated, who have been caught up not to heaven, but into the CLOUDS of this earth's atmosphere to MEET Him as He comes, Jesus descends on down to earth, upon the mount of Olives. And thus, as He descends upon Mt. Olivet once more, all the saints are with Him. (I Thes. 3:13; Jude 14). Verse 6 of chapter 20 explains that those who are resurrected in this first resurrection shall not suffer the "second death" that is, they shall NEVER DIE, for they are now IMMORTAL. But, (v. 5), the rest of the dead the unsaved dead are not resurrected until the END of the thousand years which begins at this time. Those who have been resurrected or translated into immortal spirit bodies (I Cor. 15:35-44); shall be PRIESTS and KINGS, and shall reign with Christ for this period of one thousand years called the Millennium. Christ Himself will be King of kings. Some of the saints will be KINGS that is, having political office and, with Him, rule the nations with a rod of iron. Some will be PRIESTS that is, having the office of ministers to teach the nations the TRUTH. They reign for a definite period 1,000 years (Rev. 4:6). They reign ON THE EARTH. (Rev. 5:10).
If they reign, there must be someone to reign over. Surely God would not call upon them to reign, or RULE, over immortal saints like themselves. They shall rule the NATIONS the nations of this earth with a rod of iron. (Rev. 2:26, 27; I Cor. 6:2; Luke 19:12-19). There will still be heathen, Gentile nations on earth thru the thousand years. If this is contrary to what you have believed, do not simply disagree and turn away, but study carefully the whole 14th chapter of Zechariah, particularly verses 16-19. Study carefully Isaiah 11, and 65:17-25. Notice this cannot be BEFORE the Coming of Christ. It cannot be AFTER the end of the thousand years, for there are Gentiles there, and also sinners who die at the age of 100. For these latter two reasons it cannot be in heaven. The world today is corrupt. Politics full of graft. Business founded on dishonestly. Society is rotten to the core. Churches teach soft, smooth things, deceits, lies, pagan fables, instead of the TRUTH of the Word of God! But shortly there will be a CHANGE. Resurrected and translated saints, now seeking FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His RIGHTEOUSNESS, then made immortal, will be made into kings and priests. They will take over the government administration of all nations of the world. They will then rule, under Christ, the nations with a rod of iron! And the priests will teach people, whose eyes then will be opened, the PLAIN TRUTH as it is, so simply and plainly, in God's Word, the Bible! This gives us just a glimpse into the wonderful redemptive work that shall go on in and thru the KINGDOM OF GOD on this earth during the millennium. But if many shall be saved thru this coming thousand years' reign with Christ. REMEMBER IT IS ONLY THOSE HEATHEN GENTILES who have never heard of Christ or had a chance, and those Israelites who have been BLINDED, and honestly, because God blinded them (Rom. 11:7, 8:23, 25-26). God will then give THEM the first real chance they ever had. But He surely will not give you or me ANOTHER chance! We are receiving our chance here and now! YOU, brother, sister, are having YOUR chance NOW. TODAY is the day of salvation. For us, Jesus' parable of the Ten Virgins (Mat. 25:1-13). Those, now, are the days of GRACE. The door of mercy is now OPEN. It will be SHUT when Jesus comes! (verse 10). Let none be deceived. God is a God of MERCY. He also is a God of absolute JUSTICE. Justice to those who have never had a chance, thru the wonderful redemptive work He is now calling you and me to have part in, during the thousand years. Justice, too, to those who now have the golden opportunity and neglect it, in that they shall be JUDGED and cast into the LAKE OF FIRE. The great and terrible DAY OF THE LORD is upon us! It will follow this world-Depression. All who have not come all the way out of the world, and out of "Babylon," and her false pagan teachings which are falsely called Christianity, will suffer those unspeakable PLAGUES. In those days men shall seek death, and they shall not find it. Those who will not repent now will not then. O brother, sister, let us turn NOW to God with humbled, surrendered spirit. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered (Joel 2:32). No plague shall come nigh their dwelling! (Psalm 91:10). Is our ALL consecrated to God?