“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
This powerful and precious promise (and many others like it) is available only to those who have accepted Messiah Jesus as personal Savior. We who have been given new and everlasting life in Christ Jesus, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).
That’s not to say believers don’t sometimes ask the same probing questions posed by unbelievers when things go terribly wrong. Especially at the wrong time, which is pretty much every time!
Such as: “Why Lord?” Or, “Why me. Why now?” Or, “How much longer will this go on?” And, of course, “When it rains it pours!”
Trials and heartaches reach the saved and the unsaved alike.
However, believers realize that we live in a fallen world. A Planet engulfed in pride, greed, immorality, corruption, crime, violence, rebellion, poverty, famine, disease, natural disasters, and (often untimely) death.
The whole world seems to be spiraling out of control. The difference is that believers know that our Great God and Savior is sovereignly spinning the world under his control.
And so, while we wait patiently and watch eagerly for the resurrection of the dead in Christ and their tremendous transformation into eternal spiritual bodies (along with believers still alive) at the Rapture, we continue to rely on the truth of such passages as: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB).
Most believers have family or friends who haven’t fully grasped that they must make a personal decision for Jesus Christ (John 3:16). The unsaved look around them, and surmise that billions of others appear to be in the same boat. They contemplate: Wherever I go after death, there should be a lot of people there. So, what’s the big deal? Isn’t church membership; infant baptism; religious rituals; or doing more good things than bad, enough to merit God’s acceptance? Aren’t there many paths to God? Or to some enlightened state of being.
Some doubt, that God even exists. Other have fashioned their own gods, such as the moon-god called Allah.
Biblical Salvation: Inclusively Exclusive
Then there is the 20th and 21st century politically correct dogma (for that’s exactly what it is … a belief system) of tolerance and inclusiveness at all cost.
However, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, only the Biblical Christian faith is considered an enemy of these two post-modern pillars of secular humanism. Not even Islam. For if someone cites the glaring facts of Muslim terrorism and the intolerant and suppressive tenets of both Sharia and Sunni Islamic law, they are branded Islamophobic. Shame on them for quoting statistics and telling the truth.
Unbelievers fail to realize or refuse to accept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all-inclusive. But to be inclusive, it must first be exclusive. All-encompassing, because a pardon for the penalty of our sins and eternal life is offered to all who believe and receive the One whose substitutionary death paid that penalty. Exclusive because Jesus himself tells everyone that he alone is, The Way, the Truth, and the (everlasting) Life, no one can come to God the Father except through him (John 14:6).
They also deny the obvious (see Romans Chapter 1): God is God and we are not. As Creator, he has the right to make the rules and set the standards. He alone has provided the solution to the horrendous problem of sin and its ugly consequences. And he has done so with unconditional love and grace.
And, yes: God has given people the freedom to choose His Way or their humanistic highway.
If they want to make their own rules, they can. But at such a cost! It’s costly to them (eternal separation from God) because they reject what it cost God to justify them … just as if they had never sinned. No less than the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid—the life blood of His very Son. And then Jesus’s resurrection to prove that He is who He said He is: Son of God and Son of Man.
Everyone needs Jesus. Those with good hearts as well as those with bad hearts.
Commonly referred as the “good guys” and the “bad guys.”
God wants all people to carefully comprehend: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:23-25).
The Irony of the “Progressive Elite” During the Tribulation
The prejudice of the liberal progressives among us is now and will be even more so during the Tribulation as evident as day is from night. Their (false) accusations that Judeo-Christian values are intolerant is, itself, an expression of bias and intolerance.
The following is an excerpt from my second book Out of the Abyss commenting on this hypocrisy. After discussing Romans 8:28 (verse quoted to begin today’s article) and the sometimes incomprehensible ways in which God can and does, “circumvent the innumerable bad decisions that we all have made, not to mention the evil in the world to accomplish his purpose,” I went on to write:
…If we could wrap our finite minds around his infinite omnipotence and omniscience, I suppose that we would be God.
Ironically, that’s exactly what… natural scientists, human secularists, occult spiritualists, God-less governments, and agnostic academia in general try to do. They inevitably ascribe to themselves the controlled capacity, the distinctive domain, and the potent position of determining their destiny. And, if you will but afford them the privilege and opportunity; if you will “give them an ear,” they will gladly assist you in discovering your origin and purpose for life. Ultimately, if you yield complete attention and allegiance, they will be delighted to direct your future.
Okay, a little sarcasm here. And I don’t mean to unduly pick on the scientific, academic, philosophical, political, cultural, and social elite; through they carry a lot of weight and exert a significant influence on the common person. Ultimately every man and woman must choose what they believe, and to whom or what they will listen and follow. As Joshua said, “…choose today whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).
Make no mistake; we all believe in something and we all follow someone or an ideal, even if it’s ourselves. This will be vividly exemplified in the final days of this age, when the rich and the poor, the rulers and those ruled, the intelligentsia and the uneducated alike will enthusiastically (some reluctantly) surrender all they have and who they are to one man known as the Antichrist. This commitment will be no different than the liberated modern man’s disdain for anyone who would give up their mind, heart, and soul to God; or those who, in their opinion, would use Christianity as a crutch by surrendering their entire life to one man, Jesus Christ (Pages 22-23).
God’s justice will be on full display against the arrogant boasting and audacious blasphemy of Antichrist during the seven-year Great Tribulation. And of the multiplied millions who, despite knowing full well their impending fate, will remain defiant to the bitter end. A rigid rebelliousness that defies reason and belies responsibility. One that has been prevalent throughout history, but not in the sheer magnitude exhibited during the Tribulation. A defiance mentioned several times in Scripture, personified by the Antichrist man of lawlessness and his followers as summarized succinctly in the following verse:
“He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:10).
The result: “Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (Verse 12).
A Review of Antichrist’s Life/Death & Reappearance
Out of the Abyss, and most of the 58 articles to date in the category of Antichrist provide extensive Biblical and historical evidence that the identity of the Antichrist can be known. This man—called a little horn, ruler, king, man of lawlessness, beast, and Anti-Christ—is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.
We’ll look at his 1st century biography (existence), his reappearance at the outset of the Tribulation, the world’s reaction to him, his actions, and then the world’s unbelievable response to the Tribulation judgments.
Revelation’s author, John, had already seen the beast arise from the sea (Revelation 13); however, he is given a second vision, this time with a woman sitting on the beast.
The purpose for this second image is quite evident in the text: to further enable John and all believers to accurately decode the identity of the (Antichrist) beast. With strong clues—each one of them convincing on its own merit—previously provided to John in Revelation 13 and a few years before that to the Apostle Paul in II Thessalonians 2. Even hundreds of years earlier to the prophet Daniel in Chapters 7 & 9.
*Note: The reason that the angel encrypted the Antichrist’s (symbolized as a beast) identity instead of simply naming him was to protect believers from even more persecution than already experienced—that began with Nero himself. Most in the Roman Empire, especially the common people, still adored Nero and wished that he would reassume the throne. In fact, many Romans believed he would return, i.e. Nero Redivivus Legend.
Thus, the angel reveals the “mystery” of the beast and woman, which is tantamount to discernibly disclosing their identity. The woman is the great city (Rome) of the Roman Empire when Revelation was written and would morph into the Holy Roman Empire (Vatican) of the last days.
Please see Eye of Prophecy trilogy: Shameful Saga of the Great City (Revelation 17); Cunning Makeover of the Great City; Humiliating End of the Great City, posted 5-26, 6-2, & 6-9-18.
(The Vatican … Among Antichrist’s alliances will be the Roman Catholic Church. Ironically he will destroy it … Rev. 17:16; then Rome itself will be devastated in God’s final judgment, the 7th Bowl … Rev. 19:17-21)
Although the angel provides more clues of the beast’s identity in Revelation 17:9-11, we’ll examine just the initial unveiling of the beast.
“…I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, at any point in time) come up out of the bottomless pit… And the people who belong to this world (those left behind at the Rapture) … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
Although all Bible passages on the Antichrist are extensively detailed in my book Out of the Abyss and elaborated/expanded in Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist, the passage we just read kick-starts the refitting of the prophetic puzzle, concerning Antichrist.
To wit: Although a natural and normal conclusion, the Antichrist is NOT a modern-day man born before the Tribulation. Yet, beginning with the Rapture, nearly everything that takes place during the Tribulation is neither natural nor normal.
Here is an excerpt from near the end of my book Out of the Abyss (in italics):
The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? …If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with these verses … and all the other passages that help refit the prophetic puzzle?
John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast that had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos (Page 271).
After John describes his first vision of the beast arising from the sea (literal … think Mediterranean Sea), with the dragon giving the beast his own (Satan’s) power and authority, John immediately describes the world’s reaction to the beast’s sudden and different (Daniel 7) arrival (reappearance, Revelation 17) from the grave (Abyss, Revelation 11 & 17).
“I saw that one of the heads of the beast (the Antichrist is the composite beast but also one of the seven heads, i.e. Roman emperors—Revelation 17:9-11) seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, parenthesis mine).
We’ll stop here before getting to what the beast does.
What is it that, on a global scale, compels people to give their allegiance to the point of worshipping the beast? What persuades people to both revere and fear him? Is it because he’s a consummate genius, an eloquent orator, a powerful politician, a superb military strategist, a charismatic leader, or that he exhibits other appealing characteristics commonly attributed to a dynamic world leader?
Did you read that in the passage? No, you didn’t, because it’s not there; nor in any other passage on the Antichrist. There is ONLY ONE reason why so many people will marvel that much and surrender their loyalty and lives to him. It will be shock and awe over just one thing. The verses clearly tell us what that is: “The whole world marveled at THIS MIRACLE” (emphasis added).
Answer: Return from the grave as the world will see it/him (actually from the Abyss, which is a separate place from the grave/hell); repeated twice more in Revelation 13 and twice in Revelation 17.
On behalf of and in divine deference to this man, the False Prophet, “…ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life” (Revelation 13:14, emphasis added).
To those left behind, it will be a supernatural event to rival and even surpass that of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. Hence, who can fight against the beast? You can’t kill a man who already had been killed and then came back to earth some 2,000 years later. Forget it. Even for those reluctant to yield themselves to anything or anyone, their response will inevitably be: if you can’t beat him, join him.
Keep in mind that Revelation 13 is a progression of events beginning with the beast’s arising from the (Abyssal) Sea, concluding with the angel’s stimulating challenge to John and all readers to solve the meaning of the number of the beast (verse 18). Which is expressly equivalent to identifying the man himself. Thus, the initial reaction of the world still reeling from post-Rapture shock is that of absolute awe over the return of a 1st century Roman Emperor.
Nero will capitalize on such global attention by first orchestrating a treaty between Israel and Muslim nations. A peace treaty that the world (even now) will consider to be an impossible feat.
(See Eye of Prophecy article, Two-State Solution & The Seven-Year Treaty … Impossible? Posted 1-26-19)
After convincing the relatively few who doubt that he really is the 1st century Caesar and, thereby, consolidating his ten-nation confederation, Nero will begin to rage against God like no one ever has or ever will (be permitted) again.
Antichrist’s Barefaced Blasphemy Against God, Revelation 13:5-6
Immediately after John explains the world’s reaction to the stunning reappearance of the beast, we read:
“Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:5-6).
In its most deplorable demonstration, Nero’s taunting of God will begin at the half-way point of the Tribulation—after he breaks the treaty with Israel and when he is given the greater extent of his authority. No other autocrat in history has come close to such conceited arrogance toward and diabolical denigration of God Almighty. Though many have persecuted Jews and Christians through the ages, have you read of any of these megalomaniacs who directly took on God, to the point of saying one vile thing after another against Him?
Even with the worst of them, there was a healthy measure of restraint or reluctance to denounce God himself. They didn’t dare test their fate by perniciously and persistently berating the God of Heaven. In fact, world rulers like Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus the Great even extoled the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the true and living God. As did Alexander the Great, after a fashion.
Though many monarchs claimed to be a god or representing God on earth, they didn’t elevate themselves to the position of the only God (of the universe). Except that is for Nero.
(Other Nero coinage contained inscriptions that he was “almighty God” and “Savior”)
Antichrist’s blasphemy will be unrivaled in the annals of history for two reasons inherent in this passage: (1) the fact that God gives him permission to carry this blasphemy to such extremes; (2) by sheer emphasis in these two verses. Twice, it speaks of these tirades against God. Twice John uses amplified terms … “great blasphemies” and “terrible words of blasphemy.”
This isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill attacks on the very name and character of God. Not only will Nero’s boastful insults exceed any before him; they are shockingly despicable to the point of slandering God’s name. Webster’s Dictionary definition of slander will be multiplied exponentially when it comes to Nero’s defamation of God:
Slander: “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.” Synonym … “malign.” Webster defines malign as: “evil in nature, influence, or effect … malignant, virulent, vicious ill will … malevolent and sinister.”
The Bible’s first reference to the Antichrist (Daniel 7) also explains his actions in virtually the same terms: “…a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:8). And, “the little horn’s boastful speech” (Verse 11). Again, “a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Verse 20). Then, “He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High…” (Verse 25).
Daniel 7 also tells us that this king will appear “suddenly” (Verse 8). In stark contrast to a (modern-day) man who gradually rises to a position of prominence and power. That he is “different” (Verse 24) from the ten kings who will yield their kingdoms to him … during the Tribulation.
See Eye of Prophecy article: Sudden Appearance of Antichrist … Why So Different? (1-21-17).
Notice that Antichrist not only blasphemes God but rants against believers in heaven … recently raptured. Which include the thousands of Christians whom he murdered during his 1st century reign of terror and will resume to a far greater extent in the Tribulation.
(Depiction of Christians wrapped in pitch/tar, used as torches to light Nero’s palace garden during parties. With diabolical depravity, Nero mocked them and Christ by saying, “Now you are truly the light of the world”)
Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss to summarize this portion of today’s article regarding Scripture’s depiction of Antichrist, in contrast to the mainstream portrayal of this loathsome man as a contemporary prodigy:
Search the Scriptures. You will not find any direct evidence that the beast is a great orator, statesman, or consummate genius as modern-day views characterize him. He is clever; he is a braggart and a blasphemer, but that doesn’t make him charismatic. Antichrist’s accomplishments and “charisma” are attributed to his miraculous resurrection, the statue, and the persuasive ability of the False Prophet, including, but not limited to “astounding miracles” (Page 249).
When Nero begins his sacrilegious slander and malicious mockery of God, everything at that point will be a flashpoint of black and white to the world. No more gray areas, no more fence-riding, no more which religion or worldview is best for me.
The choice will be crystal clear: Christ or Antichrist. Eternal security, though at the pain of physical death. Or temporary safety … a false sense thereof.
In fact, this final show-down between God and Satan, between Jesus Christ and Antichrist is how God’s providential purpose during the terrible turmoil of the Tribulation will be accomplished; that is, EVERYONE will be required to make a choice.
Although many who refuse to take the mark of the beast may not choose Messiah Jesus (especially Antichrist’s enemies like the Far-East nations), they will still have made a choice. Though this compulsion will come directly from Antichrist Nero and his False Prophet, inevitably it will serve God’s purpose to get the world’s attention like never before. To stand up and choose:
Salvation or judgment.
Heaven or Hell.
Take heed and choose well.
“For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes…” (Revelation 17:17).
Reaction of the World to the Seven Seal, Seven Trumpet, and Seven Bowl Judgments
Since the explosion of interest in Biblical prophecy began over fifty years ago—particularly after the amazing Six-Day War of 1967—the imminent return of Messiah Jesus has dominated prophetic headlines. As well it should, because the signs of the times (some are calling it the times of the signs!) are validating that we are in the last days of the end times. The Day of the Lord will commence with the remarkable resurrection of dead believers who will be raptured (caught up) to heaven with living believers.
For whatever reason (a presumption not found in Scripture), Bible scholars, teachers, students have pictured (I, too, at one time) the Rapture to occur as follows: (1) The entire sequence of events as contained in I Thessalonians 4 condensed into a nanosecond when believers will be transformed to our spiritual bodies as Paul dramatically describes in I Corinthians 15. (2) The world-at-large will neither see nor hear the events of the Rapture itself.
Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: The Shout Heard Around the World (4-22-17) and a more recent article, A Dramatic Enactment of the Rapture! (4-20-19). In those articles, I combined commentary analysis with several Scriptural references and real-life simulations to demonstrate that the entire sequence of the Rapture will (very likely) take several minutes. Only the bodily transfiguration of believers will happen in “the blink of an eye.”
Believers will not suddenly nor silently disappear … here one second, and (poof) the next second gone.
Instead, many of those left behind will witness the entire sequence of events.
Other than the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Rapture will be the most stunning event of all time, followed by one staggering episode after another during the Great Tribulation. In addition to the bodily resurrection of the dead in Christ, the purpose of the Rapture is to spare living believers from the final wrath of God poured out on a wicked world, eager to follow the detestable example of their Antichrist superhero.
I’m convinced that most of the Tribulation saints will choose Messiah Jesus in the early part of the Tribulation … within the first two years or so. To even include some “foxhole conversions” during the Rapture itself or shortly thereafter. Conversely, many unbelievers will immediately celebrate the earth’s cleansing of those “bigoted, intolerant” Christians. As the Tribulation unfolds, the minds of unbelievers will grow increasingly stubborn, their hearts progressively hard.
The first four seals—commonly called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—are NOT (yet) the Lord’s direct intervention into the Satanic agenda and/or affairs of mankind. Rather, they are God’s permissive unsealing of man-made catastrophes (war, famine, disease, death) on a truly global dimension. As bad as it has been throughout history and is in today’s world, between the Great Flood of Noah’s time and the Tribulation period, God has imposed a divine limit on the scope of Satanic evil and human wickedness in this world.
(The Four Horsemen … Revelation 6:1-8)
God’s direct supernatural (above and beyond natural disasters) judgments don’t begin until the sixth seal is broken. It is an extraordinary earthquake; one in which the sun will be darkened, the moon turned blood-red, the sky rolled up like a scroll, mountains and islands moved from their places (Revelation 6:12-14).
Moreover, Tribulation unbelievers will be fully cognizant of what’s happening and why.
Read with me and notice the awareness of the world that this sixth-seal catastrophe is directly from God. As opposed to natural disasters up to that time in which no one knows for sure whether God had commanded them at various intervals in history; or if they are simply part of nature’s increasing volatility (deterioration) since the Great Flood. Also note that, at this point, they express both fear of and respect for the Lord.
“Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?’” (Revelation 6:15-17).
As indicted in a few prior articles (for example, see Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose, posted 11-4-17), this judgment as well as the 7th seal and 1st trumpet is strikingly similar to the disasters that God will inflict on the Gog/Magog coalition and nations that support their massive invasion of Israel.
One astounding result of God’s crushing victory over Israel’s enemies (led by Russia, Iran, Turkey): “In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:23).
That’s precisely the response of the unsaved world when the sixth seal is broken.
Would the World’s Deference to God Continue? Will They Relent and Repent?
Not hardly. As is said: “Dream on.”
After the subsequent 7th seal and first four trumpet judgements, each of which is clearly an Act of God, you would think that more unbelievers than not would get it. Perhaps say something to the effect: “I’m sorry Lord, what was I thinking. You are God and there is none like you. I want Jesus to save me.”
They could but they don’t. They should but they won’t.
Still, the Lord gives the survivors more chances before he unleashes his full wrath on the world in the seven bowl judgments. By this time, even angels are proclaiming God’s ultimate sovereignty with dire warnings to a world hell-bent on defiance of all that is good, right, and true. Before the seven bowls are poured out, we read the message of the first of three angels:
“And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to his world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6-7).
To evolutionists out there … are you listening?
To all unbelievers, especially those who have procrastinated your decision about Messiah Jesus time and again … are you listening, too? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you accepted him now as Savior, than face him later as your judge?
By and large, Tribulation unbelievers won’t listen even to angels. Instead, they become little pharaohs whose hearts will harden beyond remedy.
With one major exception. Unlike Pharaoh who finally yielded to the true and living God after the firstborn male of every Egyptian household was killed, most of the left behind unsaved will still not acknowledge the sovereignty of God Almighty and their only hope of salvation through His Son, Messiah Jesus. This despite the colossal carnage caused by people (also demons, as we will see) and justified judgments inflicted by God that will result in far more deaths than just the firstborn sons of one nation.
The following is the first reference to the world’s irreversible rebelliousness during the Tribulation, recorded after the 6th Trumpet.
“But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons…. And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).
Even more mind-boggling: unbelievers had reached this point of no return after the 5th & 6th trumpet judgments. Why is that so unfathomable? Because those two catastrophes are not direct plagues from the Lord. Instead, they are demonic hordes which God permits to be released for this precise end-times period.
The 5th trumpet was a (temporary … for five months) liberation of the embodied evil angels who had been imprisoned in the Abyss since the time of Noah’s flood. They were given power to inflict excruciating wounds (stings) on only the unbelievers (Revelation 9:1-12).
How painfully ironic!
(There are several depictions of these demonic angels, described as locusts by John. This one comes the closet to representing their features as vividly pictured in Revelation)
The 6th trumpet is much worse (Revelation 9:13-19).
More demonic hordes (numbering 200 million) are released to cause death and destruction even greater than experienced thus far during the Tribulation. To the extent that 1/3 of those still alive would be killed by this malevolent army. You would think that such massive death at the hands of their comrades in crime would make them realize that worship of not only Antichrist but of Satan himself didn’t give them a protective edge after all. Now it was the forces of Satan that were torturing and killing them left and right.
God’s direct judgments resume with the 7th trumpet and then the seven bowls, well into the 2nd half of the Tribulation.
Still, the obstinacy of unbelievers continues unabated.
Only now they ratchet up their insolence several notches. Emboldened by the brazen blasphemy of their divine Emperor we read that they actually: “…cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory” (Revelation 16:9).
This malignant malice towards God (cursing Him) takes place after the 4th bowl judgment in which God releases a massive blast of heat (most likely solar flares), “causing it to scorch everyone with its fire” (Revelation 16:8).
Then again after the 5th bowl (plunging Antichrist’s regime into total darkness for a while), we read: “…and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God” (Revelation 16:10-11).
And why wouldn’t they mimic and model themselves after their Antichrist cursing champion? By now, their hearts are hard as rock; their minds irreversibly warped. We have our own messiah. Who can fight against him? We’re all in. We don’t want or need the God of heaven or His Messiah.
Right up to the ever so bitter end … Armageddon. In which their superheroes, Antichrist and the False Prophet, are simply captured; but their armies continue the vain (incomprehensibly stupid) attempt to fight against the King of all kings. I mean, they will even see Messiah Jesus (and the host of heaven) descending from the sky on white horses! Wouldn’t that be cause for pause? Perhaps panic?
Nope. Just wicked willfulness. Or willful wickedness. Take your pick.
Consequently, “Their entire army was killed…” (Revelation 19:21) by Messiah Jesus. That is unequivocally the final solution to pure evil.
One more excerpt from Out of the Abyss:
When Nero reappears on the scene, he will mesh perfectly with the wickedness of the world. The world will emulate him as a leader who allows, endorses, and even initiates this immoral, ungodly, and contemptuous fist shaking at Almighty God (Page 213).
After the last and worst of these colossal calamities, the 7th bowl—a global earthquake and giant hailstones from which, “cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble … every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled…” (Revelation 16:17-21)—we read, “They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm.”
Not the catastrophic destruction from the earthquake. No, they cursed God because of the (75-pound) hailstones. With the obvious conclusion that the hailstones were even more devastating than the earthquake.
(Only two pounds! Now try to picture a 75-pound hailstone!)
(Maybe this picture will help. Ice-balls that washed up on a Russian coastline after a large polar storm. I’m guessing the largest of these might weigh in at 20 pounds. But these ice-balls didn’t come from the sky like hailstones!)
Without meaning to be flippant: This round planet called Earth is going to be flattened. Nearly everything vertical—natural and man-made—will be horizontal. Plus, the death and destruction of the Great Tribulation will make World War II seem like a small shoot-out between two rival gangs in Chicago.
When will they ever learn? All too sadly, those who want no part of God’s Love and Amazing Grace freely and generously given through His Son, Messiah Jesus, won’t learn. Not now and not then.
However, at the final Great White Throne Judgment even the knees of raised-from-the-dead unbelievers will bend, and their tongues confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). But it will be too late then to accept Messiah Jesus as Savior or to willingly acknowledge him as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. That decision must be made while we’re alive on Planet Earth.
Things to Ponder
We who know the Lord, who have personally accepted his wonderful gift of redemption, have full assurance of our eternal destiny in heaven. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
We are forever grateful for so great a salvation. Messiah Jesus doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
With love and humility, we also want those who have not yet trusted the Lord for their salvation to do so and be spared from not only the Tribulation but delivered from an eternity separated from God.
To know that: “…Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just…” (Revelation 19:1-2).
To appreciate and acknowledge that: “The Lord is king! Let the nations tremble! He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the whole earth quake! The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy!” (Psalm 99:1-3).