|Rev.9:||12: One woe is past; and,
behold, there come two woes more hereafter. |
13: And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14: Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15: And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
16: And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17: And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
18: By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
The events that occur at the 2nd Woe
are so catastrophic that nothing we can say or write will adequately
describe them. Here is a woe that defies the imagination and leaves
even the enlightened believer aghast; and because of this we will
simply list the three main events scheduled to occur at this Trumpet
and then very briefly explain them.
To begin with, the reader must bear in mind that the record of the 2nd Woe begins in Rev. 9.12, continues right through chapter 10 and ends at Rev. 11 verse 14. The events that are described between these two scriptural boundaries, therefore, are contemporary, they occur during the same period of time, that is - during the 2nd Woe. This is an important point to remember, especially when trying to interpret the events of Revelation chapter 11, which deals initially with the overthrow of Jerusalem and the work of the Two Witnesses.
The three main events scheduled to occur at the 2nd Woe (the 6th Trumpet) are as follows:
Let us now consider these three events
and discover what is going to happen on earth at the 2nd Woe.
The Great River Euphrates mentioned in Revelation 9: 14 is not
the natural stream of water which flows in the Middle East, but
a great spiritual outflow upon which sits that mighty metropolis
of evil, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS! The
literal Euphrates on earth, real enough though it is, is merely
the physical replica or shadow of the Great River Euphrates
above. At this point we will briefly explain the second, vital
clue to understanding Bible prophecy.
The first clue is
to realise that certain prophecies in God's Word are written in
symbolic language. To understand them one must compare Scripture
with Scripture and allow the Bible to interpret itself. This
process was explained earlier.
The second clue is to know that
certain realities in the spirit realm above are reflected or duplicated
in some physical way on this earth. In other words, here below,
in a very real and measurable form, we find miniature models,
transient earthly counterparts, scaled-down physical replicas
of the mighty spiritual originals which exist in the realms
above. There is, then, this significant difference between a symbol
and a model. Symbols are used in Bible prophecy
to represent the qualities, characteristics, procedures, work
and purposes of human or spiritual agencies. Whereas models
are miniature copies or replicas of the agencies themselves.
For example, consider a candlestick. It is used in Bible prophecy
to symbolise the church's duty or purpose to shed spiritual
light. A candlestick is a symbol of a church group, not
a replica of one. The literal Euphrates, on the other hand, is
a model, a scaled-down physical replica, a miniature copy of
the spiritual Euphrates above. The prophecy of the Revelation
has a great deal to say about these earthly counterparts;
and as we study them here below we are able to learn a great deal
about what is happening in the realms above.
Returning to the prophecy with this second
clue in mind, we find that at the 2nd Woe four mighty angels are
released from somewhere within the Great River Euphrates. They
are obviously beings of awesome authority and power, and in the
echelons of evil they stand as near to Satan as the four living
creatures do to God. (see Rev. 4:6-8 where the throne of the Almighty
is briefly described)
This prophecy states that at the 2nd
Woe, one third of mankind will be slain. That is TWO BILLION people!
Let the reader pause for a moment and consider that stunning fact; for it means that in the near future, even at the present count, some 2,000,000,000 people are going to die at this Woe. This colossal figure of two thousand million represents the combined populations of China, and India. Or, put another way, all of Europe, the U.S.A Canada, Russia, Japan and several other nations besides. How this coming holocaust will be brought about is not fully explained; but it is going to happen nonetheless, for the scripture must be fulfilled. I repeat: One third of earth's population are scheduled to die under this 2nd Woe! We could, of course, speculate as to what type of warfare, if any, will bring this about (nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological, electronic or conventional) but we will not, because we could be totally wrong. The prophecy simply states that:
And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. (Rev. 9:15)
Strange as it may seem, the remaining
two thirds of mankind do not link this massive slaughter with
personal or national sin: for we are told that at
that time people will still be unrepentant and will continue in
their witchcraft, idolatry, deception and blasphemy. (Rev. 9:20-21)
Here is spiritual blindness (or is it stubborn pride?) as its
worst. Chapter 10 is inserted into the mainstream of the prophecy
at this stage and the scene changes somewhat.
The reader must, however, bear in
mind that the 2nd Woe is still in progress and will remain so
till Revelation 11 verse 14 is reached.
In chapter 10 we read of how the prophet
is given a little, open book. He is told to eat
it. The open book could either be the prophetic book of Daniel,
which was to be kept sealed or shut till the time of the end when
it would be understood (Daniel 12:4). Or it could be the seven-sealed
scroll which the Lamb had just taken from the Almighty's hand
and opened seal by seal (Rev. 5:1-5). Either way, the message
of the open book is sweet to the taste; that is, to those who
figuratively eat, understand and believe it.
But the reality of this Woe, when witnessed, is very, very bitter
indeed. 'One third of mankind is slain!' That,
dear reader, is a bitter prospect by anyone's standards. The
bitterness will be bearable, however, especially when one considers
that the prophecy does not have long to run. The end of all things
will take place, we are told, in the days of the seventh
angel, when he begins to sound his trumpet. (Rev. 10:7)
The message of Revelation 10 is one of great encouragement, for it reminds all believers of two things:
Having briefly considered the message
of Revelation chapter 10, let us now return to the mainstream
of the prophecy and continue with the events of the 2nd Woe.
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. (Rev. 11:2)
We know that the term 'holy' or
'great city' means Jerusalem because in verse 8 it identifies
this city as 'where also our Lord was crucified.'
That means - Jerusalem. The rising tension in the
Middle East strongly suggests that an all-out attack on Jerusalem
is not only inevitable
but near. The whole Arab world, and many other nations
besides, are lining up against the tiny nation of Israel, and
it will not be long before the predicted attack will occur and
Jerusalem will be captured.
Please note that the 42 month duration
of Jerusalem's subjugation is 42 literal months, which is 1260
days or three and a half years. The principle of reckoning a day
for a year and arriving at 1260 years does not apply in the prophecy
of the Revelation. Some commentators have used that principle
here and as a result have been obliged to begin this Woe in the
distant past, some 1260 years ago. Because of this misapplication
they have been unable to point to any time since the Revelation
was given (AD96) when a 'third of mankind was slain,' or
when 'Jerusalem was under the heel of the Gentiles for
1260 years.' Never in history has a third of mankind been
slain; nor has Jerusalem ever been trampled under foot by Gentiles
for an exact period of 1260 years, or days for that matter. Any
historian will confirm that Jerusalem has been over-run by Gentile
armies several times in its long and tumultuous past, but never
for an exact period of 1260 years. So the day for a year
principle cannot possibly apply in the book of Revelation.
The only remaining alternative is that
at the 2nd Woe
which is still future
the present Middle East crisis will erupt and after another blood-bath
the city of Jerusalem will be captured by the Gentiles. The exact
42 months period of brutal domination will then begin. Grim though
this prospect may appear to those of us who worship the God of
Israel, all is not lost, for the Messiah is scheduled to return
to earth and to liberate Jerusalem from Gentile rule.
Speaking through the prophet Zechariah, Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel has this to say about the end-time capture and liberation of Jerusalem.
|Zec.14:|| 1: Behold, the day of the
LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2: For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3: Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4: And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5: And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8: And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9: And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
This amazing prophecy about Jerusalem
being attacked, captured and then miraculously delivered by the
Messiah who is to descend upon the split Mount of Olives has obviously
never been fulfilled. In other words, it has still to happen;
and happen it will in the near future. All the events in
the Middle East indicate that the final scenes are set; the mounting
tension, the anger of the nations at Israel's behaviour, the utter
fruitlessness of the various peace talks, the trade and arms embargoes,
the outbreaks of anti-Semitism around the globe, all these
indicate that a multinational attack on Jerusalem is not only
certain but imminent.
We may be absolutely sure, however, that in spite of all these foreboding signs, pregnant with peril as most of them are, behind and above them all the Almighty God of Israel is working His twofold plan out. And that plan is this:
Following the clue of comparing scripture with scripture, we will turn to the prophecy of Ezekiel where in chapters 40 and 43 a similar instruction to measure the Temple of God was carried out. In the vision of Ezekiel, the prophet is given detailed measurements of every conceivable part of the temple: the wall, the gates, the chambers, the pillars and posts, the steps, the galleries, the courts and even the territory on which the temple stood. All were accurately measured and the specifications cover several chapters of Ezekiel's book.
"And why." you may well ask, "was the temple measured? What was the Almighty's purpose in ordering that painstaking exercise?"
The answer is, the temple was measured so that God's people could see, investigate and learn to live by the laws and principles which govern true worship of Yahweh the God of Israel. Here is proof of this astonishing fact.
|Ezekiel 43:||10: Thou son of man,
shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed
of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.|
11: And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and DO them.
The order to rise and measure
the Temple, in other words, is the Almighty's way of drawing
His people's attention to the principles and laws of the Temple
in Heaven: the sacred original of which the earthly temple was
but a copy. And this is precisely what He aims to do during the
2nd Woe, while a third of earth's mighty population is perishing.
He will then open the eyes of the innumerable multitude of believers
to the eternal principles and laws of the Temple in Heaven, its
layout, its structure, its services and its divine purpose.
And many believers who had previously rejected the commandments
of God at the time of Sealing will at this Woe begin to understand
and obey the regulations of the Temple which governs the worship
of Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel. They will then repent
of their sins and begin to keep the commandments of God in accordance
with His will.
|Rev.11||19 And the Temple of God was opened
in heaven |
and there was seen in his Temple the Ark of his Testament.
Yes, the Ark of the Testament, in which is deposited the original version of Yahweh's perfect law, (the eternal constitution of the mighty universe) is still within the heavenly Temple and John saw it over 60 years after the resurrection. The reader may be sure that at the 2nd Woe, when the Temple in heaven is measured, those same principles and laws enshrined within the Ark of the Covenant will arouse the interest of believers all over the world. Then many will be ashamed of their hitherto rebellious attitude towards Jehovah's laws and will begin to keep His commandments just as He directed in the vision of Ezekiel.
|Ezekiel 43:||11 ... write it in their sight,
that they may keep the whole form thereof,|
and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
This measuring of the Temple, in short,
is a divine call to obedience, a call which is directly linked
with the message of the Two Witnesses, who we will now consider.
|Rev.11:|| 3: And I will give power
unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand
two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.|
4: These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5: And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6: These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
7: And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Who are the Two Witnesses, the two symbolic olive trees that stand before the God of the earth? They are two spirit-filled beings who come down from the Temple in Heaven. The prophet Zechariah tells of them in the following words:
|Zechariah 4:|| 11: Then answered I,
and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right
side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? |
12: And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
13: And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
14: Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the LORD of the whole earth.
Though we cannot at this stage be certain as to the identity of the Two Witnesses, because their names are not given, these scriptures tell us the following facts about the Two Witnesses and their work.
It is not necessary at this point in
time to further identify the Two Witnesses, because when they
do eventually arrive on the earth the whole world will speedily
become aware of their presence. There will be no mistaking them
or the absolute authority with which they preach. Even in the
city of Jerusalem, which at the time will be under the Gentile
heel, they will declare the message of God with awesome effect.
No earthly authority will dare restrain them, for like Elijah
of old they are able to reduce their opponents to ashes; and like
Moses and Aaron, can cause all manner of plagues. (2 Kings 1,
Exodus chapters 7 to 12)
Many and varied have been the claims
and interpretations concerning the Two Witnesses, but not one
of them meets all the conditions listed above. Nor is that surprising,
for these two divine messengers can only appear on the world's
scene at God's appointed time, which is when a third of the world's
population is being slain and the city of Jerusalem is under the
Gentile heel. When they do arrive, however, they will bring to
all mankind a final appeal from God. Their message will be, in
fact, the same call to repentance and obedience which every
true prophet of God has delivered since the days of Enoch. Multitudes
of believers from every nation, kindred tongue and people will
heed their call and begin to obey God's law. This will be the
time when the innumerable multitude (see page 12) will wash
their robes and come into line with the eternal principles
of God's law which is within the Ark of the Covenant
inside the Temple of Heaven.
The vast majority of mankind, however,
will reject the Two Witnesses and their powerful call to repentance,
faith and obedience. Why? Because at about that time the most
diabolical Agent of Evil this world has ever seen will be parading
the earth and seducing its inhabitants into serving Satan. The
Two Witnesses will be murdered by this being, who is symbolically
referred to in the Revelation as the Beast.
For further information, see files Two Witnesses and Who/What is the Antichrist for more information on these beings. This brings us to the end of the 6th Trumpet, the terrifying 2nd Woe, when within a short space of three and a half years:
SBS Prophecy Book Index