Episode 73: End Times Judgments, Part 3- Trumpets 5-7

Peace to Live By Episode 73: End Times Judgments, Part 3- Trumpets 5-7 - Daniel Litton
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       Over the last couple of weeks we have been talking about the judgments of God that are going to occur at the end times—the end of the world as we know it now. The first week we discussed the Seal Judgments in Revelation 6, the judgments that came from the scroll with seven seals which the slain Lamb held in Heaven—the Lord Jesus Christ. Last week we went over the first four Trumpet Judgments. These are the judgments contained in the seventh seal judgment, and these bring further judgment upon the earth and the humans that will reside on the earth at that time. So, we’ve covered quite a bit as pertains to the wrath of God, to his holiness, righteousness, and justice in his judgments that will be unveiled and released toward the end. God is patiently waiting right now for people to come into saving relationship with him, but in the end, he will deal with the earth and humans as his justice dictates.

       Today, we are going to pick up where we left off last week, and that is the fifth Trumpet Judgment. Here, we pick up with the Lord Jesus Christ’s judgments upon the earth, his wrath that he has been waiting to display and execute in the world for a long time. Remember? Jesus told us this was going to happen. We read in Mark 12:36 his words, when he said: “David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”” (ESV). So, this was God’s intention from the very beginning. Peter reiterated this in his sermon in Acts 2, and the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 1. God doesn’t want anyone to have to face his judgment, as he is not willing that any should perish, but he wants everyone to come into life—into everlasting and real life—if they will only choose themselves to do so. But people have to make that choice.

       Turn in your Bibles, or tap in your Bible apps on your mobile devices, to Revelation 9. That’s where we’ll start today. The fifth Trumpet Judgment is this: “And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.” (1-6, ESV)

       In this display of God’s wrath, we see a star fall from Heaven and land on the earth. As to who this star actually is, it is probably either an angel of the Lord or it could in fact be Satan himself. Recall, Satan fell from Heaven in a similar way when he originally turned against God. Nevertheless, this individual opens the bottomless pit. Now this “bottomless pit” is likely the current Hell where certain fallen angels and already dead unbelievers dwell. This person here will not let all the chained angels out, as Jude tells us there are some chained up (from Genesis 6) which are reserved for the day of the judgment of Satan and his demons. Jesus said in Revelation 1:18, “I have the keys of Death and Hades” (ESV). If we go to Revelation 20, John records, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain” (Revelation 20:1, ESV). So, if this is in fact Hell, where would we say that Hell is located? Well, it appears that it is located either under the earth, like, say, in the center of the earth or around the center of the earth (like right above it), or it is located perhaps in another dimension. Nonetheless, the smoke from the shaft rises into the sky of the earth and causes the air in general to be clouded in darkness.

       But it is what comes out of the bottomless pit that is serious cause for concern. From this state of Hell come creatures which John describes as locusts, and many in number. These just aren’t any ordinary locusts, but are supernatural creatures. They have been given the ability to sting human beings just like scorpions can sting us today. I remember having a conversation with a park ranger out in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona where he talked about tarantellas and scorpions. I had been praying to God for the entire week of the trip, while I was on vacation, to see a tarantella up close, one that was in the wild. And it was on the last day of the trip, at the last event, that I finally got to see one. It was resting on the wall right before walking in the national park center. It was about the size of my fist. Regardless, there was a park ranger there and I asked him about tarantella bites versus scorpion stings. Both creatures were in Saguaro National Park, but I did not see any scorpions. Anyway, the ranger said a tarantella bite was unpleasant, and might make a person a little sick. He said a scorpion sting was about 10 times the effect of a tarantella bite, and that if a person got stung, that person was going to be lying in bed sick for a while—for days even. He said he would take a tarantella bite any day over a scorpion sting.

       We know that locusts normally harm grass, plants, and trees. But not these locusts talked about here at the end times. These creatures are sent out to actually harm and torment people on the earth who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads. As an aside, people who have God’s seal are those 144,000 Jewish individuals talked about in Revelation 7. God seals 12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The passage here tells us that these creatures could in fact torment the unsealed individuals for five months straight. No matter where people are at on the earth, these creatures will hunt them down and find them. Whether they are out and about shopping, at a restaurant, at the movies, at school, at work, and even at home, these creatures will forcibly come upon people and torment them. It will be worse then a horror movie. They will cause tremendous trouble.

       So, lots of people are going to be sick. In fact, God is going to prohibit people from being able to die during this time so that they can endure the torment, sort of like what is going to happen in the future for those who ultimately go to Hell when they die. People will not be able to seemingly escape the fear and pain by killing themselves. Somehow, God will make suicide impossible. And he has the power to do this because he is sovereign (see Job 14:5). He decides when every individual who exists dies. No one ever dies without God deciding that is when the person is going to die. God holds the power of life and death in his hands. Therefore, God has decided here that nobody is going to die from these creatures. The text says the torment from the creatures will be so bad that people long die versus actually living. And this is ironic, because if they were able to die, they would go to Hell where the torment would be much greater.

       Continuing in Revelation 9 about these locusts: “In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.” (7-12, ESV)

       These supernatural creatures from the bottomless pit, some form of a demon possibly, are eager to get on with the destructiveness—their torment. They are ready as horses are for battle time. John described them as wearing crowns. This could show their superiority to human beings, since they are supernatural creatures with supernatural strength. He also describes them as having human faces. So, they have intelligence like a human; they are smart beings. Apparently, they will be attractive in some way, since John says they have hair like a woman’s hair. They may have some way to attract people to them. Their lion’s teeth display that they are vicious and attacking creatures, bring much hard to their prey. Their breastplates of iron reveal they are incapable of being defeated; no human will be able to overcome them. John even says that the noise of their wings, or their just going about the earth, is a bother and draws attention for everyone to see. They will be on the earth for five months, using their tails with the sting like the sting of a scorpion to inflict harm and torment to human beings living on the earth at this time.

       Among these creatures is their leader, who John talks about here, and he is the leader of the bottomless pit. So, this would be one of Satan’s chief demons. Two names are mentioned here for this supernatural leader, a Hebrew name and a Greek name. These names go to show that the judgment brought about by this individual and the supernatural locusts will be for both the unbelieving Jewish people and unbelieving Gentiles (all other peoples). These two groups encompass the makeup of the world as God sees it. Now, this judgment, John tells us, is only the first woe that the eagle originally told us was going to come. Two more severe judgments are coming from the Lord Jesus Christ.

       The sixth Trumpet Judgment: “Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.” (13-16, ESV)

       Here, at the sixth Trumpet Judgment, we see that when the angel blows his trumpet, a voice comes from the four hours of the golden alter, which is before God’s throne. Note, this is probably either the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had been standing near the throne earlier, or this could be the voice of the angel who was at the alter of incense (see Revelation 5:6, 8:3). Anyway, the point is that four angels are going to be released who have been bound for a time at the great river Euphrates. Now, we know the importance of the Euphrates River from studying Scripture, for God created this river at the very beginning of time, in Genesis 2, and this river was carried over into the new world after the Flood of Noah. It would appear that there are four angels, possibly today, bound at that river in the supernatural realm. As to who these four fallen angels are, it could be that they are demonic rulers in the spiritual realm who ruled on the earth in the kingdoms of the world, like we we saw in Daniel 10. Remember? We studied this. There, one ruler was called the Prince of Persia.

       Nevertheless, in a way that perhaps we cannot understand, these fallen angelic beings have been prepared for a mass slaughter of human beings here on the earth. Since they have been currently bound, perhaps due to their gross violence and wickedness, God is going to have them released so they can accomplish his will. Along with these angel leaders are a whole army of fallen angels, perhaps demons that are currently unbound, and he tells us their number is “twice ten thousand times ten thousand.” So, 10,000 times 10,000 is a 100,000,000 and two times that is 200,000,000. That’s how many fallen angels are in this army. And, he goes to show that this number is not a mistake by adding the phrase here, “I heard their number.” John’s saying, “I’m not joking folks.” That’s an enormous amount of demonic beings.

       Continuing in the passage: “And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.” (Revelation 9:17-19, ESV)

       In this section, the Apostle John talks about how he saw both the riders and the horses. For the riders, he says that they wore breastplates which were multi-colored. The colors were that of fire, so orange or red, that of sapphire, probably a darker blue, and sulfur, which is a greenish or yellowish color. John moves to describe the supernatural horse-like creatures which the demon forces are riding. Based off of what John says here, he likely is using the term horse to describe these creatures to us, but they probably are not literal horses. He describes these creates of having heads like lions. That’s pretty frightening and definitely portrays a vicious creature in this context. If you consider their heads like lions and later their tails, what comes to my mind is almost like a dinosauric type creature, like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or perhaps, on a smaller scale, even an alligator.

       What’s even worse is the power that these supernatural creatures hold. These beasts are said to be able to spew out fire, smoke, and suffer from their mouths. And this is how they kill people. Each to these different abilities John calls as plagues. They will kill one-third of all the people living on the world at that time. That’s a huge number of people besides those who have already been killed by the other judgments. As a matter of fact, if you add up the number of people killed to this point, it would be over half of the world’s population. Therefore, if this were happening today, that would be about three and a half billion people. John also mentions that the beings have power in their tails as well. So, their tails are described as like live snakes with a head, and of course we know that some snakes will bite, and these snakes definitely strike their blow on people. And these blows kill them.

       Next, we read: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20, 21 ESV)

       John moves to talking about those who are still alive here on the earth after these the first six Trumpet Judgments are over. Apparently, some people on the earth at this time still have an ability to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ. We know that anyone who ultimately receives the mark of the beast, the number 666 on his forehead or his hand cannot be saved. That person is cut-off from God forever; he is guilty of an eternal sin. My point is that at this time at the end of the sixth Trumpet Judgment, it must be that not everyone has received the mark of the beast yet. Thus, there is still opportunity for people to repent. Unfortunately, John says that no one did in fact decide to repent. Rather, they stayed in their sins and continued to worship whatever false religions they believed in, and of course the Antichrist and false prophet. People don’t turn from the other world religions like Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. They continue to believe and serve these false gods as if they were real. They refuse to believe in the true God of the world.

       And not only this, but the people at the end times will also be sinful, like people are today, but even more sinful because Jesus told us, recall, that lawlessness will be increased at the end times. If you think sin runs rampant today, it really will be bad toward the end. John mentions four particular sins here, which are murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft. Evidently, these are the sins that are most popular at the end times. It could be that people will murder each other because of the great fear in the world and lack of available resources due to God’s judgments. Plus, law enforcement will be at an all-time low. Again, as far as sorceries go, people will still believe in false gods, and likely will seek their attention. People will be looking for answers, but in all the wrong places. Of course, sexual immorality is listed here as well. We can imagine that this kind of immorality will have degraded even farther than it has in our day and age. Sins like homosexuality, polygamy, and even grosser sexual perversions will be common. Lastly, John mentions thefts, and this seems obvious due to the fact of the chaos on certain parts of the earth, as people will likely be stealing from each other for both needed goods and even food. It is likely that food will be hard to come by in certain areas and situations.

       Now, I want to stay on track here in talking about the Trumpet Judgments, so we are going to flip over to Revelation 11 and continue this discussion. So, if we go over there, and we pick up in verse 15, we read: “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (Revelation 11:15-18, ESV)

       The seventh Trumpet here is one of encouragement really. It describes what is about to happen in the near future, and these events are told as if they have already happened. They are spoke about in the past tense, even though they haven’t happened yet, and even though there still must be some things which take place first before this. Nevertheless, the loud voices in Heaven tell us the ultimate truth, and that is that the current world system has become Jesus’ kingdom, and he is going to maintain rulership of this kingdom forever in the future. Remember, this is what we have been praying about as Christians, in our Lord’s prayer, that God’s kingdom would come, that his will would in fact be done, on earth as it already is in Heaven. And that prayer, that calling into existence from us, his saints, is about to be fulfilled. Thousands of years of prayer pays off.

       Next John talks about the twenty-four elders. He had talked about them previously, and as to who these saints of God are there are definitely varying opinions. It’s likely that these humans are twenty-four choice saints that God has chosen to represent the saints who have died up until this time. This group could include the Eleven Apostles, plus the Apostle Matthias, as well as twelve representative Christians of the twelve Tribes of Israel. It may also be that these are just twenty-four chosen saints besides the Apostles and representatives of the twelve tribes. The time we first meet these individuals is near the beginning of the Book of Revelation, in chapter 4. Some might want to note that they have to be from the Church Age since they exist before the martyrs of the Tribulation period, and the 144,000 sealed Jews. And that seems plausible, unless somehow God had these people there beforehand (as if the space-time continuum was altered).

       Notice then that the twenty-four elders fall on their faces and worship God, telling about how great and powerful he is to have accomplished this task. They first thank God for what he has done by establishing Christ’s rule on the earth. They note that God was and is, for he is the only non-created being in existence. And it is by his great power that he has accomplished this wonderful triumph over sin and Satan, taking the world back to be entirely and only under his influence. They point out how the nations were against God and his ways, and how God was righteous to deal with them as he did—with his wrath against them. It is also true that God is going to judge people who have died apart from Christ, without receiving God’s gift of salvation because they wanted to do it their own way. They wanted to be their own gods, like Satan talked about in Genesis 3. Recall? And we know that God is going to throw these individuals into the Lake of Fire. And, of course, God rewards those of us who have loved him throughout time, giving us the desires of our hearts and eternal peace with him. Finally, the elders mention that God is going to lock up Satan and his demonic forces, so that they can no longer bring harm to God’s world and his people.

       Finally, we read: “Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.” (Revelation 11:19, ESV)

       This first sentence here about God’s temple in Heaven being opened is very significant. Let us remind ourselves that in the Old Testament, God’s temple was closed to everyone, that is the Holy of Holies, where the ark of the covenant was, except to the high priest. Only he could go in that area of the Temple. But here in the future, the Heavenly Temple, of which the Jewish earthly Temple represented, will be opened permanently, and we see the real Ark of the Covenant here in the midst of the Temple. The ark that was used on earth was the copy of the real one which is in Heaven. Do you remember? God told the Israelites how to design it. Regardless, the significance here is that with the Holy of Holies opened, that means that all believers in Heaven will get to experience God’s presence forever. We will be in his presence on a permanent basis, which is truly awesome, and we will be surrounded by his love forever. We enter everlasting fellowship with him. Now, “the flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail” represent God’s powerfulness, awesomeness, and majesty. Christ is King, and he is going to rule on the renovated earth for the Millennial Kingdom, and in the new Heaven and new earth, forever.

       In closing, perhaps all of this I've been talking about today has been new to you, or maybe you've studied this before, but you have never believed on Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. You have never placed your trust in him and his Word. Know that God wants everyone to come to know him—no matter who the person is. He offers his free gift of salvation from sins and eternal life to whoever will believe in him. Jesus Christ died on the cross as a perfect substitute and rose from the dead defeating the power of sin and Satan altogether. Jesus can make you free from your sins today, and he will also give you freedom from their stronghold. You don't have to keep living feeling trapped today. No matter what you've done or what your situation is—all sin can be forgiven and you can be made new today through Jesus' sacrifice on your behalf on the cross. God gives people new lives today.

       Being at peace with God is really important for you. You don't want to leave this earth without that peace, without the assurance of where you are going when you die. Don't think you're smarter than God today. No one—no matter how smart you think you are, no matter how much credit you give yourself—can escape from God's wrath in the future apart from Christ. God doesn't want to have to send anyone to Hell for their sins against him, but he will because he is a holy and righteous God, and he cannot let sin go unpunished. Don't choose Hell today. Don't choose to keep your sin today. I plead with you to turn from your sin, and accept Jesus' perfect sacrifice on your behalf. He did it for you so you can truly be free. No one is really free apart from the freedom that God offers through Christ. Oh, you may think you're free, but you haven't experienced true freedom until your in a right and peaceful relationship with God, the One who has created everything.

       If you would like to accept Jesus today as your personal Lord and Savior, then follow my lead in this prayer:

God, I am not right with you. I have sinned my whole life, living doing things the way I have wanted to do them. But today I accept your free gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus. I believe Jesus did die on the cross for my sins, and that he rose from the dead and is back in Heaven with you. I give my life back to you, Father, and want you to make me new. I want to be like Jesus. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton