Lesson 18
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Our previous study in Revelation 12 revealed an important sequence of four steps beginning with the birth of Jesus:

  1. Satan attempted to take the life of baby Jesus.
  2. Satan chased the true church into the desert for 1,260 years.
  3. Satan spewed water from his mouth to sweep the church away during the Reformation. The earth helped the woman by opening up a new continent offering religious liberty and freedom of worship – North America.
  4. Satan goes off to prepare for final war on the remnant of God’s people. The remnant is identified as obeying the commandments of God and holding to the testimony of Jesus.

A time of wrath

We need to review two points from Daniel’s vision recorded in Daniel 8 to understand the term “the appointed time of the end.” Gabriel said something very important about the appointed time of the end to Daniel, “Son of man, understand that the vision concerns the time of the end…I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.” Daniel 8:17,19

Gabriel clearly indicates there is a period or time of wrath associated with the appointed time of the end.  Later in the vision, Gabriel again mentions the time of wrath.  Talking about the king of the North, Gabriel said, “The king will do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard0of things against the God of gods.  He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.”  Daniel 11:36

Notice that the king of the North is successful until the time of wrath is completed!  (The king of the North will be studied later,)  For now, just understand that this king is incredibly successful until the time of wrath is finished.

Notice what John says about the wrath of Jesus at the second coming. “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  They called to the mountains and the rocks ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? ‘“ Revelation 6:15-17

144,000 Being Sealed   7 Trumpets is a time of wrath mixed with mercy   7 Last Plagues contain the fullness of God's wrath
Today The Shaking    


Two Witnesses testify for 1,260 days


Babylon persecutes saints 42 months

The censer is thrown down when 144,000 and Remnant 1 are ready   Mercy closed when everyone had made his decision.   Second Coming

The Time of Wrath

Important questions

When does the time of wrath occur?  What is the purpose of the time of wrath?  What causes all the anger?

The time of wrath begins when the censer is thrown down.  The censer is thrown down in heaven because God’s forbearance with evil, in a corporate sense, has reached the point of no return.  Just as Moses angrily threw down the Ten Commandments when he came down the mountain and saw the wickedness of Israel, so the angel before the alter of incense throws down the censer indicating the wrath of God has come! Thus, the fourth seal is opened, the four winds are loosed, and the seven trumpets sound to awaken the people of the world that Jesus is concluding his intercession in the heavenly sanctuary.  The first seven plagues (or trumpets) are redemptive and are mixed with mercy.  On the other hand, the seven last plagues occur after the trumpets sound and all who received the mark of the beast will receive the full strength of God’s wrath!  Notice the warning, “If any one worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.”  Revelation 14:9,10

This text indicates that a point yet future, God’s fury will be poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.  During the trumpets, God’s fury is not poured full strength upon the human race because the seven first plagues are designed to awaken, arouse and rescue as many people as possible.  However, when everyone has made his decision for or against the gospel, probation then closes.  Everyone on earth will have heard the everlasting gospel and made a decision.  Those in opposition to God have rejected the clearest revelation pf His will through His Two Witnesses.  God can do no more to save people.

Then, the seven last plagues follow.  These terrible judgments sum up God’s terrible wrath.  John says, “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues – last because with them God’s wrath is completed.” Revelation 15:1

The wrath of God is reasonable

Revelation is clear that God’s wrath is poured out, full strength, upon those receiving the mark of the beast. Why would He do this?

  1. Everyone has heard the full gospel of salvation and either rejected or accepted it.
  1. Those rejecting the gospel willfully and knowingly side with Satan in open and defiant rebellion against God and become the instruments through which Satan persecutes God’s people.

Not only will people reject God’s invitation to salvation, they will kill those giving the invitation! The wicked will be enraged by the gospel and many will die for their faith.  The opening of the fifth seal marks this martyrdom. When the seven last plagues are pored out on the enemies of God, they suffer in the extreme.  The awful justice of Jesus will be demonstrated.  And as terrible as these last plagues are, John heard an angel saying to Jesus, “You are just in these judgments, for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets.”  Revelation 16:5,6

Our world has reached the same depth of iniquity as ancient Jerusalem.  We only lack a global catalyst to start these events.  We will see people betray one another; we will see people killing one another.  Right before us is a time of great wrath. We will behold a world of unrepentant and rebellious people!  Suffering and bloodshed will be worse than during the French Revolution!

But notice the forces at work.  Those following Satan will receive the of God.  Those following Jesus will receive the wrath of the devil.  No one escapes the time of wrath.  Jesus, knowing what the power of the gospel would eventually do to earth, said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.  Anyone who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:34-39

First surprise – then rapid reaction

To more clearly understand why there will be a time of wrath, even a global war against the saints, you need to consider the effect of the trumpets.

When the wrath of Jesus breaks out, the entire world will be destabilized.  Economic, governmental, social and religious processes all over the world will change overnight!

Contingency laws will be made effective in just a few hours for a “state of emergency” will be declared in all quarters of the globe.  In just a few days, the people of earth will recognize the judgments to be “acts of God.”  In desperation, people in every land will inquire, “What does God want?”  Priest, rabbi, pastor, guru, bishop, witch doctor and everyone else claiming to be a spiritual leader will all say the same thing!  The clergy of every religious body will say, “God is angry because we have become evil.”

There is something about an emergency that unites the interests and hopes of people.  The first four trumpets create a global emergency.  People will experience a certain unity for this will not be an issue of people against people, but rather, God against people!  Religious and political leaders of earth will quickly seek a common means of appeasing God for the entire world is hurting!  This global union to appease God is called “Babylon” in Revelation.  It is a confederation of religious and political powers.  On the surface, the ecumenical harmony between these bodies appears reasonable.  After all, everyone wants the judgments to stop immediately!

But how is God to be appeased?  The answer from every land will be “obedience.”  But the question rises again – “obey what?”  The Moslems appeal to the Koran.  The Catholics appeal to the Pope.  The Jews appear to the Torah.  The Buddhists appeal to the ancient writings.  The Protestants appeal to the Bible – but what does the Bible say?  This question will be studied in more detail in lesson 20, for now, understand that the answer to this question will become the most important question ever asked by human beings.

Revelation indicates the devil will appear (during fifth trumpet) after Babylon is established to take control of the organization and ultimately the world.  Also, those refusing to go along with the official program in their land will be killed.  In a state of emergency, tolerance is not possible.  During this period of trouble, the 144,000 proclaim the full gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.  Their message is described in Revelation 14. We will look into this later.

The full gospel will identify the official plans of Babylon as false and deceptive.  Babylon’s official solution for appeasing God is not based on Scripture.  Rather, Babylon’s official solution runs contrary to what God wants!  Babylon’s plan is based on false doctrine!

Even more, when the devil gloriously arrives upon earth, the saints will unveil his work for what it is – a gross deception? Because people the world over will be suffering and longing for any kind of hope of relief, millions will receive Satan as God.  When the devil arrives upon earth, the religious conflict intensifies.  If history proves any point, it is that people do not take kindly to derogatory remarks being made about their God.  With a large part of the world believing that Satan is actually God, those calling the devil by his right name will not be tolerated long.

Peace and safety?

Remember the words of Paul?  “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” I Thessalonians 5:1-3

Two points need to be made.  First, the sudden destruction described in I Thessalonians 5:1-3 comes as a surprise to the world.  When the world is carried away with the prospect of global peace and safety – sudden destruction comes.  Is there any subject of greater importance than peace today?  Changes all over the world are occurring much faster than ever anticipated.  Even though these rapid movements hold the world’s attention and interest, most people do not know that God foretold this!  Even more, Revelation clearly tells how the sudden destruction will occur!

Secondly, when the sealing of the 144,000 is completed and “remnant 1” is chosen, the four angels holding back the four winds let go and the trumpets begin.  (The four winds are the four judgments described in the fourth seal.  Review Revelation 6:8) These judgments result from the blasts of the trumpets!  By looking at the newspaper you can see we stand at the door of an irreversible countdown of events for “peace and safety” is being called for by the leaders of the world.

One mad devil

We have already seen that Revelation 12 brings us chronologically to the time of the end. In verse 17, Satan goes off to prepare to make war on the last of God’s people.  The devil is enraged for he knows his time is short.  Read all of Revelation 13:1-10 in your Bible and then continue with this lesson.

Revelation 13:1-10 describes the rise of Babylon and explains a few things about the coming war you should be prepared for.  John says, “And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.  And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.  He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.” Revelation 13:1

Note:  Some translations say, “And I (John) stood on the shore of the sea.”  The problem stems from the use of the pronoun.  The pronoun can be translated as “it “ or “I.” The context seems to better support the idea that John was standing on the shore and that John saw the beast rise out of the sea.

What does John see?  What is the meaning of this dragon-beast?  Carefully read each of the following points and remember that we are dealing with a chronological sequence that occurs at the end of time.

  1. John sees a beast having seven heads and ten horns rise out of the sea.  On each head is a blasphemous name. {V1}
  2. The beast resembled a leopard, had feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion. {V2}
  3. The dragon (from Chapter 12) gave the beast his power, throne and authority. {V2}
  4. One of the seven heads seemed to have a fatal wound but the fatal wound had been healed. {V3}
  5. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. {V3}
  6. Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast?”  Who can make war against him?” {V4}
  7. The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for 42 months.  {V5}
  8. He was given a mouth to blaspheme God.  {V6}
  9. He was given power to make war on the saints and to conquer them.  He was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. {V7}
  10. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – except those whose names are in the book of life. {V8}
  11. He, who has an ear, let him hear. {V9}
  12. Those going into captivity will go into captivity and those to be martyred will be martyred.  The saints remain firm, patient and faithful.  {V10}

Some points summarized

The chronological story that began in chapter 12 is continued in chapter 13.  When John wrote Revelation, he did not place the divisions we call chapters and verses in the story

The contents of chapter 13 follow in chronological order.  The war against the remnant that Satan prepares for in 12:17 is described in 13:1-10.

Five major points can be summarized from what we have read of chapter 13:

  1. Satan’s final warfare will be global.  All inhabitants of earth will worship the beast except the remnant.  {V7, 8}
  2. The seven-headed, ten-horned beast (hereafter called Babylon) will consist of a federation or alliance of several powers.  The seven heads represent seven blasphemous religious powers. {V1, 2}  The horns represent ten political powers.  The identity of the horns and heads will be studied later in this lesson.
  3. Babylon does not last forever!  It is empowered for a limited time-period of 42 months or 1,260 literal days.  The saints will have to be courageous, patient and faithful to Jesus for they will be fiercely warred upon.  {V5, 10}  This coming time-period of persecution is representative of the 1,260 years of persecution experienced by the woman in chapter 12.  In other words, the remnant experiences a day for each year!  Compare Ezekiel 4:5,6 and Numbers 14:34 for confirmation on this concept.
  4. The entire world will compromise, support and obey the directives of Babylon.  It will be oppressive and encompassing.  During the state of emergency, all freedoms will be taken away from the people.  Many will say, “You can’t fight this.  You can’t win!”  Babylon raises out of the sea which means that it raises to power out of a coalition of nations, multitudes and peoples.  (Waters represent multitudes of peoples, nations and languages.  Revelation 17:15) The various parts of the beast that comprises Babylon, the lion, bear and leopard, represent remnant portions of ancient world empires.  Compare Daniel 7:12 with revelation 13:2. When Babylon rises to power, one of the seven heads that had been fatally wounded is healed.  This points forward to the restoration of Papal power.  Just as the Papacy had dominion for 1,260 years before it was wounded by Napoleon, the Papacy will return to domination!  Any observer of current affairs recognizes that in just 20 years, the Papacy has reached a level of prominence not seen since its fall in 1798.  The deadly wound is almost healed.
  5. The great red dragon in chapter 12 (having seven heads and ten horns) is the power behind Babylon.  This may be confusing for a moment.  One way to understand this is to think of a person putting his hand in a hand puppet.  The power of the puppet comes from hand within the puppet.  In a similar way, Satan’s evil hand controls the religious and political bodies that make up Babylon and through them he wars upon the saints.

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