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The Seven Last Plagues
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Review a few things

The close of mercy will be like the closing of Noah’s door. When the door of the ark was closed, those inside could not go outside and those outside could not get inside. Every decision was forever sealed with the closing of the door. Jesus says of Himself, “…These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens, no one can shut; and what he shuts, no one can open.” (Revelation 3:7) As it was in Noah’s day-“so shall it be.”

All inhabitants of the earth will receive the mark of the beast except those keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus. The mark will be necessary for survival. No one will be able to buy or sell except those with the mark. The remnant will be cut off from any and all earthy support. They can only live if they live by faith. What a time to be upon the earth!

The emotional distress during the time of wrath will be overwhelming for those who have not made it a practice to place their faith in Jesus. The coming tribulation will be greater than anything ever known upon earth, but Jesus has promised to provide the necessary grace we need to endure this awful time. No wonder Zephaniah said, “…Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities… Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end to all who live in the earth.” (Zephaniah 1:14-18)

Luke adds to Zephaniah’s description of the last days saying, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25,26)

Do not be overwhelmed! Paul says, “…And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Joel, speaking of the great testing time at the end of the world, said, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” (Joel 3:14-16)

Babylon’s reward

Just as we cannot understand the depth of God’s mercy, we cannot understand the severity of God’s wrath contained in the seven last plagues. To understand why Jesus is so angry with Babylon and those who receive the mark of the beast, we turn to Revelation. Notice:

“He (the seven-headed, ten horned beast, Babylon) was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb…” (Revelation 13:7,8)

“…He (Satan, the lamb-like beast) ordered them (the people of earth) to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.” (Revelation 13:14,15)

“I saw the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus…” (Revelation 17:6)

“They (the leaders of Babylon) will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)

“In her (the harlot, the one-world congress) was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth.” (Revelation 18:24)

These verses contain a great deal more information that you would casually notice. On the surface, these verses describe a one-sided conflict between people. The saints do not kill people! However, the larger issues in these verses focus on the cumulative effects of sin and rebellion within the human race. These verses describe an open, willful and explicit rebellion against God, His gospel and His messengers.

Psychologists and social scientists have written extensively on the cumulative nature of behavior. For example, the abused child often becomes a child abuser. The child of an alcoholic often adopts the attitudes of his parents and in adulthood, either becomes drug dependant or manifests a co-dependant attitude about life. In simple terms, the effect of sin upon succeeding generations is degenerative.

The second commandment addresses this very point. Jesus says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything… for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6) Two important points must be made from the commandment:

1.      Jesus is a jealous God. He is jealous for our happiness and well being. He is jealous for our sakes and not His. Human jealousy means burning with selfish interest, but in God’s case, as in any loving parent’s heart, He is jealous for the benefit of His children. Just as a loving parent deeply wants his or her child to succeed and be happy, Jesus wants no less for His children. 

 

2.      Does Jesus punish the children of their sinful parents because their parents were evil? A surface look at the second commandment would so indicate. However, look again at the commandment. Jesus does not unjustly punish the descendants of sinful parents. Rather, this commandment affirms that our Creator grants the power of choice. Because human beings have reasoning powers, we can make decisions and choices that lead to life. Jesus allows the inheritance of sin to continue within a family or society until it self-destructs. However, when the world in a corporate sense reaches this point, He steps in.

 

We see these two points demonstrated before the flood. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures… for I am grieved that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

Entertainment tonight?

Today, we shudder at the thought of lions eating Christians in ancient Roman amphitheaters in the name of entertainment. We call gladiators fighting to death before a bloodthirsty crowd “barbaric.” However, are we any different from the ancient pagans when it comes to entertainment each evening?

In the past forty years, TV has played an enormous role in destroying our social values. Generations of children have grown up watching violence, murder, theft, rape, lying, cheating, deception and illicit sex. Is there any wonder that we have become corrupted by beholding these values? Take sin out of television programs and who would watch them? What would be entertaining?

Ask most young people why they are attending school and the usual answer will tell of materialistic goals rather than service to others. This generation is the “me generation” and it is more self-centered than the preceding one. Parents cannot blame their offspring for having these values either. The older generation bears a great responsibility for the present condition. Today, most of America’s children are reared in human farms we call “day-care centers” while both parents work to possess the material things of life. The family unit has disintegrated because we deem the things of life more important than our children do! The most important things in life are not things! Think about tomorrow. What will be the cumulative effects of our sins?

The root problem is that we have broken all Ten Commandments, especially the first four commands that tell us how we should love our Creator. When we forget God, we forget our neighbor. We become self-centered. By neglecting the first four commandments, we have made void the last six commandments. The royal commandments have been set aside. We now love ourselves as we should love our neighbors!

Jesus, talking about the last days, said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) Paul, talking about the last days, said, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Consolidation

The socio-political changes happening around our world appear positive at the moment. Reduction in armament, increased trade among countries and open dialogue seems in vogue. However, a dangerous process is taking place. World control is being consolidated into the hands of fewer and fewer people. For example, in this country, 5% of our population owns more than 95%! The richer are getting richer and the poor are getting more numerous. In just a matter of time, the wealthy and the politically elite will form a global economic body to control the world.

What does this have to do with Revelation? Revelation indicates there will be a global consolidation of wealth and power. Notice that when Babylon collapses, it is the merchants and the kings of the earth that are crying! “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’ The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more…” (Revelation 18:9-11)

When the trumpets begin, the current leadership of the world will be able to respond quickly through the various communication links established through trade. The first four trumpets bring horrific destruction and each government will quickly implement contingency laws to deal with the state of emergency. In this setting, freedoms all around the world will be restricted in the name of survival.

Since the trumpets will be duly recognized as acts of God, religious leaders will become very powerful because they will have direct influence upon lawmakers. Lawmakers will cooperate with the suggestions of clerics because they know that in a state of emergency, people are spiritually inclined. “Appease God,” the clerics cry. In addition, lawmakers respond with a flurry of laws requiring righteous behavior. As nations of the world attempt to deal with the multitude of problems associated with the trumpets, they quickly turn to legislation for economic stability. The laws appear reasonable to the majority of people and penalties for civil disobedience will be severe.

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