Study 7
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World War III

The fifth trumpet marks the appearing of the devil and his angels. God permits the devil and his angels to occupy the nations of Earth and torment people who have not made a decision for God or the devil. For a five month period, God will allow the devil to inflict great suffering upon the remaining people who have not accepted salvation, but have defied the devil’s authority. In this way, god continues to encourage them to repent and be saved. (For awhile, there will be two types of wicked people during the Great Tribulation: The “religious” wicked and the “nonreligious” wicked. The religious wicked are those who believe the devil is god and submit to his dominion. The nonreligious wicked are those who refuse to submit to the devil, God, or any authority.) When the five months has expired, God permits the devil to do something unbelievably horrible. Satan will be allowed to kill one-third of mankind. This great slaughter will remove most of the devil’s adversaries, i.e., the nonreligious wicked and many of the saints. With most of his enemies dead (some will escape), the devil will have undisputed dominion over the Earth. When this occurs, the devil will divide Earth into ten sectors and appoint ten “puppet” kings to take care of day-to-day business. By doing this, the devil will claim to be king of kings and lord of lords. Survivors will have no option; either submit to the commandments of the devil or suffer death. How ironic, those who submit to the commandments of Jesus many suffer temporary death, but they will live again!

God permits Satan to kill the nonreligious wicked at a very precise moment in time. Notice what John says,  “The sixth angel blew his trumpet…and the four angels (bound at the great river Euphrates) who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number…A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their months. The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of their work of their hands…nor of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:13-21)

When Satan cannot achieve through deceit, he accomplishes through force. Force is always the last resort of false religion. The six-trumpet war will decimate all the nations of the world. This is why I call this period of time World War III. Satan will send his angels throughout the Earth and they will slaughter hundreds of millions of people who stand in opposition to Satan’s control of Earth. This great slaughter will accomplish two things. First, it will force everyone to take a side. Every living person will be forced to choose whom he or she will worship – the “lamb-like” beast on earth claiming to be God, or the Lamb of God who will soon appear in clouds of glory. Second, when the devil gains control of Earth, he will be in a position to force everyone to receive his mark. “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead.” (Revelation 13:16, italics mine)

Worship at Last

The Bible predicts the devil will lead a majority of the world to rebel against God’s law. When the devil establishes his kingdom and implements the mark of the beast, he will require the world to worship on a day of the week that stands in direct opposition to the law of God. I am convinced the devil will declare a day of the week to be holy which opposes all religions of the world. In other words, a “holy day” of worship will level the playing field for all religions of the world proving the devil shows no favoritism. Masquerading as God, the devil will be able to do anything he wants to do! No wonder Paul calls him a man of lawlessness. (2 Thessalonians 2) The devil will pronounce stringent laws requiring everyone to worship according to his desires. (Revelation 13:15-17) Of course, the devil’s deepest desire is to have complete control and great adulation. He wants the same authority as God and he wants to be worshiped as God. The devil is very bold. He even dared to tempt Jesus to worship him. (Matthew 4:9,10) Satan may be incredibly beautiful in appearance, but he will be grossly vile in character. He is sin personified. The devil is self-seeking and self-centered in the extreme. The devil wants power, popularity, respect, wealth, glory and honor. He will allow nothing to stand in his way of gaining these. In fact, he wants everything that rightfully belongs to God! What an example of sin’s decadence. Remember, sin corrupted Lucifer’s heart and he assumed prerogatives belonging only to God. Ultimately, Lucifer will claim before the world that he is God. He will receive the worship that God alone deserves and he will gloat in his deception. Paul says, “He [Satan] opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

The Offer of Salvation Ends

When the slaughter of World War III ends, everyone will have made a decision about worship. For the sake of survival, millions will submit to the commandments of the Antichrist even though they know the mark of the beast is a curse. Remember, worship is defined as submitting to a requirement commanded by God. It is hard to believe that people would submit to the mark of the beast rather than put faith in God, but this will be the case. Consider the wisdom behind this coming test of faith: If our worship of God is not based on faith and love for Jesus, it will be impossible to refuse the mark of the beast. The saints will lose every form of earthy support. It is easy to see how many people who claim to be Christians will give up their religious beliefs because their faith is not grounded in God. They will voluntarily receive the mark of the beast and justify their actions because it is the only way to survive. I have he heard people say many times that they cannot keep Sabbath because they cannot give up their job! If a person loves his life more than God – he does not love God most – he loves himself! Jesus said, “Anyone who loves his 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 10:37-39)

Everyone who chooses to receive the mark of the beast will be a coward and considered an enemy of God. (Revelation 21:8) When the sixth trumpet war draws to a close, everyone will have made their decision and nothing more can be done to save a single human being. Consequently, the door to salvation closes in Heaven and Jesus concludes His intercession on behalf of the people of Earth with this decree: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.”(Revelation 22:11) Then, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever,’Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder, and earthquake and a great hailstorm.” (Revelation 11:15,19)

The seventh trumpet marks the end of God’s redemptive judgments. (Do not confuse the seventh trumpet with the trumpet call that sounds from the sky at the Second Coming. 1 Corinthians 15:52) The seventh trumpet also marks the beginning of God’s destructive judgments (the seven bowls). Notice, the same phenomena that marks the beginning of the seven trumpets also marks the end of the seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:5) However, the phenomena at the end of the seven trumpets will be greater in intensity and more destructive than the beginning of the Great Tribulation. In addition to these physical phenomena, God will do something at the close of salvation that is amazing. He will enable everyone on earth to see the ark of “His covenant” in Heaven’s temple! God shows the Ark of the Covenant to the human race because He wants everyone to see the lawful basis for His wrath. He is about to destroy every wicked person with one or more of the seven last plagues. God wants the wicked to see that His wrath is legally justified. This is a marvelous thing about God. In God’s realm, faith always precedes evidence. Paul wrote, “When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.” (1 Corinthians 13:10) In other words, whenever God commands something that requires faith, He eventually displaces that faith with the evidence or reason faith was necessary. Lastly, faith always makes sense when viewed in reverse. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, until Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18) This is why salvation comes only through faith! God says, “You just have to trust Me until I can show you the reasons.”

Only the Faith-full Will Survive

Standing firm fir truth and worshiping God as He commands regardless of the cost will be the all-encompassing test for the human race. Hundreds of millions of people will die for their faith. Relatively speaking, only a few saints will survive to see Jesus appear in the clouds of glory. John is very clear – the devil’s forces will kill a large number of God’s people. Mercifully, when the seventh trumpet sounds, God ends the martyrdom of the saints. (Daniel 12:1) Can we, like Job, say, “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15) A real testing time is just before us. The coming test will reveal our true condition. Will we stand firm even though everyone else may join ranks of the enemy? I pray God will give us the faith, resolve and strength to stand firm. Isaiah said it well when he spoke to King Ahaz, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7:9)

The Seven Bowls

The seven bowls will begin shortly after God reveals the Ark of the Covenant in the sky and last for about 75 days. The seven bowls will be progressively destructive and end with Jesus appearing in the clouds of glory. Jesus will kill the wicked by a command that comes out of His mouth. Only the saints who remain will survive that awesome day. The seven last plagues will be a horrible payback for the wicked. The seven last plagues contain God’s wrath without mercy – God’s wrath full strength. God will repay the wicked at the same level of cruelty they demonstrated towards God’s people during the Great Tribulation. Compare the seven trumpets with seven bowls:

  Trumpets       Bowls
1. Fiery hail     1. Terrible sores
2. Asteroid impact (Sea)     2. Sea turns to blook
3. Asteroid impact (Continent)     3. Springs of water turns to blood
4. Darkness (Volcanoes)     4. Sun scorches people with fire
5. Devil appears     5. Satan's kingdom plunged into darkness
6. Devil conquers world-WWIII     6. Armadeddon
7. Close of mercy     7. Second Coming / Great fiery hail

Remember, these seven plagues do not affect God’s people. “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes the punishment of the wicked.” (Psalms 91:7,8)

Three points need to be made:

1. Some of the seven bowls are somewhat similar to the destruction caused by the seven trumpets. For example, a third of the seas turn to blood during the second bowl. Perhaps God designed the trumpets as harbingers of things to come. In other words, even though the trumpets are sounded with mercy, God uses the trumpets to warn the human race with some physical evidence of what He intends to do during the seven bowls, a time when there is no mercy! Remember, God spares two-thirds of Earth during the time period of the seven trumpets, but He annihilates the entire world with burning sulfur at the end of the seven bowls.

2. Notice this turn of events. The fifth trumpet marks the physical appearing of Satan claiming to be God and the fifth bowl marks the exposure of the devil for who he really is. When Jesus pours out the fifth plague upon the throne of the devil, the world will see that this creature, who claims to be God, is not really God – for God would not destroy His own throne! (See Revelation 16:10,11) The light of truth will shine brightly, and the deception of sin will be removed. The religious and political of the world will realize they have been worshiping the ancient enemy of God. This realization starts a domino-like collapse of Babylon. John says, “The beast [Babylon] and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute [the image or the one world church/state]. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16)

3. In a final attempt to control a collapsing kingdom, Satan will rally the world one last time and send powerful demons to encourage the ten kings he chose to rule over Earth. These demons will lead the kings of the Earth to do two things. First, they will agree that a universal death decree is needed to destroy the saints. Second, they will unite to wage war on Jesus when He appears in the clouds. Notice what John says of these demons, “They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty….Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:14, 16)

Armageddon – The Final Battle

World War III occurs during the sixth trumpet. The battle of Armageddon occurs during the sixth bowl. (Remember, there are similarities between trumpets and bowls.) A large amount of misinformation has been shared about Armageddon The word, Armageddon, comes from two Greek words, “har megiddo” and they are transliterated in English as one word: Armageddon. In addition, they are transliterated in English as one word: Armageddon. The two words mean “the mountain of God,” or “the exalted place of God.” There is no mountain in the Middle East called Meggido; however, there is a small plain called Meggido that is not far from Jerusalem. (Joshua 17:11) Long ago, King Josiah’s foolish actions led to his death on the Plain of Meggido. He engaged Pharaoh Neco in a battle that should not have been fought. (2 Chronicles 35) The plain of Megiddo is not very large, but many scholars are convinced this is where Earth’s last battle will be fought.

The battle of Armageddon parallels the contest between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18) A showdown is coming between the Lamb of God and the lamb-like beast, which is the devil. This great showdown will occur “on the mountain of God,” hence the two words, “har megiddon.”  The world’s leaders will see, just as the leaders of Israel did in Elijah’s day, which is Almighty God.

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