THE BEGINNING AND THE END
Isaiah 46:9, Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.'
1). In our last study, we covered the first half of the Tribulation.
The beginning of the Tribulation is seen with the rise of the
Antichrist, noted in Daniel’s 70 week Prophecy, and the making of a
covenant with the Jewish people; and the beginning can also be seen
when Christ opens the first seal on the seven-sealed scroll
in Revelation 6:1, revealing the Antichrist as the rider on a
white horse holding a bow but with no arrows, conquering with his
flatteries and deception.
a). The Antichrist seems to have all the answers for world peace, particularly in the Middle East. His kingdom will be exceedingly powerful and dreadful and will rule over all the Gentile nations as a one world kingdom. Babylon is rebuilt, and is the place where the Antichrist sets his throne. The Temple is also rebuilt in Jerusalem and the Jews restore the Mosaic priesthood and sacrifices in the new Temple. God sends two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, who in turn minister the Word of the kingdom and convert 144,000 Jews. These events will take place the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
2). But following three and one-half years, in the “the middle of
the week,” Antichrist breaks his covenant with the Jewish
people, and things begin to change rapidly.
Daniel 9:27, Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
Revelation 6:3, When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another, and there was given to him a great sword.
b). This is the commencement of the “Great Tribulation,” in which the “man in the red horse” shall reveal his true identity to all the world. This man (Antichrist) will seek to annihilate the Jewish people, along with destroying Jerusalem, damaging the Temple, and dividing the holy land. And he will have the support of the Gentile nations surrounding him, who will be under his sway and control. Antichrist will break the covenant by bringing “an end to sacrifice and offering.” He will enter the Temple, damage all of the things in it, and commit an abomination of desolation against the living God (Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11). He will sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). And he will erect a statue of the beast (of himself) in the temple for all to worship. Immediately after this occurs, the Jewish people in Judea are told to run for their lives, to flee to the mountains where God has prepared a safe haven for them.
Matthew 24:15, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
c). The Jews who do not escape to a specially prepared place in the mountains or desert will either be killed, sold as slaves, or be “led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:24a). And the nation of Israel in their land will once again cease to exist --- “And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24b)
d). The Antichrist will continue full force with his destructive ways against the Jewish people, and the world will quickly collapse into hatred, violence, death and ruins. This opens the third seal, the rider now on a black horse:
“When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature
say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he
who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a
voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of
wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and
do not harm the oil and the wine.”
e). Following much war and killing, the aftermath is worldwide “famine,” depicted by the black horse. The rider is seen with a pair of scales in his hand, showing his control over the value of money. He controls the price for a specified amount of food and, during this time, it will cost a day’s wage for a minimal amount. The fight for survival will be apparent, as the quality of life will be reduced to the barest of necessities. The expression “do not harm the oil and the wine,” refers to the wealthy, those able to spend far more than a day’s wage for food. They will be able to buy from the one who controls the food, and thereby giving him more power. The Antichrist takes control of the money, the food and the people as “he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16, 17)
Revelation 6:7, When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
g). This fourth judgment is the inevitable consequence of the first three. Because of sword, famine and pestilence, one-fourth of the population of the earth will die during this time. Thus, it is fitting that the rider on the pale horse is given the name “Death” with “Hades” following to claim those who have died. Death and pestilence will cover every nation totaling over a billion people, and those who remain alive will not be able to bear it.
h). These four seals reflect the actions of the Antichrist throughout the entire Tribulation, the first seal reflects the first half of the Tribulation and the second through the fourth seal reflect the last half of the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation. Now there are two other events that happen at the beginning of the Great Tribulation:
I). The ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangels who were converted by the two witnesses during the first half of the Tribulation; and
II). Satan and his angels will be cast out of heaven down to the earth.
3). Revelation chapter seven begins with the sealing of the 144,000 Jews (12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel) who will be God’s witnesses to the nations. (Isaiah 43:1-21; 61:6) The final evidence of the last half of the Tribulation will be the worldwide proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom by these 144,000 Jewish witnesses.
Matthew 24:14, And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
“Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed
the servants of our God on their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number
of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of
all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed.” (rf,
b). The 144,000 Jewish evangels will receive God’s mark on their foreheads and will carry the message of the kingdom over a period of three and one-half years to all nations, and will convert many worldwide. These 144,000 Jews will be the “first fruits” (of the entire nation) to God and to the Lamb because they will do that which God called the nation of Israel into existence to accomplish. They are without deceit and fault with regard to their testimony for Christ and will be God’s witnesses to the nations (Isaiah 43:1, 9-12).
c). In Revelation 12:2, Israel is referenced as being with child; she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. In keeping with the timeframe in which this is referring, which is the start of the Great Tribulation, we can see that the male Child here, used as a metaphor, has to be a newly formed “Child” or “Group” that is most threatening to Satan. This newborn or newly formed “Child” must come from the “Woman,” the lineage of Israel, and therefore of Christ. It is clear to see then that the male “Child” spoken of here is the 144,000 Jews, those sealed by God (Micah 5:3, 4). This male “Child” who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron and who will be caught up to God and His throne (Revelation 12:5), is referring to the 144,000 Jews who will be chosen to rule on earth during the Messianic Era.
d). A great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns,
and seven diadems on his heads
will seek to destroy the woman, Israel. The “dragon” referenced
here and throughout the Book of Revelation is Satan, having
seven diadems (ruling crowns; one holding the scepter). His
tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth
(Revelation 12:4). This phrase is in reference to Satan
and a third of his angels being cast out of heaven down to the
earth, as he seeks to devour the woman, Israel, with great wrath —
because he knows that he has a short time (Revelation
12:12c). The dragon, Satan, is ready to devour Israel’s Child
as soon as it was born (Revelation 12:4), but the
Child is raptured to heaven. Then, Israel is told to run for
her life and is given a safe haven in the wilderness for the last
three and one-half years.
And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth,
to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child
who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was
caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman
[Israel] fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared
by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and
sixty days [three and one-half years]. (rf, Isaiah
e). The male Child, the 144,000 Jews, is now seen in Christ’s presence on Mount Zion in heaven at the start of the Great Tribulation:
Revelation 14:1, Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpist playing their harps. 3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
f). The removal of the 144,000 Jews from the earth is for the
purpose of being removed from Satan’s and Antichrist’s domain, to be
taught by Christ for a short time in heaven as ministers of the
gospel of the kingdom. They will be sent back to the earth to
proclaim the gospel to the nations worldwide for the last three and
one-half years. They are considered “firstfruits” to God and to the
Lamb, that is, they are ranked the first fruit of the nation, the
first to produce the fruit of the message of the kingdom to all the
Revelation 14:4b, These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
g). As incredible as it may seem that the 144,000 Jews will be able to minister under such dire circumstances, God will make this possible as they will be under His protection. Many reached with the message from the 144,000 Jews will be slain for their faith, and many others will be delivered out of the Tribulation.
4). And in Revelation chapter thirteen we are given additional commentary as to the identity of these dreadful world powers: “the beast from the sea” and “the beast from the earth.” The “sea” is usually used in Scripture to refer to the Gentile nations and the “land or earth” is used to refer to the nation of Israel. Therefore, the beast arising from the “sea” will be a Gentile from a Gentile land. And the second beast arising from the “earth,” specifically from the nation of Israel, will no doubt be a Jew from the land of Israel.
a). The beast from the sea is revealed to be a political leader,
who, by means of deception, will achieve worldwide dominion. He is
known as the Antichrist, and is the second beast of the unholy
trinity of Satan.
c). The beast from the sea, the Antichrist, is the one whom Satan and the False Prophet direct their attention. It is this man that Satan will give control of Gentile world power by extending “his power, his throne, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:2). All three (Satan, Antichrist and False Prophet) will form the unholy trinity. Satan will imitate God, forming his trinity as a counterfeit to the Holy Trinity. The first beast, the Antichrist, will be the son of Satan; and the second beast, the False Prophet will be a counterfeit to the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit gives all the attention to Jesus Christ, the False Prophet will give all the attention to the Antichrist. Miracles and signs will be performed by the False Prophet to draw attention to and worship the Antichrist.
Revelation 13:13, He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
d). The Antichrist and his kingdom is seen so closely parallel with Satan that the dragon himself is depicted as having the seven heads and ten crowned horns in Revelation 12:3. In Revelation 13:1, the Antichrist is seen having seven heads and ten horns ---
Revelation 13:1, Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2...The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 and I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
e). The Antichrist will be considered the seventh head commanding a ten-kingdom federation of nations (Psalm 83:5). The ten-kingdom federation is referenced by the use of “ten horns,” also referring to “ten kings,” in Daniel 7:7. This seventh head or seventh ruler (Antichrist) in Revelation 13:2, 3 will be killed and then will be raised from the dead after he comes into power. In Revelation chapter seventeen he is seen ascending out of the bottomless pit (abyss). Then, once the Antichrist has been raised, he is viewed as an eighth beast, though he is still connected as the seventh beast. When this occurs, the earth dwellers who witness this event will marvel, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4)
g). We can see the similarity here between Antichrist’s character and that of Satan; and this should be expected, as Antichrist will be the “seed” of Satan, his literal son. Both exalt themselves to be higher than God the Father. The Antichrist shall acknowledge himself to be God and cause all to worship him or be killed. Those who do worship him, either Jews or Gentiles, will be causing their own destruction, as noted in
Revelation 14:9-11 ---
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
h). The False Prophet is introduced in Revelation 13:11 having two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. The lamb with two horns is the emblem of Jewish worship and religious authority; therefore, it is evident that the False Prophet will be a Jew and a false spiritual leader. His message and authority will come from the devil, indicating that his speech is filled with false, deceiving messages portraying a holy man outwardly, but inside he will be full of evil. After the Antichrist is killed and then allowed by God to be raised from the Bottomless Pit, the False Prophet will have those who dwell on the earth to make an image of the first beast for idol worship. The False Prophet will be granted power to give life to the image of the beast, so that the image will be able to both speak and cause those on the earth to worship it or be killed by it.
i). The image and the False Prophet will also cause all to receive a
mark of the beast, which would consist of either his name or his
number. The name or the number of the beast will be placed either
on the right hand or on the forehead. Again, Satan imitates God and
uses the same means to attempt to place ownership and authority over
man, but Satan’s reasons are done for evil and to destroy man. The
mark is an evil counterfeit of the seal on the foreheads of the
servants of God. Without this mark, no one will be able to buy or
sell. The name of the beast is not provided, however the number of
his name is given as “the number of a man: His number is 666”
(Revelation 13:18d). With all of this information
provided of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, it would be very
easy to identify them when they do surface. And the time is near
when they will arise and come upon the whole world with destruction
in their heart.
Revelation 17:1, Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATONS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
a). Both the “beast” and the “woman” are used as metaphors here. We understand from previous chapters in Revelation that the “beast” is the Antichrist and the “woman” is used to reference Israel. John was “carried away in the Spirit into the wilderness” to be shown what will take place between the Antichrist and Israel during the Tribulation on earth. The woman, Israel, was seen sitting on a scarlet beast (on the Antichrist) having seven heads and ten horns. Not only was the Antichrist covered in scarlet, but the woman was also arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. The woman is dressed as a queen, one of royalty and wealth. And she was full of abominations and sin, committing adultery against the Lord. She is pictured as a harlot residing in the worldwide kingdom of the beast. Then, the matter presents further details concerning the woman, Israel and the beast, Antichrist. The word “mystery” is used, which usually refers to something made known in the Old Testament but not fully revealed, as kept hidden. However, the unveiling of this “mystery” is revealed in the New Testament, here in Revelation chapter seventeen.
Ezekiel 16:15, But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it....32You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband.
Ezekiel 23:30, I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols.
Isaiah 1:21, How the faithful city has become a harlot!
c). The unveiling of this “mystery” in Revelation chapter seventeen then has to do with Israel’s harlotry coming to its peak and this is the reason why God will remove them from their land and scatter them among the Gentile nations. This is the reason that God will place severe judgment upon them — to bring their harlotry to an end and for the purpose of cleansing them with a view to an inheritance. Israel will hold the scepter on earth over the Gentile nations during the Millennium, but first they must come to a place of repentance; they must be judged, cleansed and restored. They have been guilty of continued disobedience against God, playing the harlot with other nations, committing acts of idolatry, and shedding the blood of their own prophets.
Luke 13:34, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!
Revelation 17:6, I saw the woman [Israel] drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
d). Israel’s disobedience is mainly due to their involvement with the surrounding nations. (The Gentile nations today rule under Satan and his angels. But Israel, not to be reckoned among the nations, occupies a position separate from this rule, as a nation under God.) Because Israel will no longer be in her land, having left her spiritual heritage and scattered among the nations, she will be intertwined with the world’s materialism and wealth. The kings of the earth will have committed adultery with Israel (by forbidden national relationships), having been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
e). This will place the kings of the earth in a wealthy position
because of Israel’s condition and likewise Israel will also become
wealthy in the world — but separated from God’s spiritual
blessings. This is the reason God will allow the Gentile nations
under the rule of the Antichrist and Satan to bring about the most
horrific form of persecution against the Jewish people. This is
revealed in Revelation 17:16,
And the ten horns [ten-kingdom federation] which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
f). The ten-kingdom federation of the beast will hate Israel, and will attempt to wipe her out completely, not realizing that their power and wealth was due to Israel. They are wealthy because they will be holding the scepter at that time over Israel and because of their relations with the nation of Israel. By attempting to destroy Israel, they will be destroying themselves as well, as this will bring about God’s wrath and vengeance upon them. God will take the scepter from them, take their possessions and wealth and destroy them.
6). And the presiding is the focus of Revelation chapter eighteen. Since Israel will play the harlot with the Beast and the Gentile nations and become wealthy, sharing in their sins and idolatry, she is considered “Babylon the Great.” This is the “mystery.”
a). We see her downfall and that of her lovers in Revelation 18:2a,
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every “foul spirit.” 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury... 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
7). The second through the fifth seal in Revelation reveal all of these events pertaining to the last half of the Tribulation. And the five trumpets and the five bowls are the judgments poured on the earth during this time. The trumpet and bowl judgments parallel each other; the bowl judgments simply provide additional detail to that of the previous trumpet judgments. Now let us cover the five trumpet and the five bowl judgments poured out on the earth against the Gentiles nations (to bring their kingdoms down), and (to effect repentance) on the part of Israel-
8). The First Trumpet presents hail and fire…mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up (Revelation 8:7). A parallel to the First Trumpet, providing additional commentary, is ---
The First Bowl poured upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image (Revelation 16:2).
a). Hail, fire, blood, and loathsome sores thrown to the earth from heaven refer to judgment upon “men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” The hail and fire, mingled with blood on a third of the trees and all of the green grass causing it to burn up is a reference to severe judgment to those in power under the Antichrist [“trees” in Scripture means “national powers;” as seen in Luke 21:29] and to rich merchants worldwide [“grass” in Scripture means “all flesh;” as seen in 1 Peter 1:24; “green grass” means those who are rich or prosperous].
9). The Second Trumpet sounded: And “something like” a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Revelation 8:8).
The Second Bowl was poured: on the sea, and it became blood “as of a dead man;” and every living creature in the sea died (Revelation 16:3).
a). A mountain in Scripture usually refers to a “kingdom” (Isaiah 2:3; Revelation 21:10). Fire means “judgment” and the sea, as referenced here, is used to refer to “Gentile nations.” This mountain is referred to as a “great mountain,” therefore we can conclude that it is speaking of the kingdom of the Antichrist. Burning with fire would have to do with God’s judgment upon this kingdom. And cast into the sea would refer to the judgment of the Antichrist’s kingdom being cast into the Gentile nations. In other words, this verse could be translated to say this: The kingdom of the Antichrist burning with God’s judgment was thrown into the Gentile nations.
b). The result of the kingdom of the Antichrist burning with God’s
judgment and cast into the Gentile nations is seen with one-third of
the Gentile nations (kingdoms; governments) dead, and a third of the
ships (ships used to transport goods from one place to another:
trade & commerce) destroyed. All of these things have to do with
the governments of the earth, to include its trade and commerce.
10). The Third Trumpet deals with the rivers and springs of water. And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter (Revelation 8:10a, 11).
The Third Bowl also deals with the rivers and springs of water: Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due. (Revelation 16:4-6)
a). In Revelation 8:10, the “great star” denotes a mighty
angel who was given the power to place judgment, as per the phrase“burning
like a torch,”and many died. “Waters” are used in
Scripture to indicate “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues”
(Revelation 17:15). With the third bowl, the waters or
multitudes of people who worshiped the beast and who killed the
saints and prophets “became blood,” that is, they experienced
physical death. God avenged them for what they did to the martyrs,
remembering when they cried out in the fifth seal:
Revelation 6:10, And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
b). With the third trumpet, God avenged the people with pain and suffering before they died, having gone through the collapse of the kingdom and the world before their eyes, and their possessions destroyed, bringing their mental state to complete anguish. Then, with the same measure they used on the saints and prophets, God used on them — physical torture and death.
11). The Fourth Trumpet: Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night (Revelation 8:12).
The Fourth Bowl was poured out on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory (Revelation 16:8a, 9).
a). The sun, moon and stars are used to reference the whole of the governing powers in the kingdom of the Antichrist. Where light and life once existed, now has been replaced with darkness and death. The three metaphors that represent these governing powers are as follows:
1) The Sun—representing the Antichrist,
2) The Moon—representing the False Prophet, and
3) The Stars—representing the fallen angels.
b). The fourth bowl then depicts the fallen condition of the governments under these three dark powers. It is a word-picture of the collapse of the governments across the world under the rule of the Antichrist, and the cause of intense anguish among the people under his rule. The people blaspheme God, the One in complete control of the situation, rather than repenting. The phrase “scorched by great heat from the sun” is metaphorical, referring to their pain and suffering as the whole world around them is collapsing.
12). When the fifth angel sounded the Fifth Trumpet: And I
saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the
key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and
smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So
the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit
(Revelation 9:1, 2).
a). The fifth trumpet and fifth bowl reflects a continuation of the previous judgment, showing that the kingdom of the Antichrist has turned to darkness, bringing the kingdom into its final form immediately before it is completely destroyed by Christ at His second coming. An angel poured out the fifth bowl on the throne of the beast and his kingdom became full of darkness (Revelation 16:10). And because of this, those in the kingdom gnawed their tongues because of the pain and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds (Revelation 16:10c, 11). Both the fifth trumpet and the fifth bowl judgment are connected, having to do with darkness throughout the kingdom of the beast.
b). The fifth trumpet presents a “star” fallen from heaven to the
earth. This star was a “fallen angel” whom God allowed to
possess the key and to open the “bottomless pit” (abyss;
underworld). Immediately following, thick smoke appeared which
covered “the sun” and produced darkness. Then, locusts are seen
coming out of the smoke ---
Revelation 9:3, Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On
their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were
like the faces of men. 8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their
teeth were like lion’s teeth. 9 And they had breastplates like
breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the
sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. 10 They had
tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their
power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had as king over them
the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon,
but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
c). These locusts coming out of the smoke were given power to torment the earth-dwellers for five months, but not to kill them; although they will seek death and not find it. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (Revelation 9:4). They were sent to harm only those who had the mark of the beast. These locusts have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon (Revelation 9:11). Both names mean “Destroyer.” This angel, who has the key to the bottomless pit and is king over the demons and fallen angels, is Satan.
d). The “bottomless pit” or “abyss” is referred to in Scripture as a place of demons, the place where some of the fallen angels have been bound and the place where Satan will be bound in the age to come for one thousand years (Luke 8:30-33; Revelation 20:1). This place is also known as “tartaros”— the deepest abyss of Hades (Strong’s concordance #G5020). We can determine then that these locusts being released from the bottomless pit can only refer to “demons” and are the fallen angels described in 2 Peter 2:4. Therefore, the final judgment of the earth-dwellers, those who are in the kingdom of the Antichrist, will be an intense demonic attack. The scene is that of a dark kingdom in utter collapse, and those in the kingdom being tormented by demons. This is the end result and the complete downfall of Gentile world power under the Antichrist.
13). At this point in time, after the fifth seal is broken and following the pouring of the fifth trumpet and the fifth bowl judgments, the kingdom of the Antichrist along with the Gentile nations throughout the entire world is seen in in a fallen state, bringing about the end of the Tribulation.
14). Revelation chapter nineteen opens in heaven with
a great multitude rejoicing, as the work surrounding the
redemption of the inheritance is almost finished. Included in this
multitude would have to be the martyrs, those slain for their faith,
revealed when the 5th seal is opened in Revelation
6:9-11 and referenced again in Revelation 7:9-17, and
20:4. And, as well, the great multitude would have to include
a). After the judgments of the Tribulation are complete, Babylon has
fallen, and Israel has repented, then the scene leads into the
marriage festivities of the Lamb and His bride in the kingdom of
heaven in Revelation 19:7 ---
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
b). Since the redemption of the inheritance is almost complete, this will allow the bride to become the Lamb’s wife, but also allow Israel to be restored as the wife of God.
15). Following Israel’s cry to the Lord and their repentance, the Lord Jesus Christ will prepare to return to the earth. It is only when Israel repents that God, remaining true to His Word, will then send the Deliverer. This event marks the opening of the 6th seal on the seven-sealed scroll and the sounding of the 6th trumpet and the 6th bowl. But this will have to wait until next time, if the Lord is willing....