Chapter 12

The Plot Thickens


Not All the Jews Flee to Edom

A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:1-3)

These verses lead us up to the Battle of Armageddon which will be discussed in the next chapter. Jerusalem appears to have been occupied by "foreign armies" from the mid-point of the Tribulation when Antichrist sets up "The Abomination of Desolation"--until the great battle at the end of the Tribulation. According to the above text half of the city will go into exile and the other half will remain.

The Jews who will remain in Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Israel during the second half of the tribulation, will be ignoring the warning of Jesus given some 2000 years earlier. These Jews in fact will stay--and will maintain their secular, apostate, stance opposing the God of their forefathers, and continuing to stumble over their own cornerstone, Yeshua (Romans 9:32). God will continue to warn them through a new generation of prophets. Their message will be like that of Jeremiah at the time of the Babylonian captivity. At that time, when Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Israel, remnants led by Daniel and Ezekiel had escaped to Babylon where they enjoyed God's protection and blessing. God clearly spoke to the Jewish people urging them to go to Babylon. Jeremiah's warnings went unheeded in Jerusalem, yet God did not leave Himself without a witness in the capital. Most of those who remained in Jerusalem died in the terrible destruction of 586 BC. The glorious Temple of Solomon was pillaged, burned and destroyed on the 9th of Av. Jeremiah was taken by rebellious countrymen to Egypt where he was soon martyred, according to tradition.

Two Fearless Witnesses on the Temple Mount

At the mid-point of the Tribulation period Jesus will call his faithful remnant to flee Jerusalem and hide in the desert place, and he will place two powerful witnesses on public display in Jerusalem. For a full three and a half years they will speak to the nation and to the world of impending judgment. In spite of the enormously hostile environment of Jerusalem in that Day, these bold spokesman for the Lord will be kept safe until their mission is accomplished.

Revelation, Chapter 11, gives us details concerning two special servants God sets before His nation during the final turbulent months just prior to the return of Messiah in power and glory:

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
(Revelation 11:1-14)

This parenthetical section in the above passage describes Two Witnesses who are given supernatural power to prophesy, to perform miracles and to speak the truth boldly without fear of being captured or killed for a period of 1260 days, which is the same length of time as the 42 months of verse 2 in this same chapter. The 42 months, in turn, is the same as3 1/2 years, the exact duration of the second half of the Tribulation. This also corresponds to the period of Antichrist's reign in chapter 13, verse 5.

The identity of these two is not certain, but they could be Enoch and Elijah since these are the two people who were taken to heaven without dying (See Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11). Since it is "appointed for men to die once..." (Hebrews 9:27), God may be planning to send these two back to conclude their life's work in this striking manner, and to die. Elijah was, of course, a prophet and it is said of Enoch that he prophesied also (Jude 14).

It is also possible that they will be Moses and Elijah since these were the two who appeared with Jesus in His transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). If this is the case, they would represent the two Old Testament periods of The Law and The Prophets. Moses did die, but he was with God alone when he it happened, and was personally buried by God (Deuteronomy 34:1-8). He was considered the greatest of prophets (Deuteronomy 34:10).

These Two Witnesses are identified as "two olive trees." This is reminiscent of the imagery in Zechariah's prophecy of two olive trees which automatically supplied oil continuously to the Golden lampstand in the Temple (Zechariah 4:1-14). The meaning given in the passage is that the work of rebuilding the Temple in Zerubbabel's days was "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6) Likewise, though enemies are arrayed against God in the last days, His purposes will prevail by the power of His Holy Spirit.

The miraculous powers which these two demonstrate will be very much like the miracles performed by Moses and Elijah (Exodus chapters 4 through 12; 1 Kings 17:1,7; 18:1,19-45; 2 Kings 1:10-14). This is another indication that the Two Witnesses could be Moses and Elijah.

When their work is finished, God will allow them to be put to death. The place of their death will be Jerusalem, probably on the Temple Mount. The City greatly loved by God is known for killing the prophets (Matthew 23:37). On his way to be crucified, Jesus remarked that God's prophets were always killed in Jerusalem!

Conservative Bible commenators on the book of the Revelation are divided about the time period of the work of the Two Witnesses, (followed of course by their death, resurrection and ascension). Does this work take place in the first half or the second half of the tribulation period? If their ministry is during the first half of the Tribulation they will preumbably have a bigger audience on site. The completion of their ministry is marked by an earthquake. Then, presumably, the False Prophet of Revelation 13, Paul's man of sin, will step into the newly completed Third Temple and defile it. Followers of Christ who are in Jerusalem at that time have been told ahead of time by Jesus Himself to flee Jerusalem at once when that desecration happens, (Matthew 24:15-22). If, on the other hand, the Two Witnesses engage in their bold preaching during the GREAT tribulation, (i.e., the second 3.5 year portion of the Tribulation period, the "time of Jacob's trouble) they will need God's maximum protection--the man of sin will surely do all he can to wipe them out. Horrific violence will occur all over the earth, Israel and Jerusalem will be invaded and nearly destroyed completely. The earthquake which marks the end of the ministry of the Two Witnesses from the Temple Mount could then be the same earthquake marking the second coming of Jesus Christ to the Mount of Olives as described in Zechariah 14.

Spiritually speaking, Jerusalem can be compared to Sodom and Egypt, immoral places which were condemned by the Lord. Ungodly people rejoice at their death because they had stood against all their evil deeds.

After three and a half days, the Two Witnesses will be raised from the dead and caught up to heaven when they heard the words from heaven, "Come up here." The Rapture of the church happens at the beginning of The Tribulation, but this event toward the end of these seven years is similar, and may even be representative of what happens to the believing martyrs of this period of time.

Disasters of the Great Tribulation

There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilence in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11)

A great amount of attention is focused on the skies in our times. There are several reasons for this. Scientific advances in observation technologies have allowed us to learn much more about our space neighbors. We now know much more about the existence and orbits of small objects which could come near, or even strike the Earth.

Our own ventures into space are a second major reason for this interest. In our generation we have placed so many objects into orbit above us that it is almost impossible to track all of the functioning and non-functioning satellites.


About 5,000 asteroids are known to exist, and it is believed that there are as many as 30,000 of them in our Solar System. 1,600 of these are watched carefully. Most of them are controlled by Jupiter. About 40 of them are known to intersect the Earth's orbit.

The Asteroid belt, where most of them are found is between Mars and Jupiter.

In 1937 the asteroid Hermes came very close to earth. It passed within 500,000 miles, only twice the distance between the Earth the Moon. This is a "near miss." Our gravitational pull can affect something coming this close.

In 1989 an asteroid that was 5 miles in diameter came dangerously close. It will pass again some time after the turn of the century.

Russell Chandler, former religion editor for the Los Angeles Times, reports in his book called Doomsday, that

On March 23, 1989, a half-mile-wide asteroid flew through Earth's path at forty-six thousand miles an hour. Nobody saw it coming. A scientific team convened by Congress a year later noted that"the Earth had been at that point only six hours earlier." Had it struck the Earth, it would have caused a disaster unprecedented in human history.

Some asteroids we know about are:

Ceres - largest known - 488 miles diameter
Pallas - 379 miles diameter
Vesta - 336 miles diameter
Junu - 120 miles diameter
Icarus - 1 mile diameter: a "small flying mountain."

In the Book of Revelation one often reads about a "falling star." The Greek word for star is aster. This word is the basis for "Esther" and "asteroid."

Scientists have often suggested that an earlier collision with an asteroid may have caused mass extinction and the onset of an ice age. However, a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis would suggest these events were caused by the great flood of Noah's days.

Meteors and Meteorites

These are "boulder-sized" asteroids. The largest one discovered was about 70 tons. They are often called "shooting stars," since they leave bright streaks in the atmosphere as they burn up. Those that do not completely burn up before hitting the earth are called meteorites.

One hit Arizona in prehistoric times causing a crater 4,100 feet across and 600 feet deep! About 500 of them strike the earth each year. About 120 impact sites are known.


We hear of comets occasionally, such as Haley's Comet, The Swift Tuttle Comet, and more recently, The Hale-Bopp Comet.

In 1994, Shoemaker-Levey 9, a comet with 21 fragments collided with Jupiter from July 16 through 22. The speed of this "comet train" was 37 miles per second (133,200 mph). This is 60 times the speed of an average bullet! (The energy carried by a moving object is proportional to the velocity squared!) At comet speed, one could go from New York to Los Angeles in 1 minute and 22 seconds. The first chunk of this comet hit Jupiter with a force of perhaps a million hydrogen bombs. It was photographed by powerful telescopes on earth which showed that it caused a mushroom cloud of gas nearly 1000 miles into space, and left a dark splotch, half the size of Earth.

The combined size of the 21 pieces was between 1/2 mile and 2 1/2 miles in diameter. The combined energy could be 20 million megatons (compare the largest bomb ever made: the Soviet's 58 megaton behemoth)! This total impact of Shoemaker-Levey 9 was greater than the combined force of all nuclear devices ever made.

One writer said that such a comet train hitting the Earth could incinerate whole countries and produce a dust cloud that would bring on nuclear winter. It would kill millions, or perhaps billions, of people.

In 1908 a comet in Siberia flattened the surrounding forests for 40 miles, and could be felt more than 100 miles away. Pressure waves from this event were recorded in London.

Ecological Issues

Many of the ecological problems of our age are related to the skies. Some of these are:
Depletion of the Ozone layer and the resultant increase in Ultra Violet Rays reaching the Earth.
Nuclear Radiation from bombs, power plants and satellites.

Space Junk falling every few days from old satellites and their rocket boosters.

Acid Rain which is a result of dangerous chemicals in the air.


The current interest in UFOs may be setting us up for great deception. There is great interest in the Roswell, New Mexico stories, and accounts of the findings of the Air Force's Project Blue Book, which supposedly give some credence to the existence of these objects.

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-11)

Some prophecy scholars think that the belief in UFOs might cause Antichrist to use them as an explanation of the disappearance of Christians during the Rapture. Some New Age practitioners are already suggesting that extraterrestrials might someday "cleanse" the Earth of troublemakers. Interest in such UFOs goes in cycles. There is a current rise in interest, and several recent movies about UFOs.

In any event, the end of the age will be a time of unprecedented deception. Satan's power to imitate and counterfeit the miracles of God will increase and in those days separating the real from the counterfeit will become increasingly more difficult.

The Seven Trumpets

The First Trumpet - Scorching of the Earth

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

The events of the previous section, the Seven Seals, were events caused by human activity and natural, earthly disasters. This next series brings what might be called supernatural judgments. The first three appear to be the result of asteroids, meteors or comets. These are also natural, but in the sense that they are divinely directed judgments on the earth, they have a supernatural element. There seems to be a progression of disasters from space: first hail and fire mixed with blood, then what seemed like a large mountain, and later, a "star."

It should be noted that these trumpet judgments could be caused by a nuclear war just as well. Hal Lindsey thinks it is more likely that the events of this chapter are the result of nuclear activity than supernatural activity; that they are the result of man's evil actions once the restraining hand of God is removed. As mentioned before, some scholars expect the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 at the beginning of the Tribulation, and some expect it to occur at the end. In any case, the language of these two chapters clearly describes God raining "fire" down from heaven on Israel's invaders from the North and also upon the "coastlands," or the "remote continents."

The first catastrophe in this series could also be caused by a comet or by very severe weather conditions. Comets are made of ice which would provide the water for hail. It would first vaporize, then perhaps, depending on other weather conditions descend to earth as hail. This sudden intrusion of a comet could cause extreme world-wide storms. The blood might be caused by animals being sucked up by waterspouts and tornadoes. And the fire could be extraordinary displays of lightning, which, in turn, could start forest fires in many places.. All of these events have happened before, but never to the extent of this plague, burning up one third of the earth's vegetation!

The Second Trumpet - Slaughter in the Sea

The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Revelation 8:8-9)

This judgment could be caused by an asteroid plunging into the sea. Icarus, one of the smaller asteroids known to us is about one mile in diameter and is sometimes described as a small flying mountain. Other asteroids may be as large as Ceres, which is about 480 miles in diameter. Even a small asteroid crashing into one of our oceans would cause utter devastation. The fiery impact would burn and crush all life in a large portion of the ocean, and the resulting tidal waves would be beyond comprehension. These waves could capsize ships in every direction for hundreds of miles.

The Third Trumpet - Souring of the Water

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water--the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. (Revelation 8:10-11)

As we now know, a star is a large body of burning gases. Our own Sun is a comparatively small star, though it is 860,000 miles in diameter, compared to the Earth's diameter of 7,900 miles.
The largest known star was recently identified as "The Pistol Star." It is said to be ten million times brighter than our Sun, and is big enough to fill the orbit of Earth. It unleashes as much energy in six seconds as our Sun does in one year!

This means, of course, that a star can not "fall" to the Earth, though the Earth could presumably "fall" into the Sun. However, the Greek word for star is aster, from which we get our word asteroid and the name "Esther." Thus, it is not a star as we know it, but a large asteroid that is in view here. As in the previous plague, the asteroid strikes earth, but, in this case, on land, causing widespread destruction and poisoning of the waters in a large area.

A "Falling Star" can also describe one of the angels, as in Revelation 9:1. In this judgment it seems more reasonable to expect an asteroid than an angel.

The Fourth Trumpet - Smiting of the Planets

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"
(Revelation 8:12-13)

This judgment affects the entrance of light from space. The amount of light from the sun, moon and stars is diminished by one third. This could be a description of what, in our generation, has been called "nuclear winter." One of the most serious side-effects of a nuclear war would be the wide-spread burning of cities and forests and the resulting soot and smoke reaching the stratosphere. This diminishing of the Sun's radiation could cause the average temperature of the Earth to cool between 18 and 36 degrees, resulting in crop failures and great ecological damage.
Alternatively, we cannot rule out that the actual light and heat output from the sun might be diminished by God during this judgment of mankind.

The eagle flying through the heavens with a message of woe is most likely a symbolic image of an angelic being. The three-fold repetition of "woe" is a Biblical way of intensifying the terrible nature of the impending doom soon to follow.

In Revelation 4:7 one of the faces of the Four Living Creatures was the face of an eagle. The message is a warning of the dreadful nature of the next three trumpet judgments.

The Fifth Trumpet - Striking by Locusts

The Diabolical Pit

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.
(Revelation 9:1-2)

In this case the falling star is actually an angelic being. Satan fits this description best since He was created as the Anointed Cherub, a position of prominence among the angels (Ezekiel 28:14 Isaiah 14:4-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 are addressed to earthly rulers, but obviously refer to Satan's own history and work since he controlled the human rulers. Isaiah 14:12 says "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!"

The Dragon of Revelation 12 is the Devil, another name for Satan (v.9). He is seen there sweeping away a third of the stars (angels) of heaven, and waging war against God, then being cast out of heaven (vv. 7-9, 12-13).

Satan is given the key, presumably from Jesus Christ, who, according to Revelation 1:18 holds the keys of death and Hades. This key to the Abyss might well be one of these keys.

The Demonic Plague

Their Actions

And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. (Revelation 9:3-6)

Once the Abyss, or Bottomless Pit is opened, its demonic inhabitants are set loose for the purpose of torturing people. Like locusts, they are numerous and destructive. Like scorpions, they inflict pain. But they are not allowed to kill. Here, as in the whole book of Revelation, God's sovereignty is seen. He sets the limits of what is permitted. (Job 2:6; 1 Corinthians 10:13)

Those who have the seal of God on their foreheads can not be harmed by these demonic mutations. Some take this to mean all believers, since we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). However, it probably refers to the 144,000 servants of God from Revelation 7:3 who are marked or sealed on their foreheads before any further plagues were permitted.

The pain inflicted by this judgment is so severe that men who are afflicted would rather die than suffer the continuous torment (five months), but they are not allowed to take the easy course of death. This length of time may be allowed by God to give men the opportunity to repent, though it appears from the last verses of this chapter that none of them do (Revelation 9:19-20). Those who have hardened their heart against God would probably not even repent in hell itself.

Their Appearance

The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. (Revelation 9:7-10)

Further information is given about these malignant creatures. Each description is symbolic of some aspect of their power and activity.

They are like horses prepared for battle: descriptive of strength. They seem to have crowns of gold, standing for power and authority, yet limited by God that they may not kill their victims. Human faces imply intelligence. Hair like a woman's hair would be totally unnatural for insect-like monsters and would add to the confusion about their nature. The lion's teeth picture ferocity, breastplates of iron show that they are invincible. Like normal locusts, they have wings. Wings symbolize mobility and speed. Because of their extraordinary powers, their sound in flight is loud and terrifying, like horses and chariots in battle.

The Destructive Potentate

They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come. Revelation 9:11-12

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of this fifth trumpet judgment is that these monstrosities are actually the demons which have been imprisoned in the Abyss (Luke 8:31; Jude 6).They have a leader of their fallen ranks, named Abaddon, or "Destroyer." This is a Hebrew word which is used in connection with hell, and normally refers to it as the place of destruction (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20). It occurs only here as the name of a person. Apollyon is the exact Greek equivalent of the same name. This name is found only here.

The Sixth Trumpet - Slaying of One-third of the Population

The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."

And the four angels 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 the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number. The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.

A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
(Revelation 9:9-13)

The Sixth Trumpet is also the Second Woe. It is a judgment of terrible magnitude. It begins with the release of four evil angels (demons) from the area of the Euphrates River, the approximate location of the early evil empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Assyria. They are allowed to kill a third of the people on the Earth. They accomplish this is by mobilizing a force of 200 million soldiers. It is only in recent times that it would be conceivable to raise an army of that size. Today China has that many people who could serve as soldiers.

Each of these 200 million troops has equipment resembling modern weaponry, with fire, smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. They employ horses, symbolic of modern tanks, with "tails" able to inflict injury.

Even after all the agony and death inflicted by these judgments, the survivors are not willing to repent or to stop worshiping demons and idols. There is a process of hardening one's heart. It is illustrated in the case of Pharaoh during the days of Moses. He hardened His heart repeatedly. As a result, God actually hardened it more (Exodus 8:19, 32; 9:12,34; 10:1).

This hardening is explained in Romans 1:21-32. It starts with a conscious decision not to honor God, but to honor themselves instead. This results in idolatry. Idolatry in our age can take many forms. The word means "to worship what can be seen." Some practice idolatry in the ancient way of venerating a man-made image of something that represents their false god. In New Age religious thought there is worship of the creation itself, such as "Mother Earth," or use of sacred objects, such as crystals. Other people, who do not consider themselves religious at all, often venerate material possessions: in essence, worshiping materialism and wealth.

Idols are not devoid of power to influence men, the Apostle Paul tells us that demonic, destructive powers come into play when we give ourselves to any master except Yeshua.

Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20)

God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but when man's rebellion has reached a certain point, He "gives them over" to their lusts and degrading passions.

Since the Trumpet judgments appear to take place during the Great Tribulation, the second half of the seven years of the Tribulation, these people will have received the Mark of The Beast, which is the unforgivable act of worship of Antichrist.(Revelation 14:9-11; 20:4). This also helps to explain why none of them are willing to repent.

The Seventh Trumpet - Sovereignty of God

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."

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great--and for destroying those who destroy the earth."

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
(Revelation 11:15-19)

The Seventh Trumpet, like the Seventh Seal, does not introduce an activity on earth, but looks to Heaven in anticipation of the next series of events. In this case, the next step is God taking His great power and beginning to reign on earth. This last trumpet introduces the events leading up to the Battle of Armageddon.

The great earthquake mentioned in this passage is probably the same earthquake that marks the Sixth Seal (Rev. 6:12-17), the last of the Seven Trumpets (Rev. 11:19), and the last of the Seven Bowls of wrath (Rev. 16:18-21)--which all run in parallel. (See also Ezekiel 38:19-20 and Zechariah 14:4-5). Many Bible scholars hold that all these scriptures are homing in on one or possibly a connected series of great cataclysmic earthquakes that punctuate the end of the age, the open return of Messiah and the dawning of the Millennial age. Not only does the city of Jerusalem suffer great damage from this earthquake, but "the cities of the nations fall," "And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; and great hailstones, heavy as a hundred-weight, (75 pounds) dropped on men from heaven, till men cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague." according to Revelation 16:19, 20.

As the time approaches for Christ to return, it is also nearing the time for judging the dead and rewarding the faithful (Chapters 20 and 21).

The next few chapters explain important aspects of the total story, but they cannot be taken strictly in chronological order. They focus on particular topics, some of which we have already considered: Israel (Chapter 12), Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast (Chapter 13), the 144,000 sealed ones (chapter 14) (See 144000.), preparations for judgment (Chapters 14-15), and then the Seven Vials (Chapter 16) which are poured out in rapid succession, culminating in Judgment of Babylon (Chapters 17 and 18), the Battle of Armageddon, and the glorious return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Chapter 19).

Next Chapter

 Index Page Prefatory  Chapter 1
  Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4
  Chapter 5   Chapter 6   Chapter 7
  Chapter 8   Chapter 9   Chapter 10
 Chapter 11   Chapter 12   Chapter 13
 Chapter 14   Chapter 15  Appendices