The third and final woe
woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev. 11:14, 15)
Second woe is
We identified the second woe as the time of God's wrath in the punishment of the wicked 0913. This time is also seen as the punishment described by the third angel 1409c, and it was foreshadowed by the second wave of Moslem power r09m. So if the second woe is past here in verse 14, we look to see if we can identify it in the preceding verses. We can't. The witnesses and the partly-fallen city don't depict the punishment of the end-time wicked. The problem is clarified by considering the arrangement of the information given to John. The description of the first two woes (for which the fifth and sixth trumpets were sounded in warning) are shown in chapter 9 re09. Then, chapters 10 and 11, instead of continuing a narrative sequence, explain the drama which sets the stage for these two woes. The two chapters tell about the mighty angel with the bitter book of chapter 10, and the witnesses coming out of the oppressive 1260 years, being killed, and then giving testimony from heaven here in chapter 11 rev10, rev11. This understanding clarifies the great final conflict of the second and third woes outlined in chapter 9 and amplified in new terms in most of the rest of the book of Revelation rev.
Third woe coming
Verse 14 expresses an interval of time between the second and third woes. The third woe, different from the first two, does not come at the time the trumpet sounds. "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." In Revelation, "quickly" (Gr. tach-oo) doesn't necessarily mean, "after a very brief time" except for the person who is unprepared for it. We may see an event as happening quickly when the time for it has come. For example, Jesus told the first of the seven churches, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." (Rev. 2:5). At the end of the book of Revelation, we read, "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." It's been nearly 2,000 years since John wrote the words, and I don't expect it to be much longer. (Rev. 22:20). We might think of "quickly" as meaning "suddenly."
The soundings of the last three trumpets warn about the three woes. Here, for the third, Christ takes over the kingdoms of the world. Before examining this more closely, I suggest you look at the chart which explains the trumpets and hence the three woes. Then you can return here to continue. 08T.
The picture in chapter 19 may help us understand the second woe so we can see how the third relates to it. There, Christ comes on the white horse to punish the wicked. He is King of kings and rules them with a rod of iron. This time of trouble may be seen as the 2nd woe (with the 6th trumpet call). All three woes are announced at the end of chapter 6. You may want to review the verse 0614.
| And I beheld
when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake;
and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth
her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven
departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and
island were moved out of their places.
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:12-17)
The question is, who can stand through the time of trouble? The righteous, of course are able. We see them as the 144,000 in chapter 7
Final woe for
Christ's assumption of power comes when it is clear that He has the right to do so. The 24 elders praise God. This seems to be a joyful time. How could it be a woe? As you think of it, what will be the last suffering of the wicked? The wicked will be punished (6th woe), then die to await the second resurrection coming at the end of the thousand years 2006a. After that they will be punished again 2011pu as fire comes down from heaven to destroy them.
When Christ comes at the beginning of the millennium, the woe will be certain for the living wicked. Eternal life will have been forever lost. The wicked slain at that time will join the wicked who have died through the ages. All will sleep through the thousand years 2007, then experience the final suffering paying the wages of sin.
The kingdoms are all His!
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." (15-17)
What a glorious and
wonderful day that will be! "When the Son of man shall come in his glory,
and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of
his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate
them one from another. . . ." (Matt. 25:31, 32) 1414.
The trumpet warns us to be ready. ze1409.
The issue is the contest of Satan for this planet. At this point in history, he will have had full sway to show the results of his kingdom of hate and anarchy. He will get only one more chance, that at the end of the thousand years. Jesus Christ is anointed seven times, each time recognized as worthy in a different sense. The Father doesn't just tell us, "Here is my Son. He's your new King." The way is made clear at each step so that you and I as faithful followers will recognize Him as our personal Lord. No one can ever tell us, as Satan did Eve, that another way is better. When studying chapters 4 and 5 we made a table showing seven times of anointing. Here, when He takes over the kingdoms of the earth, is the seventh. Take a look and see what you think 0509b.
Perspective — plagues within the seventh trumpet
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." (Rev. 11:15-17)
We will understand this cataclysmic time of the seventh trumpet better as we progress. We have been enjoying the tiny details but need to see the grand movements, too. Just as the seven trumpets unfold in the opening of the seventh seal 0802a, so we will find the seven last plagues unfolding within the time of the seventh trumpet. God has scheduled a judgment (Rev. 14:6; 11:13) when there would be "time no longer" (Rev. 10:6; Dan. 7:13, 14, 26). This is also described as when the seventh angel is about to sound (Rev. 10:7) and the mystery of godliness is clarified. Godliness is a mystery because, without the power of divine grace, it is impossible. When we studied chapter 10, we saw that as Christ's work of redemption is seen in the miraculous cleansing of character in His people, they and He are found to be righteous r10m. This is like a verdict 2211, hence the finishing of the mystery is accomplished in judgment.
It's possible that the plagues are also seen in the scenes of the 6th trumpet. Some things will be clear when the time comes for them.
|And at that time [when the wicked king comes to his end] shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. – Dan. 12:1-3|
At the time the false religious power makes the ultimate challenge against
the God of heaven, Michael stands up da1201
(from sitting in judgment). He takes on the robe of wrath or punishment
and in our verse the elders get up from their seats and fall on their faces
Our verse in Daniel told us that the righteous will be delivered during this time of trouble. Also the verse itself indicates that the judgment has ended. The names of the delivered ones were found to have been written in the book 1407d.
To understand the elders, 0404.
the Lord God Almighty takes His power and reigns, I want to be found among
the faithful and I want to stand with you. What a glorious opportunity
Sequence of final events
Let's take a quick
look at the verses near the end of the present chapter.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying,
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of
his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and
the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Here we see the end
of life as we know it on this planet. Christ comes and conquers the kingdoms
of earth. From the pen of John here (verse 18) we see the series of events
surrounding this pivotal time in history.
At the sounding of the last trumpet when God takes power:
Anger of the nations will be past
Wrath of God begins; [Righteous are saved]; Second coming re1409-20; Dan. 12:1)
Judgment of the dead soon to begin. All the wicked are dead at this time re2005a, (more below).
Servants of God rewarded da0726f; re2212.
Destroy those who destroy the earth re1917ff.
Timing is specified for the first two on our list. The others are apparently also in order.
Anger of the nations
Anyone can see the increase in hatred on this planet. Only the the Holy Spirit can bring us the peace and joy of Christ and forgiving love mt0538ff. And that spirit is being withdrawn from all except those who sincerely want it ps05111.
"And . . . I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." (Rev. 7:1-3) r07a.
Wrath of God
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God." (Rev. 15:1) 1501 God tells us through the third angel that His wrath will be poured out on the beast worshippers. This full wrath is administered by the seven last plagues.
To clarify, Christ does two things when He comes. He saves the faithful ones and He punishes the end-time wicked. Focus here is on the wicked. Rescue of the righteous isn't explicit. We see both at the end of chapter 14 where the righteous are the grain to be harvested and the wicked are the grapes to be trampled r14v.
Judgment of the dead
What reason do I have for assuming that only the wicked are dead? This is true because at this time, the time of the seventh trumpet, the "dead in Christ" will be resurrected, the righteous (who are living in Christ) will join them and together they will be received up to meet Him in the air. The wicked then dead (not "in Christ") simply stay dead. The wicked living at that time will face Christ who comes in this wrath as the One on the white horse. They are all slain in this "wrath of God" 1918-19 leaving no wicked humans living anywhere.
This is the time for the "judgment of the dead" (who are all wicked), a judgment which continues through the millennium 2004. In the box below, we examine a key passage — one that is already active in our discussion: Time line above.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive
and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them
which are asleep [not alive].
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4)
In 1 Cor. 15, the apostle
Paul refers to this "trump" or "trumpet call" as the last 1co1551.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Cor. 15:51-53) This is indeed the time of the last trumpet call, the seventh. It is also the time of the second coming of Christ (Rev. 1:7).
Back to our question about the judgment of the dead. In 1 Thess. 4:17 above, Christ does not come down all the way to the earth. When those who are resurrected are joined by those who are alive, both are taken to heaven. They / we don't stay on the earth. We shall be "ever with the Lord" from that time on. He does come all the way at the end of the thousand years (Zech. 14:1-5) when the city comes down 2101.
Another promise of Christ
broadens the picture. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were
not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if
I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto
myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2, 3). So where
does He take us? It's where He went?
After the resurrection He ascended to heaven. "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11).
He went to heaven and that's where He takes us when He comes to get us. What does this tell us about the dead who are judged after the seventh trumpet? Only the "dead in Christ" are raised at the coming of Christ. Also those who pierced Him and some like them (Rev. 1:7) will, of necessity, be raised to see Him come. Their resurrection is before Christ comes because they will see Him coming (Matt 26:64). Then they will die again in the final time of God's wrath. So they, along with all the living wicked and the wicked dead who died earlier will stay dead until all the nations are gathered by Satan to take the city (Rev. 20:7-9). We will look more closely at this later.
Servants of God
"And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." (v. 18)
Although we receive
our reward of eternal life at the coming of Christ (22:12), the final joy
comes at the end of the thousand years after sin and sinners have been
destroyed. Then, as I understand it, we will take full possession of the
earth, under King Jesus.
Earth destroyers destroyed
While conservation of
the environment is important, one might wonder why those who destroy the
earth would be specifically brought to view in the list of final events.
Actually, the picture is broader. When God created the earth He placed
our first parents here in a garden. At the introduction of sin, this perfect
environment began to suffer. Satan claimed rulership of the planet since
its rightful owners had chosen to obey him. From day to day, as God's spirit
is being withdrawn 0702a,
we have increasing chaos and hatred. The earth was our gift from God. We
were to have dominion over it (Gen.
1:26). When sinners are no more, God will melt down our world, create
it fresh and new, and turn it back to us as His people.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. . . . Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." (2 Peter 3:10, 13, 14). Photo credits: "Incinerator," Lake Michigan Federation; "Waste Pipe" National Park Service.
In Psalm 46, we see the picture of melting and restoration. Notice both the anger of the nations and the wrath of the Lord. We discuss the psalm more in connection with the silence in heaven 0801e.
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth
melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. (Ps. 46:6-11)
Divine authority revealed
"And the temple
of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of
his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings,
and an earthquake, and great hail." (Rev. 11:19)
This verse is unique. It might even be considered as the centerpiece at the heart of the book of Revelation.
We have said that God does not impose the divine government on us 1115. Its citizens will be only those who want to live in the holy and loving atmosphere of heaven. As the time of trouble is boiling with hatred, and the righteous are saved out of it, the temple will be opened. The teachers in the massive end-time religious movement will be suffering, still wanting life on their own terms with control over the consciences of men. Then all will be able to see into the heavenly temple itself (although we don't now know how). Christ has come out of the most holy place at the end of the preadvent judgment — the sanctuary has been cleansed (or vindicated). While God is a God of mercy, He is also a God of justice. As the world gazes into the most sacred place in heaven, they see the ark of the covenant. It is called this because inside, under the mercy-seat lid, are the two tables of stone and the law God wrote with His own finger. Human preachers have said that it was done away with, that it was good only for general principles or that Christ has replaced it. One commandment in particular — the one revealing God's plan for our worship — has been the object of special hatred.
For centuries, the day of the sun, endorsed by the Roman church has been the popular day of rest. God, however, has never authorized such a change from the seventh day of the week to the first. Defenders of Sunday worship have noted that the tradition dates from the early centuries A.D. They reason, contrary to the evidence of the book of Acts, that certainly the apostles must have made the change by some unrecorded authority.
When the ark is revealed, all the arguments will fall limp and contrived. The covenant in that ark of the covenant is written on stone. That law will be seen as clearly and positively important to the sovereign God of the universe. This is the time of the seventh and final plague 1618-21.
The lightning photo was shot at Tulsa Oklahoma, USA and is copyrighted © Dave Crowley. Used here by permission. http://www.stormguy.com/
|And he [Moses] wrote on the tables,
according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake
unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly:
and the LORD gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from
the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they
be, as the LORD commanded me. (Deut. 10:4, 5)
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matt. 5:17, 18)
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Ps. 119:89) . . . all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever. . . . (Ps. 111:7, 8)
The temple opened,
not all at once
Our verse covers more than the moment of truth seen at the close of probation. The temple, or sanctuary tabernacle, represents Christ's ministry for us — the ministry made effective by the marvelous gift of sacrifice of the Son of God! Here again is our verse"
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." (Rev. 11:19)
So we have:
The door opened in heaven where Christ began His ministry after the cross 0401b.
The door opened to the most holy place for the day-of-atonement ministry r03d, r06e,.
The door opened at or near the end of this ministry for the world to see the ark and its treasure as we have described above. The image is copyrighted as you can see.
Opened at the
beginning of the most holy place ministry
The revelation of the ark in the temple which is noted in the second of the three times above is also significant in the context of the chapter. The two witnesses after their resurrection were seen in heaven. The people who saw them understood from the Bible that the sanctuary to be cleansed was in heaven. They also saw the importance of God's holy law 1113.
The ark of his
Verse 19 is an amplification on the end of verse 18. In revealing the ark with the covenant — God's standard of life and happiness — the world will understand that Christ is justified in rewarding His servants and destroying the wicked.
|The ten commandment law||Observance 12:17; 14:12
Rejection 12:4, 15:13:4-12; 14:11
|Grace and faith||12:11; 13:10; 14:12|
|Worship and judgment||True 14:7
False 13:4, 8, 12, 15;14:11
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Praise God
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