The Apocalypse or the Revelation can be divided into four distinct parts as follows:
Part one (chapters 1-3): introduction and the letters to the Seven Churches.
Part two (chapters 4-5): the disclosure of God's glory and authority.
Part three (chapters 6-19): the prophecy itself.
The Seven Seals* (chapter 6): the first half of the Seventieth Week.
The Seven Trumpets* (chapter 8): the second half of the Seventieth Week.
The Seven Vials* (chapters 15-16): the wrath of God.
* It is important to note that these events are enfolded in each other; that is to say, the Seven Vials proceed out from the Seventh Trumpet; and the Seven Trumpets proceed out from the Seventh Seal. The remaining or intervening chapters (chapters 7, 9-14, and 17-19) fill in the details glossed-over by the chapters cited above, i.e., chapters 6, 8, and 15-16.Click here to view the Seals
Part four (chapters 20-22): the conclusion, which itself consists of three parts:
The Judgment (chapter 20).
The Millennium (chapter 20).
Eternity and New Jerusalem (chapters 21-22).
Having outlined the Apocalypse, it is now necessary to apprehend - at least to some degree - the time elements at play in the "Last Days." To do so, however, it is essential to go back to the prophecy of Daniel where the chronology of God's program with regard to BOTH Israel and the Church is sketched-out.
To reiterate quickly what we have already said, God has a program for both the heavens and the earth, the purpose of which is to ultimately manifest His glory and authority in both spheres. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder and first president of Dallas Theological Seminary, writes:
"... throughout the ages God is pursuing two distinct purposes: one related to the earth with earthly people and earthly objectives [Israel] ... while the other is related to heaven with heavenly people and heavenly objectives [the Church]..."
At the heart of God's program, then, is the aim of establishing His authority in:
The earth through Israel and
The heavens through the Church.
To accomplish this purpose, God has labored over a space of some 4,000 years, beginning first with Israel, and ending finally with the Church. In each time frame, God dealt primarily with only one entity: first Israel, and then the Church. For the first 2,000 years, from Abraham to Christ, God labored with Israel, building it up and shaping it as a corporate entity; then He seemingly put Israel on the Shelf, and concentrated on the Church [from Pentecost to the present].
The vision of the Seventy Weeks essentially outlines this course of events, defining the date when, in the providence of God, Israel was to be set aside temporarily while God began His good work with the Church, and fixing the one event which would bring to a close God's labor with the Church and the time wherein God would, like some great master-craftsman, finish His work, put down His tools, and - for the first time - raise them BOTH up together.
The vision of the Seventy Weeks is contained in the Book of Daniel, chapter nine. Daniel had a vision of Seventy Weeks that was determined on his people to finish their transgressions, make an end of their sins and bring in everlasting righteousness.
The expression, Seventy Weeks, should really be read seventy sevens. Whether these sevens are days, weeks, or years is to be determined by the context in which they are used. The period of the Seventy Weeks is essentially divided into two parts by the prophet: the first sixty-nine weeks [or sevens (which itself is also divided into two parts - from the decree of the king to the restoration of Jerusalem (seven weeks); and from the restoration (verse 25b-27a) to Messiah, (sixty-two weeks)] and then the final Seventieth Week.
Daniel had been studying the prophecy of Jeremiah and had learned from it that the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity were drawing to a close (the captivity had begun in B.C. 606, and sixty-eight years had elapsed since then). This discovery thrilled Daniel and he set his face towards God and poured out his soul in one of the most wonderful prayers recorded in the Scriptures. His prayer was interrupted by the appearance of the angel Gabriel, who had been sent at the commencement of the prayer to give Daniel understanding in the matter. Daniel was told that sixty-nine weeks (sevens) would pass from the going forth of the commandment to "restore and build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince" (Christ).
The date of the commandment is given in Nehemiah 2:1 as the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, the king, which was the fourteenth day of March, B.C. 445. The day when Jesus rode in triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Messiah the Prince was Palm Sunday, April 6, A.D. 32. But the time between March 14, B.C. 445 and April 6, A.D. 32 is much more than sixty-nine literal weeks. What explanation is there to this?
We are confronted with a cipher, a puzzle.
It is clear to every careful student of the Word of God that there is a "time element" in the Scriptures. We come across such expressions of time as hours, days, weeks, months, years (all of which are used in cipher-like contexts), and finally, such exotic expressions as "time, times, and the dividing of time." To be intelligible and to avoid confusion, they must all be interpreted on the same scale. What is that scale? It is given in Numbers 14:34:
"After the number of the days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years."
The Lord's scale, then, is that a day stands for a year.
Also, we must not forget that there are years of different lengths. The Lunar Year has 354 days. The Calendar Year has 360 days. The Solar Year has 365 days. The Julian Year has 365-1/4 days. Which of these years shall we use in our calculations?
The key is once again found in the Word of God. In Genesis 8:3 (in the account of the Flood), we find that the five months from the 17th day of the second month until the 17th day of the seventh month was reckoned as 150 days, or thirty days to a month or 360 days to a year. So a "Prophetic Year" is 360 days.
No more careful study has been made of the problem of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel than that by Sir Robert Anderson in the Coming Prince. Anderson reckons the chronology of the Sixty-Nine weeks thus:
"From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks." An era therefore of sixty-nine "weeks," or 483 prophetic years reckoned from the 14th of March, B.C. 445, should close with some event to satisfy the words, 'unto the Messiah the Prince'. No student of the gospel narrative can fail to see that the Lord's last visit to Jerusalem was not only in fact, but in the purpose of it, the crisis of His ministry ... now the twofold testimony of His words and His works had been fully rendered, and His entry into the Holy City was to proclaim His Messiahship and to receive His Doom ...
"And the date of it can be ascertained. In accordance with the Jewish custom, the Lord went up to Jerusalem upon the 8th Nisan, 'six days before the Passover'. But as the 14th, on which the Paschal Supper was eaten, fell that year upon Thursday, the 8th was the preceding Friday. He must have spent the Sabbath, therefore, at Bethany; and on the evening of the 9th, after the Sabbath had ended, the Supper took place in Martha's house. Upon the following day, the 10th Nisan, He entered Jerusalem as recorded in the Gospels. The Julian date of that 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th April, A.D. 32.
"What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of 'Messiah the Prince' - between the 14th March, B.C. 445, and the 6th April, A.D. 32? THE INTERVAL CONTAINED EXACTLY AND TO THE VERY DAY 173,880 DAYS, OR SEVEN TIMES SIXTY-NINE PROPHETIC YEARS OF 360 DAYS, the first sixty-nine weeks of Gabriel's prophecy."
Anderson arrives at his figures as follows:
"The 1st Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes [the edict to rebuild Jerusalem] was 14 March, B.C. 445. The 10th Nisan in Passion Week [Christ's entry into Jerusalem] was 6th April, A.D. 32. The intervening period was 476 years and 24 days [the days being reckoned inclusively, as required by the language of the prophecy, and in accordance with the Jewish practice].
|"476 x 36 =||173,740 days|
|"Add 14 March to 6th April, both inclusive =||24 days|
|"Add for leap years =||116 days|
What do we come up with then? "Sixty-nine weeks of prophetic years of 360 days [or 69 x 7 x 360] =173,880 days."
Thus, as Pentecost suggests,
"... Anderson shows us that the sixty-nine weeks began with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and terminated at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the Sunday of the week of the Lord's death. The corrected reading of Luke 19:42, spoken as our Lord came into Jerusalem on that day is most significant: 'if thou also hadst known, even on this day, the things which belong to thy [Jerusalem's] peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes'. The accuracy of Daniel's prophecy is observed in that he states 'after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off' (Dan. 9:26)."
NOW THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT HOW EXTRAORDINARY THIS ALL IS - THE CIPHER IS EXACT RIGHT TO THE VERY DAY FROM THE DECREE TO REBUILD JERUSALEM TO CHRIST'S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. HOW PRECISE THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES ARE!!
Then the Scriptures indicate that there was to be a break in God's program with Israel which would occur between the Sixty-Ninth and the Seventieth Weeks, and that this break would continue to a war yet distant in the future. why? So that God could "build-up" the Church. The span of time would be ended by a war through which Israel would once again be restored back into the mainstream of God's purpose. The Seventieth Week itself would commence with a "covenant that is made with many for one week," or for seven years.
The Seventieth Week, which will be of a seven year duration, can be divided into two periods, each of a three and a half year duration [1,260 days, 42 months, "time (1 year), times (2 years) and half a time (one half year)"], the first half being known commonly as the "Beginning of Sorrows" (Matt. 24:8), and the second half as the "Great Tribulation" (Rev. 7:14).
Thus, we have a course of events which spans a period of seven years and which is marked off into two distinct periods by three well defined events. These events are as follows:
The beginning: THE TREATY WITH DEATH AND HELL through which Anti-Christ, as "King of Babylon," will guarantee Israel's security in a defense pact against Gog; this treaty will provoke the events of the Gog/Magog War and the first half of the Seventieth Week.
The middle: the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.
The End: the BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON.
The character of the first half of the Seventieth Week will be defined by the Seven Seals; that of the second half by the Seven Trumpets; and the end (the Judgment, which will actually occur immediately AFTER the Seventieth Week) by the Seven Vials. Throughout the length of this entire period, two themes or "currents of action" are carefully interwoven or interlaced into the course of events - one earthly and the other heavenly, one physical and the other spiritual.
The entire course and character of the Seventieth Week are outlined in Matthew chapter twenty-four:
"And as he (Christ) sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you...
"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ: and shall deceive man.
"AND YE SHALL HEAR OF WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
"FOR NATIONS SHALL RISE AGAINST NATION, AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
"ALL THESE THINGS ARE THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
"And then shall many [who have merely professed to be Christians] be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.
"WHEN YE THEREFORE SHALL SEE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE (WHOSO READETH, LET HIM UNDERSTAND)"Then let them ... flee ...
"For then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION [the second half of the Seventieth Week] such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be [again].
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days [the second half of the Seventieth Week] shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,
"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet [the trumpet spoken of in I Thess. 4:16-17: 'For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with ... the TRUMP of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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 they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matt. 24:3-16, 21, 29-31).
The union of the church and the state - oh what a sinister and evil potion this is, when religion and politics are mixed together. No more lethal and noxious poison exists.
The Seven Seals relate specifically to the Antichrist and result from his terrible rule and wars of conquest, beginning first with the Gog/Magog War, and extending from there over the entire length of the first half of the Seventieth Week. They are as follows:
The First Seal [The White Horse of the Apocalypse]: Antichrist going forth to conquer.
The Second Seal [The Red Horse of the Apocalypse]: war and bloodshed which inevitably follow in the wake of conquest.
The Third Seal [The Black Horse of the Apocalypse]: famine which always follows in the path of war. And in the hand of this terrible personage is a pair of balances; and there is a saying that issues forth from this horseman: "A measure of wheat for a penny [literally - denarius, a Greek coin which represented a WHOLE DAY'S wages], and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." The meaning of this is that the condition of man during this era will be reduced to such that he will have to labor a whole day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of barley. But the second part of the saying ["... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ..."] means that the famine in these days will not extend to what might be called a "global elite of worthies" who have evidently allied themselves to the anti-Christ's policy of conquest - only the rich in the ancient world could afford oil and wine.
The Fourth Seal [The Pale Horse of the Apocalypse]: pestilence and death which follow famine and war.
The Fifth Seal [The Persecutions of the Tribulation]: oppression directed against the saints of God [by both CIVIL and RELIGIOUS authorities] because of their testimony during the course of the first half of the Tribulation: "Take heed to yourselves: For they shall deliver you up to councils [the CIVIL authority]; and in the synagogues [churches - the RELIGIOUS authority] ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake for a testimony against them." (Mark 13:9)
The Sixth Seal [Casting out from Heaven of Satan & his angels (cf. Revelation 12:7-9)]: this seal has particular reference to the Abomination of Desolation and indicates [though indirectly] that the effect of these seals does not simply end with the close of the first half of the Seventieth Week, but continues on through to the end of the tribulation - that is to say, pestilence, death, martyrdom, etc. will continue to be felt; it's just that the effects of the Seven Trumpets will be added now to the effect of the Seven Seals.
The Seventh Seal [The Seven Trumpets].
Thus, a picture of the first half of the Seventieth Week begins to emerge. The paramount theme is one of incessant war, confusion, and chaos - at least in those parts of the world and within those circles which resist the cajolery and blandishments of Babylon and the Antichrist; world conquest is their sole object, and where flattery fails, brute force takes over. It is a time of titanic struggle and enormous striving; an era of great triumph on the one hand, and futile resistance on the other; a period of incredible victory on the one side and crushing defeat on the other.
And now, in the midst of all this, the process of winnowing begins - the separation of the wheat from the tares, the good seed from the bad seed, the real Christians from those who had merely professed Christianity for advantage or gain.
"Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Mark 13:12-13)
Persecution, if it is anything, is certainly a sifting process. Throughout the Western World, and most especially in the United States, Christianity has enjoyed undisturbed peace for generations. With many who call themselves Christian - even "born again" - Christianity is not now the faith of ardent conviction, such as that which exists in the hearts of those believers who now so cruelly suffer for their faith in other parts of the world; rather the faith of the Western World, and most especially the United States, is one of rote truth, dead doctrine, and shallow emotion instilled into the mind by means of what today passes as "charismatic Christianity" - an evangelical Christianity with which a D.L. Moody, a Hudson Taylor, or a C.T. Studd would utterly not be familiar.
A persecution, breaking out today with great violence, after so many years of tranquillity, could not fail to winnow the Church. The atmosphere of Christianity in America has been corrupted. A secular spirit has crept in - one which even grasps after, of all things, naked and profane political power. Its leaders can be numbered among the most prominent in American Christendom; the sad truth is that many of these men are received with open arms by unbelievers into the highest recesses of worldly political power. It is against these kinds of leaders that Savanarola, the great fourteenth century Italian reformer railed when he charged:
"The Church had once her golden priests, and wooden chalices, but now the chalices are made of gold and the priests are made of wood."
"The Church had once her golden priests, and wooden chalices, but now the chalices are made of gold and the priests are made of wood."
Paraphrased and put in a modern context, it would read:
"The Church had once her golden pastors in small wooden buildings, but now the buildings are made of gold and the pastors are small little men made of wood."
Pember prophetically saw the condition of today's Church when he wrote more than 100 years ago:
"... [evangelicals] do indeed frequent their churches ... in crowds: they excite a feeling ... by grand buildings ... by beautiful music ... and strong political conviction. But if they clothe themselves with the semblance of devotion in their worship, they altogether lose this outward distinction in the world, and bewilder those who are honestly asking what they shall do to be saved by plunging into gaieties, frivolities, pursuits, and the business of this life, as if they were to remain among them forever ... The powers of the World to Come have lost their hold upon them, they are even as other men: so many points have been yielded, amusements permitted, and vices condoned, that it is almost impossible to distinguish them from nonprofessors unless they recite their creed [i.e., (in today's context) claim to be "born-again"] ... And although many are ready to confess that the Christian must take up his cross, yet being thoroughly satisfied that in these modern times the unwearied zeal of Christ and His apostles would be quite out of place, they can by no means find a cross to bear. If, however, God in His anger smite them with sickness, bereavement, disappointment, or loss, they talk of their trials, and comfort themselves with the thought that they are imitating the Lord by enduring troubles which they cannot in any way avoid."
Indeed, it is an evil specter that has noiselessly glided into the Church while it slumbered and slept, seducing the saints into an unlawful alliance with the state - the sphere of Satan's authority and power. The Church is flattered by the attention of the state; it embraces it. Worldly advantage has no doubt been gained; but alas, it has been gained at the cost of the honor and glory of the Church's heavenly Lord and Savior.
The testimony of her heavenly character is lost when the Church embraces worldly political power and her place of separation from the world is surrendered. She falsifies the Word of the Lord which says of His disciples,
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16).
True, in appearance, Christianity in the last few years has gained a victory in the United States with its false alliance with partisan party politics. The Church is rich and increased with wealth, politicians curry its favor; but this is the glory of the world, not of a crucified Christ. It is the world that has gained the victory, not true Christianity. And the natural consequence of this unlawful union of the Church with the state is that its doors are thrown open to unbelievers - unbelievers who will inevitably seek to use it to suppress the truth of the Gospel and the real saints of God. AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SCRIPTURES PREDICT WITH REGARD TO THE PERSECUTION OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEVENTIETH WEEK. It will in large part be a persecution directed against the saints of God by the professing Church - and not necessarily just the liberal and Catholic churches, but even that portion of the evangelical Church which today has so heartily embraced secular political power.
The Church is rich and increased with wealth, politicians curry its favor; but this is the glory of the world, not of a crucified Christ. It is the world that has gained the victory, not true Christianity.
It is a deadly potion that the Church has mixed for itself, mixing patriotism to corrupt Gentile power (i.e., the United States) with the Word of God. It is spiritual fornication, the fornication of Babylon the Great. It is precisely this kind of thinking which has slaughtered the saints of God up through the centuries: the blood of the saints is involved here. God help those who drink of this potion! They are drinking damnation to themselves.
"... they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues [churches] and prison ..." (Luke 21:12).
Oh, what a sinister and evil potion this is, when religion and politics are mixed together; no more lethal and noxious poison exists. Few, if any, of our readers, outside of Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Caucasus, or Iran, could possibly imagine its malice and deadly danger. With a toss of our heads, we are tempted instead to consign all such imagination to another age, to see such things as the result of superstition and nothing else. But in the frenzy of war and chaos - such as will characterize the Seventieth Week - such things have a way of reappearing. The things that we thought were dead and buried, we will find are not so dead after all - as those in the Balkans have found out to their horror.
We face a new Inquisition! An inquisition that will be forced upon us in the name of "God and Country," and not simply by strangers; but by those who we had deemed friends and neighbors, and by those - God help them - that we had thought of as our brothers and sisters in Christ.
"But you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death ..." (Luke 21:16).
But what does this exactly mean? In the Inquisition of old, when a man was even slightly suspected of harboring thoughts contrary to the religious authorities of his day, "familiars" (or spies) of the Inquisition were employed to watch him, with the view of discovering the least excuse for handing him over to the tribunal. Had he said something against the impious union of the Church and the state? Did he hold an opinion of any sort contrary to that of the established religious authorities? Had he said something against the state itself? - which, when state and Church are united, means, of course, betrayal of God. Was he holding religious meetings in his home without permission or meeting in a church not approved by the state? - which again - when Church and state are united - could mean not just religious treason, but state treason as well. Any of these things were enough to create suspicion. He was now marked and denounced by the "familiars."
At midnight a knock is heard. The suspected man is ordered to accompany the "messengers." His wife and family know what that means; their distress is great. They must now take a last farewell of the beloved husband and father. Not a word of entreaty or of remonstrance dare be breathed. Thus, suddenly and unexpectedly did this frightful force pounce upon its victims. Wives gave up their husbands, husbands their wives, parents their children, etc. An impenetrable secrecy surrounded all the proceedings of this institution. And the workings of imagination only lent further to it's fearfulness. Neither rank, nor age, nor sex, afforded any defense against its watchful vigilance and pitiless severity.
At midnight a knock is heard. The suspected man is ordered to accompany the "messengers." His wife and family know what that means; their distress is great. They must now take a last farewell of the beloved husband and father. Not a word of entreaty or of remonstrance dare be breathed. Thus, suddenly and unexpectedly did this frightful force pounce upon its victims. Wives gave up their husbands, husbands their wives, parents their children, etc.
Such severity has a way of winnowing the Church - you can believe that! But, then, oh how the Church will shine! The dross washed away! The gold revealed at last!
"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." (Daniel 12:3)
And again -
"It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.
"So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves;
"For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute." (Luke 21:13-15)
The Abomination of Desolation will be the special cause of all the super-natural activity of this period - the Great Tribulation.
The "Abomination of Desolation!" The term itself is enough to make one feel very uncomfortable. It conveys a sense of uneasy anxiousness. There is an aura of grim restlessness about the phrase and all that it portends; a sense of apprehension and uncertainty; a premonition of impending doom. But how? Why? It all seems so ambiguous and ethereal.
But this much we can say with certainty: the evil impact of this event will be directed against the "Temple of God," and will plainly divide the first half of the Seventieth Week from the second half. Indeed, it will be the special cause of all the supernatural activity of this period - the Great Tribulation. Specifically, II Thessalonians 2 indicates that the act of desecration will be the entering of Satan into the "Temple of God," wherein he will sit down (or inhabit the Temple), declaring himself to be God:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (2 Thess. 2:3-4)
That such an event will clearly take place, and that it will be directed against the "Temple of God," there can be no doubt. However, a number of things mitigate against the thought that this act of desecration will be directed merely against a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem - though there can be little doubt that after Israel regains total control over Jerusalem (and the Temple Mount) following the Gog / Magog War, they will probably attempt to rebuild the Temple and reinstitute Temple Worship together with animal sacrifice as depicted in the book of Leviticus, etc. - and that, therefore, there is reason to believe that the Abomination of Desolation will be played out against this backdrop. But there are much greater reasons to believe that the desecration of the Temple will reach out far beyond the desecration of a rebuilt Jewish sanctuary.
First, from a scriptural standpoint, the whole tenor surrounding the Biblical term, "Abomination of Desolation," suggests something much more than the mere desecration of a temple made of stone and mud. If this is all that is meant, then Antiochus Epiphanes [the Greek (not Syrian) king of Sulussia], who desecrated the old Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 173 B.C. (by sacrificing a pig), did as much, if not more, than anything the Antichrist could do. Also, surely Titus desecrated the Temple in 70 A.D. when he took Jerusalem and burned the Temple to the ground. One would think that these acts, which parallel in most every respect the act of desecration most evangelicals believe the Antichrist will commit, would bring on the same retribution that God will pour out on Antichrist. Yet both Antiochus and Titus died quietly in their sleep - Antiochus in Tabae in 165 B.C., and Titus in Rome towards the close of the First Century A.D.
Second, how could the stopping of animal sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish Temple constitute an abomination to God? After all, the old animal sacrifices merely pointed to the sacrifice of Christ. After Christ was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of the world, the old animal sacrifices became meaningless - and this was indicated by the rending of the veil in the temple after Christ's death on the cross:
"And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
"And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." (Mark 15:37-38)
Israel's blindness with regard to Christ is not destined to be fully removed until the second advent [i.e., at the end of the Tribulation Period]:
"And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
"In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
"And the land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;
"The family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves;
"All the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.
"In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. (Zech. 12:14-19)
Thus, if Israel's blindness is not to be removed until the end of the Tribulation Period, then animal sacrifices would of necessity have to be a part of any renewed Temple service that the Jews would initiate in a rebuilt Temple after the Gog / Magog War. Why? - because the Jews as yet would not recognize the sacrifice of Christ as the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world," and sacrifice was at the very heart of all Temple service. Indeed, it could fairly be said that without sacrifice, the Temple would be reduced to the status of a synagogue, a grand and imposing one, no doubt, but a synagogue nevertheless, even if it were built on the site of the old Temple itself. To believe that interfering in this now meaningless temple service - a temple service rendered meaningless by Christ's sacrifice on the cross - could in any way constitute the Abomination of Desolation is absurd.
Then to what does the term "Abomination of Desolation" really have reference? It must surely mean more than the mere desecration of a temple made with human hands.
The word "abomination" means something extremely disgusting or hateful - something worthy of or causing loathing. The adjective "desolate" means abandoned, devoid of habitation, deserted, forsaken, lonely, showing the effects of abandonment. The verb "to desolate" means to make desolate, to lay waste, to forsake. The word "desolation" means the action of desolating, the condition of being desolate - a barren wasteland implying grief, sadness, and loneliness. Thus, it could be fairly stated that from a grammatical standpoint, the term "Abomination of Desolation," taken in conjunction with the "Temple of God," means the "loathsome and hateful action which causes the abandonment by God of the "Temple of God," making it void of His habitation and (in conjunction with II Thess. 2) possessed by Satan.
In its scriptural context, what then is the meaning of the term "Abomination of Desolation?" The scriptural link that some Biblical scholars make between a rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the "Abomination of Desolation" is highly tenuous and largely the result of certain evangelicals (very strict dispensationalists) who contend that the Old Testament - and even, as astonishing as it might seem, certain books of the New Testament - were written specifically to the Jews and do not concern Christians at all. Hence, according to this kind of teaching, since the "Abomination of Desolation" mentioned in Daniel 9:26-27 is made in the Old Testament, the passage must have reference only to the Jewish Temple, since the Old Testament is a Jewish book.
Of course, the "Abomination of Desolation" is mentioned in several books of the New Testament - in all the Gospels except John, II Thessalonians, etc. - which would make these books, we suppose, Jewish books, at least according to this kind of thinking; but such thinking is so ridiculous, that it hardly bears refutation - nonetheless, this is the precise origin of the kind of thinking which connects the "Abomination of Desolation" simply with a Jewish Temple.
Moreover, there is a great difference to be remarked on between the glory which will flow out from the Millennial Temple as opposed to any glory which will attend a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem prior to the Millennium - again, the fact of the matter is God is forever through with "temples made with hands." [And in this connection, it should be noted that the Millennial Temple which is described in the Book of Ezekiel will evidently not be made by human hands - the context seems to indicate that it will be solely a work of God.]
Ezekiel had seen the Shechinah (the glory and presence of God) leave the Temple of Solomon prior to the Babylonian sack of Jerusalem, NEVER TO RETURN. No Shechinah ever filled the Second Temple (the Temple which existed at the time of Christ).
Moreover, the Millennial Temple[Read] will differ from the old Jewish Temple to the extent that the sun differs from the moon. Why? Because the Millennial Temple will contain the glory of Christ which no rebuilt Jewish Temple ever could. There will be no need for animal sacrifice in this Temple either, for the sacrifice of Christ will be fully honored, Christ Himself being the High Priest - and there will be no human High Priest in the Millennial Temple. Finally, a stream of healing water will flow forth from the Temple for the healing of the nations. Can anyone reasonably assume that such a stream will flow forth from a rebuilt Jewish Temple destined to be desecrated by the Antichrist?
Certainly, no rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem could match such a description.
It seems, then, that we are once again faced with a dilemma - a desecration directed against a Temple which doesn't seem to exist; unless, of course, we've been looking in the wrong place.
Let's admit that such might indeed be the case and reconsider the whole question in the light of the New Testament, if only because it's impossible to get anywhere by just examining the issue exclusively in light of the Old Testament. The fact of the matter is that while Daniel 9:26-27 does make mention of an event known as the "Abomination of Desolation," we can get no real clue from these verses as to what the term really means. It is not until the New Testament that a firm connection is made between the "Abomination of Desolation" and the "Temple of God." Interestingly enough, it is made by Jesus Himself in an entirely "New Testament setting" just prior to His crucifixion (cf. Matt. 24 and II Thess. 2:3-4). The context in which the connection is made occurs when Jesus had finished telling the Pharisees that He would tear down the Temple and in three days raise it up again. The Pharisees thought that Jesus was referring to the old Jewish Temple; but of course, He was not. He was making reference to His own body:
"Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up'.
"The Jews therefore said, 'It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days'?"
"But he was speaking of the temple of His body." (John 2:19-21)
Thus, when the connection between the "Abomination of Desolation" and the "Temple of God" is first made, it is made essentially at the same time when Jesus described the "Temple of God" as man, and not as a temple made of stone and mud. The old Jewish Temple (and we speak here not of the Millennial Temple) was forever put away after the crucifixion of Christ; whatever glory was left the old temple departed from it (which was signified by the rending of the veil in the old temple) and instead was deposited forever in man on the day of Pentecost.
Paul himself reminds us of this when he tells us that God no long dwells within the cold, dead stones of temples made with hands, when he says:
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God ..." (I Cor. 6:19)
Isaiah also prophesied that the true house of God would be a house of prayer for all nations (Isa. 56:7; Mk. 11:17) and in fulfillment of that prophecy, believers of every nation are today, as living stones, being built up into a spiritual house (I Peter 2:5), "an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Eph. 2:22)
Finally, it is of interest to note in this respect that when Paul referred to believers as the temple (I Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:20-22), he used the Greek word NAOS. But when he referred to the physical temple in Jerusalem (Acts 22:17; 24:12, 18; 25:8; I Cor. 9:13), he used the Greek word Hieron. NAOS is the word Paul used for temple in II Thessalonians 2:4 when he spoke of the "Temple of God" in connection with the "Abomination of Desolation:"
"... so that he [Satan] as God sitteth [dwells] in the temple[NAOS] of God, showing himself that he is God." (II Thess. 2:4)
Therefore, it is obvious that Paul did not mean that Antichrist was simply going to sit down [dwell or make his home] in a physical temple made of stone and mud [Hieron].
As we suggested in Chapter I, like the old Jewish Temple, man is a three part entity - body, soul, and spirit, each corresponding to the three parts of the Jewish Temple - the Outer Court (the body), the Inner Court (the soul), and the Holiest of All [the spirit]. [Please see G.H. Pember, Earth's Earliest Ages, chapter 4, "The Creation of Man," for a thorough but concise treatment of this subject.] It was in the Holiest of All in the old Jewish Temple that the glory of God (the Shechinah) dwelt. No one was ever permitted access to this part of the Temple except the High Priest, and that but once a year on the day of Atonement, when he entered it to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the "Mercy Seat" for the sins of the people. The Holiest of All was the dwelling place of God; it was reserved for Him alone.
So also with man. The spirit of man is the dwelling place of God. It is our spirit that the Holy Spirit enters and inhabits when we receive Jesus at the time of our new birth. The old Jewish Temple was but a type of this present reality - a symbolical representation of God's true dwelling - man. And while the entire old Temple symbolized the dwelling place of God, it was, nevertheless, in the Holy of Holies where God actually dwelt, with the Holy Place (the Inner Court) and the Outer Court standing for those spheres of divine activity which were in accordance with His divine presence. Thus answering truly to this typology, God's Spirit dwells in our spirit, which is the reality in our time of the Holy of Holies.
Moreover, by asserting that man is today the "Temple of God," we are not spiritualizing the Word of God at all, for such is the clear testimony of the Word of God. Jesus said:
"... if a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [home, lit. - Temple or Tabernacle] with him." (John 14:23)
Furthermore, in Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul speaks of regenerated man as the building or "Temple of God:"
"... in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth into an HOLY TEMPLE in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:21-22)
If we once grasp the fact that the true "Temple of God" is man and not a temple made of mud and stone, then the difficulties which we encountered above dissolve. And, in all of this we can begin to see that the "Abomination of Desolation" is a crime much more heinous than we had at first thought - and one that portends a threat against man far greater than has ever been previously imagined - a threat against his very humanity?
Man is a human being precisely and only because he is a three part being - because he possesses in addition to his body and soul, a spirit. It is man's possession of a spirit which sets him apart from the beasts, not his mind. Through his spirit, man was meant to commune or have fellowship with God; the beasts were never meant to have such fellowship; and, thus, do not possess a spirit, only a body and a soul. The "Abomination of Desolation" is an attack against man's very humanity, and in this connection, it should be noted that after the occurrence of this evil act, the Antichrist is no longer referred to as a man, but as a BEAST!! - no more a human being, but a beast possessing no longer any possibility of ever again touching God, his spirit forever deadened and given over to another, HIS HUMANITY FOREVER LOST.
How? It is not all that difficult to ascertain. While Satan has corrupted man's body (making it "flesh"), and through it, he has contaminated man's mind (his soul), he has never had access to the spirit of man. Man's spirit, like the Holiest of All in the Old Jewish Temple, was reserved for God and Him alone. It was to be the seat of God, His throne, His ultimate place of habitation and dwelling. Satan has never occupied this part of man. Man's spirit has been wholly protected by the "RESTRAINING power" of God. (II Thess. 2:7 - see RV or LB)
The "Restrainer" of II Thess. 2:7 must be the Holy Spirit. There simply is no other explanation that suffices. The explanations which make of him human government, law, the visible church, etc. simply fall short. Pentecost agrees. He says, "... it would seem that the only One who could do such a restraining ministry would be the Holy Spirit." [Please see Things To Come, by J. Dwight Pentecost, pg. 205.] And once it is agreed that the real temple of God is man, and that the "Restrainer" is the Holy Spirit, then it must be that what the "Restrainer" (i.e., the Holy Spirit) is protecting is the spirit of man, the "Holy of Holies" within man. That man is the REAL temple of God is, of course, made abundantly clear by any one of a number of Scriptures. For example, John 14:23 when Jesus says: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode (i.e., we will tabernacle) with him;" or Ephesians 2:19-22 when Paul says: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling (i.e., a tabernacle) of God in the Spirit;" or I Cor. 3:16 when Paul says: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
Only once - in a very limited and isolated case - has this restraining power ever been lifted. This instance involved Judas, the "Son of Perdition." At the time of the Last Supper, the Scripture says that Satan "entered into Judas:"
"... And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot the son of Simon.
"And after the sop Satan entered into him." (John 13:26-27)
What could this possibly mean? We are aware today that Satan has great influence over man's fallen nature - the works of the flesh and the fiery darts of the wicked one which assault man's mind (soul) attest to man's vulnerability. There could be no reason for Satan to seek further expression of his personality through man's fallen nature (i.e., man's body and soul). With regard to Judas, Satan evidently took FULL possession of him. He entered into a part of Judas that he apparently had never before had access - his human spirit. This probably accounts for the name that the Scripture has given to Judas - the "Son of Perdition." The term perdition is derived form the Greek word apoleia and means utter and eternal SPIRITUAL destruction or loss or damnation [please see note #684 in the Strong's Greek Concordance].
Now, we know that when God enters a man's spirit, man receives ETERNAL LIFE; so, no doubt, when Satan enters man's spirit, man receives eternal perdition or damnation. In the first act, man becomes a son of God; in the second act, man becomes eternally a "son of Satan" or the demons. It is probably this one sin, this final act of desecration, that Paul refers to as the unforgivable sin. Since that which is eternal remains eternal for ever, whether it be for good or whether it by for evil, there certainly could be no turning back from this particular sin.
In the light of all this, we must conclude that the "Abomination of Desolation" is nothing less than the final and COMPLETE desecration of man's being, the true "Temple of God" (II Thess. 2:7). As he did with Judas, Satan will enter the Antichrist's spirit, and as with Judas, this accounts for the new title the Antichrist receives - the "Son of Perdition." (Please see II Thess. 2:3-8)
G.H. Pember, writing in 1876, fully grasped this concept when he wrote:
"Now while evil angels and demons are doubtless appointed for the ordinary work of influencing mankind, yet we can easily imagine that, whenever there is any transcendentally mighty issue at stake, their great leader, who excels them all in wisdom and power, would himself undertake the more arduous labour. And accordingly, at our Lord's first advent, when the hour of the Prince of Darkness had come, Satan himself entered into Judas, and directed him to his fearful crime (John 13:27). So when the last great masterpiece of the Adversary shall appear, the Antichrist, whose coming, as Paul tells us, is after the working of Satan (II Thess. 2:9), and to whom the Dragon shall give his power, and his throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2), it is but reasonable to suppose that he will be possessed and energized by the Devil in person. And thus, he will be a COMPOUND BEING, PARTLY HUMAN, PARTLY SUPER-HUMAN."
And what is even more terrible, there is reason to believe that the desecration of man's spirit will not simply be limited to the Antichrist, but that it will spread to all unregenerated men through the agency of the demons and the fallen angels which are let loose upon man after the "Abomination of Desolation" and during the Seven trumpets - at least to all those who receive the "mark of the beast" (Rev. 19:20).
Thus, the antithesis of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is the desolating work of Satan. Whereas, in the first case, one becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and thereby a "son of God," in the second case, one becomes a dwelling place of the agents of Hell, and thereby a "son of perdition." For as the believer is sealed or marked out by the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30), the antithesis of this is the mark of the beast, which effectually seals or marks out those who are ultimately destined for eternal perdition (see Revelation 16:2; 19:20-21; 14:9-11). The antithesis of man being created in the image of God to be indwelt by the Spirit of God (Romans 8) and thus being brought into fellowship and/or relationship with God and fulfilling God's original design for the spirit of man, is the Satanic union through the "Abomination of Desolation" and the mark of the beast whereby man's spirit is desecrated and left void of any possibility of fellowship with God. Thus, the "sons of perdition" who have received the mark of the beast are contrasted to the "sons" or "children of God" who have been marked out by the Holy Spirit. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is the antithesis of the mark of the beast.
It is through the terrible impact of the "Abomination of Desolation" that all the events of the second half of the Seventieth Week (the Seven Trumpets) are made possible and through which Satan and his hosts gain direct and unhindered power for the first time over man, and through man, the earth.
And now a new and much more fearful period is ushered in, a period which will differ from that of the Seven Seals in as much as light differs from darkness - for with the Seven Trumpets, the supernatural events of the Seventieth Week will commence.
One of the most fascinating discoveries that anyone who has investigated the supernatural eventually makes, is the fact that there exists today - even in well educated circles - a belief that our world is receiving communications from higher intelligences - intelligences which are readying mankind for an extraterrestrial visitation. It is absolutely incredible how the stories concerning UFOs seem to coincide on this point. The emergence of hundreds of UFO cult groups within the last few decades, all preaching a similar message, along with the appearance of such films as Close Encounters, Independence Day, The Arrival, Fire in the Sky and films of a similar nature are evidence of a growing belief, or at least interest, in the inevitability of a soon-to-come contact with beings not of this earth - of spiritual beings who are soon to descend on our world in great numbers. For how else can it be explained that so many different groups in so many different parts of the world - entirely unknown to each other - claim to have heard essentially the same message?
We are left to consider seriously the possibility that intelligences of great power beyond our earth have a selfish interest and purpose in preparing our world to accept personages they would like to install as our world rulers.
And herein lies the awful meaning behind the Seven Trumpets! This is their terrible secret!
"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. [BUT] WOE TO THE EARTH AND THE SEA, BECAUSE THE DEVIL HAS COME DOWN TO YOU, HAVING GREAT WRATH, KNOWING THAT HE HAS ONLY A SHORT TIME. (Rev 12:1-13)
The unveiling of this horrible mystery, parable, or cipher actually begins with the Sixth Seal.
"And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake ...
"and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind." (Rev. 6:12-13)
Once again, we are confronted with a riddle, a parable, for it cannot possibly be assumed that LITERAL stars will fall on the earth - if only because the earth would immediately cease to exist. The key to the riddle must lie in the use of the word, "stars." It is a code word. But what could it possibly mean? Again, the answer is not all that difficult and is rendered somewhat more intelligible when compared to certain other verses in Revelation chapter 12:
"And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems [crowns].
"And his tail swept away a THIRD of the STARS of heaven, AND THREW THEM TO THE EARTH. ...
"And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war,
"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
"And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
"For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. [BUT] WOE TO THE EARTH AND THE SEA, BECAUSE THE DEVIL HAS COME DOWN TO YOU, HAVING GREAT WRATH, KNOWING THAT HE HAS ONLY A SHORT TIME." (Rev 12:1-13)
What does all this mean? Simply on the face of it, these verses are frightening indeed. The use of the word "stars" in Revelation 12 obviously is made in reference to angelic beings. This is substantiated by Job 38:1-7:
"Then the Lord answered Job [from] out of the whirlwind and said,
"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
"Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,
"Who set its measurements, since you (claim to) know? Or who stretched the line on it?
"On where were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,
"When the morning STARS sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:1-7)
A better translation of the term, sons of God, is sons of Elohim, and means literally angels of God; and finally, the term "angels of God" is here equated with morning STARS. This exact same expression occurs four other times in the Old Testament, and in each instance it means "angels of God." Thus, the verses above lend a certain dreadful credibility to the assertions of the UFO cultists, for it cannot possibly be assumed that the sightings referred to above are of God's angels, but rather of Satan's.
A fuller explanation requires a brief digression into some of the darkest secrets of the Bible - and it is perhaps necessary that we make such a digression at this point.
We live today in a world dominated by science and technology. Reason and progress - these are the passwords of the Twenty-First Century. Rationalism, positivism, and materialism have become the pillars of our society. Indeed, it is perhaps not too much to say that the vitality of Western Civilization itself rests in its magnificent scientific and technological advances. This progress can be seen everywhere: in our architecture; in our schools; in our vast, new, high-tech industries; in our accomplishments in space, etc. A scientific and skeptical attitude towards the supernatural seemingly predominates. What cannot be seen, touched, and scientifically verified is cast off as superstition and "old wives fables."
Man has become the center of all things in today's science: he has replaced God. The thinking of our Twenty-First Century science is almost totally man-centered: it is egotistical and selfish as the titanic arrogance of men like the late astronomer Carl Sagan so clearly attests. However, despite all of its claims to modernity, this kind of thinking is really not new and was reflected long ago by another people equally renowned for their achievements in the Ancient World - people who today lie wasted in the ruins of their once glorious civilizations - the Greeks. The Greek Sophocles wrote in Antigone:
"What a thing is man! Among all wonders, the wonder of the world is man himself ... Man the Contriver! Man the Mastermind."
The thought that there might exist principalities and powers greater than man is not entertained by today's science. The mere mention of the supernatural is often received with a smile of incredulous contempt. And there are not a few professing Christians of the liberal persuasion who manifest a great anxiety to explain away the supernatural and to limit as far as possible its recurrence in the present time, though they do not totally deny its reality. But that Satan can work wonders, they will never allow, and in many cases they seek even to deny his existence.
But today's science - i.e., rationalism - is merely a flickering candle when compared to another reality - a reality, though obscured and half-hidden, is as true, nonetheless, as is the seen reality of science and technology. And when compared to this other reality, reason and science are but the tip of an iceberg that shows above the water, while submerged down below is the great mass of that which is true and real. Deny as we will the existence of this other reality, we are, nonetheless, reminded of it constantly. At night it comes to us when we are alone. Perhaps we are visited by its presence during the day in a solitary walk on the beach or in the forest. Sometimes it comes to us in day-dreams when at work; but, somehow, it is always there - and we know it! Hollywood knows it, too. Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas know it as well. Our young people know it. Movies such as Gremlins, Ghostbuster, The Shinning, E.T., Star Wars, Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, Independence Day, The Arrival, Fire in the Sky and The Omen – to say nothing of the new spate of vampire movies - openly declare the reality of this other world.
And despite all the protestations to the contrary, the so-called secular world is also deeply involved today with the supernatural. Even our institutions of higher learning acknowledge the presence of this other reality. Indeed, the psychology departments of many of our finest colleges and universities have, in recent years, become nothing more than "fronts" for the investigation of para-psychology - that is to say, clairvoyance, astrology, etc. - and scholastic credit is offered in these subjects. Our best police departments openly consult and even employ (often quite successfully) psychics in the investigation of crimes.
Moreover, the simple assertions of the Scriptures should suffice as to the reality of this other world (II Thess. 2:9). And it is indeed an evil and somber empire! Whenever the Scriptures lift the veil, and allow us a momentary glimpse into the Kingdom of Darkness, we behold a malignant and evil community, but one perfect in order and government, and one that thirsts for the subjugation of the human race. If it could, it would doubtlessly annex all of our world to its own dominion. Indeed, the heaven which surrounds our world swarms with evil spirits. And while God has forbidden these spirits to communicate with man and has placed a gulf between them and us, they, nonetheless, break through from time to time - defying God - since they are not at present restrained by force. And this is confirmed by the Scriptures, for we find countless allusions to unlawful dealings between men and these spirits in the Old Testament, while in the New Testament, witchcraft (which is the unlawful relationship between men and the kingdom of Darkness) is treated as one of the works of the flesh. (Gal. 5:20)
It is perhaps necessary at this point to describe, as succinctly as possible, the arrangement of this evil empire - for unless we are made at least somewhat aware of its organization, we cannot truly appreciate the magnitude of the events which will transpire during the second half of the Seventieth Week (The Great Tribulation) or comprehend the depths of darkness into which the world will be plunged at this time.
It is commonly believed by many Christians that the abode of Satan and his followers is in the depths of the earth. While this may indeed ultimately be the case, it most certainly is not now. The Bible refers to him as the Prince of this World. Moreover, in doing so, it indicates that this title is not one that was usurped, but one that he holds legitimately and which belongs to him by right, together with great power and dignity - for how else does one explain the fact that the Lord Jesus Himself not only spoke of our great adversary by this title, but plainly recognized his delegated authority in that He did not dispute his right to the disposal of the kingdoms of this world and their glory. (Luke 4:6-8) Moreover, how else can one understand the passage in Jude wherein Michael, the Archangel of God, is seen rendering to Satan the respect due to one superior in rank, even though that authority was then held in the hands of one who had become so wicked:
"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst (dared) not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." (Jude 1:9)
Also, Satan is called the Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph. 2:2). The word here translated air would be better rendered Heavens. This would seem to be the same as the heavenly places which the NASB, the NKJV and the KJV version render "high places" (Eph. 6:12) and which, as Paul indicates, swarm with the spiritual hosts of the wicked. As Pember has written:
"What, then, is the nature of the power indicated by these titles of Satan? To understand it we must glance at the general hints of Scripture concerning spiritual agencies. For, though unseen and little suspected by the rulers of earth, they are also spiritual powers (Eccls. 5:8), all originally appointed by God, whether they be now loyal to Him or not. Rank above rank these watchers stand, each passing on his account to a superior until it reaches the Most high at the apex of the pyramid. So in Zechariah's first vision, those whom the Lord had sent to walk to and fro upon the earth are represented as delivering their report to the Angel of the Lord, who then appeals to the Almighty Himself." (Zech. 1:11-12)
"And hence we read of thrones, dominions, principalities, powers (Col. 1:16), archangels, and angels. Nor can we know much of Scripture without discovering that vast numbers of these invisible beings, who supervise the affairs of men and their world, are in open rebellion against the Almighty; that there are principalities, powers, and world-rulers of darkness, with whom, as Paul tells us, we have to wage a fearful warfare (Eph. 6:12). These all render account to Satan, their Prince, who, in his reports to the Most High, makes use of their intelligence to accuse ourselves and our brethren before God day and night." (Rev. 12:10)
But there is something more which we must see - note carefully the place where Satan accuses us "day and night!" It is not in the depths of the earth, but in the heavens - and even more, before the very throne of God Himself! (Rev. 12:10) This is substantiated in the Book of Job:
"Now there was a day when the sons [angels] of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." (Job 1:6) (cf. Job 2:1 and Rev. 12:10)
Satan is not in the depths of the earth, but rather he is continually in heaven before the throne of God "day and night" accusing us before the Father! And not only is our great antagonist in heaven, but also his hosts - one third of the angels of heaven (Rev. 12:4). If it was not for the Son, who also appears continually at the throne as our great high priest (Heb. 8:1) with His own precious blood as an offering for our sin, we would have surely perished as a race long ago. From all this, we can easily comprehend that although Satan is a rebel, he has not as yet been deprived of his titles, his power, and - this is very important - his place in heaven; and this is as true of the angels who joined him in his ancient rebellion as it is of Satan himself. He is still the great "High One on High" (Isa. 24:21) who, as Pember suggests, divides the world into provinces according to nationalities, appointing powerful angels over each kingdom (such as the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Grecia - see Daniel). And so we at last get some idea as to what Paul meant when he said that our battle was not with "flesh and blood," but it was instead with "principalities," with "powers," with the "world rulers of this darkness," and with "spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12)
And not only this, but man has another class of evil agents with which to contend, and while this second class of Satan's ministers have not the dominion and authority of the "high ones on high," they are, nonetheless, countless in number and their potential for harm almost as great; we speak here, of course, of the demons or "devils" of the New Testament. Their home is not the heavens on high, but the earth here below; and they do not share the attributes and power of the angels, but are instead the disembodied spirits of those who trod the earth in the flesh before the ruin described in the second verse of Genesis, and who, at the time of that great destruction, were DISEMBODIED by God, and left still under the power of their great leader in whose sin they shared. [Please see Pember's classic work, Earth's Earliest Ages for further study in these matters.]
As a result, these demons suffer a wearisome lack of ease, a wandering unrest, arising from a sense of incompleteness because of their disembodied state. They long to be clothed with flesh again, and so great is their craving that if they can satisfy it in no other way, they will even enter into the filthy bodies of swine (Matt. 8:31). Indeed, it is they, and not the evil angels, who - in their uncontrollable and insatiable desire to be clothed with flesh again - are responsible for the "possessions" described by the Scriptures. They long to "feel" again, if only pain, and this is the reason why many possessed persons inflict pain on themselves, for it is not they, but the demons which have entered them, who are responsible.
That the human race has not been totally subjected and submerged by these evil dignities on high and by the demons here below is only because of the gulf, perhaps the better word is the secular term "dimension," which God has fixed between them and us. For who could know the viciousness of their sin, the depths of their immorality, the vile power of their hateful lusts. And though they can appear as angles of light, they inhabit the halls of darkness, and their home is the blackness of night forever.
However, as we intimated above, this dimension has, from time to time, been pierced and broken through. And when this has occurred, the result to man has been one of unparalleled disaster and moral collapse; indeed, it was precisely this that brought on the monstrous magnification of wickedness and sexual depravity in the days of Noah which eventually led to God's judgment in the Flood. This is detailed in some of the darkest, most enigmatic passages of Scripture contained in the Bible - and we do well to note them carefully. Genesis, chapter 6 says:
"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God [lit., "Elohim," meaning angels - in this case, wicked angels] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves [i.e., had sexual intercourse with] whomever they chose ... The Nephilim [lit., the fallen ones, meaning the offspring of the sexual union between the daughters of men and the angels of Satan] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God [angels] came into the daughters of men [i.e., had sexual intercourse with them], and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old [in Greek mythology], men of renown ... Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth [as a result of man's intercourse with the angels of Satan], and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually ... And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom ... for I am sorry that I have made them'." (Genesis 6:1-2,4-7)
Pember writes concerning this:
"Now, in speaking of the sin of some of these, Jude (Jude 6) tells us that, despising the position of dignity and responsibility in which God had placed them, they voluntarily left their own home [or, disrobed themselves of the spiritual body proper to them as beings of heaven, and materialized for themselves an earth-body; for the word used here in the only other place in the New Testament means the heavenly body with which the believer longs to be clothed] in the ... [heavens], prompted as it would seem by earthward desires [for the daughters of men], and began to exercise an unlawful influence over the human race [which led eventually to the great increase of wickedness - far beyond what is even known today]. And, perhaps, as a punishment, their [i.e. that special class of Satan's angels which involved themselves in this specific crime] return [to heaven] was prohibited."
Pember goes on to say:
"The children of these unlawful connections before the flood were the renowned heroes of old: the subsequent repetition of the crime doubtless gave rise to the countless legends of the Classics [of Greek mythology], as well as in the ancient literature of other languages, in which human families are traced to a half-divine origin."
So heinous was their crime in the sight of God (that is, the unlawful sexual union between men and angels), that He destroyed man in the Flood and dashed the angels responsible to the lowest pit - for Peter tells us that after they (the angels) had sinned, God spared them not -
"... but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment ..." (II Peter 2:4)
Pember writes concerning this passage:
"... a more literal rendering (of this passage) would be ... 'For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved to judgment' ... Tartarus appears to be a place of imprisonment more terrible than Hades ... In the Greek mythology, Tartarus was a dark abode of woe, as far beneath Hades as Earth is below Heaven (Homer II. viii. 16) - a description which fairly corresponds to Peter's 'pits of darkness'. Very significant, too, is the fact that it was thought to be the prison of Cronos (i.e., Kronos) and the rebel Titans [the beings who in Greek mythology were responsible for exactly the same crime as described by Genesis 6]."
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Jupiter, King of the Gods, God of the Sky, Thunder and Lightning and Law, Order and Justice; Aphrodite: Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality; Ares: God of Warfare and Manly Virtues; Diana: Goddess of the Hunt, Forests and Hills, the Moon; Athena: Goddess of Wisdom, Warfare, Divine intelligence, and Craft.
"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God [lit., "Elohim," meaning angels - in this case, wicked angels] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves [i.e., had sexual intercourse with] whomever they chose ... The Nephilim [lit., the fallen ones, meaning the offspring of the sexual union between the daughters of men and the angels of Satan] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God [angels] came into the daughters of men [i.e., had sexual intercourse with them], and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old [in Greek mythology], men of renown ..."
The foundations of human society before the Flood were destroyed by the appearance of the fallen angels. The eruption of these beings upon the earth led to the total corruption of the human race - so much so that it was beyond remedy. The fallen angels had burst the bands that had separated them from humanity. The gulf or dimension that God had placed between men and angels had been bridged, and now these malignant beings poured into the earth like a torrent into an empty lake bed. Violence and bloodshed filled the earth. Slaughter and rampage were everywhere. And if man had been sullied before by the taint of sin, he descended now into a state of abject disgust and abhorrence a thousand times worse than his condition before the poisonous infestation of his world by these malicious beings.
There appears to be but one other occurrence of this sin after the Flood: the assertion is made in Numbers 13:33 in reference to the sons of Anak, who are said to have been Nephilim (the word translated "giants" in the KJV in these verses is Nephilim). These were the Canaanites who so frightened ten of the twelve spies that Moses sent into Canaan after the Exodus to spy out the land; it seems to account for God's command that the whole race of the Canaanites should be extirpated or annihilated. The thought here is that the Canaanites should be removed much like a doctor would excise or amputate a cancerous leg from a man to preserve the rest of the body from the spread of the malignancy.
Now, it has not been without cause that we have taken the time to delve into these Biblical references with regard to the supernatural - for as interesting as all of this is in and of itself, there is here a very somber and earnest reason indeed. And that is this: the gulf that has so long separated man form the fallen angels (and has preserved him from the depths of sin to which his fathers fell before the Flood) will be bridged once again, the bands broken, and the fallen angels - like a flood that has burst its boundaries - will inundate the earth once again as in the days of Noah. This then is the reason for the awful declaration:
"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah." (Matt. 24:37)
The cause, then, of the unfathomable evil, wickedness, violence, and depraved sexual sin which will so devastatingly characterize the Great Tribulation of the second half of the Seventieth Week will be the shattering of the barrier which God has erected between man and the Kingdom of Darkness. Pember writes:
"... the future ... [fall] of the angels of darkness to earth will be the proximate cause of the GREAT REBELLION [i.e. the GREAT TRIBULATION] which will call forth the Lord Jesus in flaming fire to take vengeance." (Rev. 12:13)
With all this in mind, let us now return to the mystery of the Seven Trumpets. Note carefully the salient feature of the first four trumpets. All the plagues have their origin in the heavens! Like a flood, these beings - extraterrestrials, if you wish - pour onto the earth after their expulsion from the heavens. And the result? The plagues of the first four trumpets. The Bible compares their entrance into our atmosphere as follows:
The First Trumpet: hail and fire mingled with blood.
The Second Trumpet: a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea.
The Third Trumpet: a great burning star from heaven cast onto the earth - and the name of the star is Wormwood.
The Fourth Trumpet: the sun, moon, and stars smitten.
Can anyone reasonably assume that literal stars will be cast onto the earth? No, of course not. The stars are the fallen angels and relate directly to Revelation 12:4, 12:8-9, and 12:12:
"And his [Satan's (i.e., the dragon's)] tail swept away a third of the STARS [i.e., angels] of heaven, AND THREW THEM TO THE EARTH ... and there was no longer a place found for them [i. e., the Devil and the fallen angels] in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down [cast out of heaven], the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him ... WOE TO THE EARTH AND THE SEA, BECAUSE THE DEVIL HAS COME DOWN TO YOU, HAVING GREAT WRATH, KNOWING THAT HE HAS ONLY A SHORT TIME."
Woe unto those who in their ignorance and stupidity had looked to welcome these celestial beings, for " ... the name of the star is called WORMWOOD ... " (Rev. 8:11)
There can be no doubt that the celestial bodies which are here seen crashing onto the earth are fallen angels. This is not only substantiated in the verse itself, but also by the prominence of the fraction: ONE-THIRD. THIS FRACTION RELATES DIRECTLY TO THE FALLEN ANGELS - one-third of whom rebelled against God and joined Satan in his insurrection (Rev. 12:4). [It should be noted here that God evidently set limits to the insurrection, those limits being a third of His dominions and no more.]
And woe unto those who in their ignorance and stupidity had looked to welcome these celestial beings, for " ... the name of the star is called WORMWOOD ... " (Rev. 8:11) What does this mean? Wormwood is hemlock, and is an extremely poisonous root. It is bitter and evil tasting, and is used throughout the Scriptures as a curse - especially in reference to SEXUAL SIN (Proverbs 5:4) and SPIRITUAL FORNICATION (Deut. 29:18, Jer. 9:15, 23:15, Lam. 3:15, 19). Spiritual fornication and sexual sin - these are the sins in which the fallen angels involved themselves and which brought on the Flood (Genesis 6). And the judgment and curse of God against them was great indeed:
"... wandering stars [ ... (these) angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day (Jude 6)], for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever." (Jude 13)
And once again, as in the days before the Flood, they will involve themselves in these same ancient sins - sexual intercourse with the daughters of men (producing Nephilim); and, again as before, they will demand to be worshipped as gods (as they so demanded prior to the Flood and as depicted in the stories of mythology of the Ancient World).
And once again, as in the days before the Flood, they will involve themselves in these same ancient sins - sexual intercourse with the daughters of men [producing Nephilim]; and, again as before, they will demand to be worshipped as gods [as they so demanded prior to the Flood and as depicted in the stories of mythology of the Ancient World].
Again, all this, has special reference to the character of the second half of the Seventieth Week wherein Satan in the guise of Antichrist will enter the Temple of God, and demand to be worshipped as God:
"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
"who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." (II Thess. 2:3-4)
Again we ask, What is the result to man in all of this? It will be the same as before the flood, the sudden and violent increase of immorality, wickedness and human depravity beyond all previous bounds (surpassing evidently even the bounds set by the sin which produced the Flood), producing bloodshed, rampage, savagery and tumult on an unheard of scale! - so much so that:
"... except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved ..." (Matt. 24:22)
But wait, there is more, much more:
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.
"And he opened the bottomless pit; and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.
"And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them as the scorpions of the earth have power.
"And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
"And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.
"And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them.
The Fifth Trumpet
"And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
"And they had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions.
"And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.
"And they have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.
"They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon (i.e., Apollos)." (Revelation 9:1-11)
These verses are rendered more intelligible in the Concordant Literal Translation of the New Testament:
"And the fifth messenger trumpets. And I perceived a star fallen into earth. And to him [the star or fallen angel] was given the key of the well of SUBMERGED CHAOS. And he opens the well of the submerged chaos, and fumes ascend out of the well as the smoke of a large furnace, and the sound and the air are darkened by the fumes of the well. And out of the fumes came out locusts into the earth, and license was granted them as the scorpions of the earth have license. And it was declared to them that they should not be injuring the grass of the earth, not any green thing, nor any tree, except those of mankind who have not the seal of God on their foreheads. And it was granted to them, not that they should be killing them, but that they shall be tormented five months; and their torment is as the torment of a scorpion, whenever he should be striking a man. And in those days men will be seeking death, AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL BE FINDING IT. And they will be yearning to die, and death is fleeing from them. And the likeness of the locusts are like horses ready for battle, and on their heads are as it were wreaths like gold, and their faces are as it were human faces. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth are as if they were lions. And they had cuirasses [body armor], as it were cuirasses of iron, and the sound of their wings is as the sound of many chariot horses racing into battle. And they have tails like scorpions, and stings, and their license is to injure mankind five months with their tails. They have a king over them - the messenger of the submerged chaos. His Hebrew name is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon (i.e., Apollos)."
Apollyon (Apollos - Rev. 9:11) in Greek mythology was the god of the heavens (the sun). This is precisely the same personage referred to in verse 9:1:
" ... and I saw a star [fallen angel] from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him."
This is the same star that Revelation 8:9-11 refers to as "Wormwood ..."
"... and a great star fell from heaven burning like a torch, ... and the name of the star is called Wormwood; ... (Rev. 8:9-10)."
It is also that great personage referred to in Revelation 12:9 as "... the great dragon ... that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan ..." -
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth ... And to him, was given the keys of the bottomless pit, and he was given permission by God to free the hosts of hell [the demons or disembodied spirits]."
They are told not to hurt the grass or the earth in any way. THIS JUDGMENT IS ON THE SPIRIT OF MAN AND IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION; only those who have been sealed by God are to be spared. Revelation 9:5 says that they are not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment man for five months; and their torment is to be like the sting of a scorpion. In those days men will seek death and not find it - for the torment is spiritual and not physical! The prohibition (or protection) of God has been lifted from man's spirit.
This is no "common" possession [such as occurs today in instances of demon possession], THIS IS SPIRITUAL POSSESSION - TOTAL POSSESSION! Man is possessed totally by the demons - body, soul, AND SPIRIT!! They (men) are driven no longer by their own desires, but by the irresistible force of Satan's denizens. There is no longer any choice for them. The hater of humanity is now in total control - body, soul, and spirit. The possession is complete. The domination of man by the hosts of hell is now total.
THIS IS SPIRITUAL POSSESSION - TOTAL POSSESSION! Man is possessed totally by the demons - body, soul, AND SPIRIT!!
These citizens of hell are described as horses prepared for battle - their strength cannot be contended. They are bent on the destruction of mankind. On their heads are crowns of gold [a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit], and their faces are like the faces of men [i.e. the men they possess]. They have hair like the hair of women [i.e., their hair is long and unkempt - they have been whipped into a frenzy]. Their breastplates are like iron and the sound of their wings is as the sound of countless war chariots - they are invincible.
We urge you to see our articles on the supernatural, "As in the Days of Noah, So Shall the Coming of the Son of Man Be," The Supernatural, America's Intelligence Agencies, the Republican Elites, Drugs and Pedophilia" and "Witchcraft and the Paranormal."
Now in all of this - i.e., the study of Daniel's Seventieth Week - it is of the utmost importance to grasp this one fundamental fact: the Judgment of God - His wrath - begins ONLY WITH THE SEVEN VIALS which occur at the end of the Seventieth Week [and after the Seventh Trump of God - at which time the resurrection and the rapture occur (Matt. 24:29-31; I Thess. 4:16-17)]. The Scriptures are quite specific as to this:
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven LAST plagues [i.e., the seven vials]; FOR IN THEM IS FILLED UP THE WRATH OF GOD. "... And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having breasts girded with golden ... [belts]. "And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels SEVEN GOLDEN VIALS FULL OF THE WRATH OF GOD, who liveth for ever and ever. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the VIALS OF THE WRATH OF GOD UPON THE EARTH." (Revelation 15:1, 6-7; 16:1)
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven LAST plagues (i.e., the seven vials); FOR IN THEM IS FILLED UP THE WRATH OF GOD.
The false perception of God's wrath as extending over the entire length of the Seventieth Week leads, naturally enough, to the erroneous conclusion that the church will be raptured BEFORE the Tribulation, because the Church is not appointed to wrath. If this was the case, that is, that the wrath of God extended over the entire length of the Seventieth Week; then, no doubt, the Church would have to be raptured, because it has been delivered from all such wrath. But this is not the case! - the wrath of God (which is to be differentiated from the Tribulation of the Saints) is contained only in the Seven Vials, which are to be poured out at the END of the Seventieth Week.
At the Seventh Trumpet, the following occurs:
The Resurrection and the Rapture.
The Temple in Heaven is opened. (Rev. 15:5)
The seven vials are poured out on the earth (see below).
Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 16:19).
The Lord comes to rule and reign. (Rev. 11:15-16)
THE SEVEN VIALS
The Seven Vials (Rev. 15:1-16:31) are:
(1) The plague of boils. (the first vial)
(2) The sea turned to blood. (the second vial)
(3) The rivers turned to blood. (the third vial)
(4) The earth scorched. (the fourth vial)
(5) The earth covered by darkness. (the fifth vial)
(6) The Euphrates dried up. (the sixth vial)
(7) The rain of hail. (the seventh vial)
Now the Scriptures mention a mysterious number of days AFTER the close of the Tribulation. The Bible says,
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days [30 days after the close of the Tribulation period]. "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days [75 days after the close of the Tribulation period and 45 days beyond the 1,290th day]." (Dan. 12:11-12)
Herein one finds contained the time frame for the "Supper of the Great God" (the thirty day period after the close of the Tribulation era), and the "Judgment of the Nations" (the forty-five days after the end of the "Supper of the Great God").
The "Wrath of God" coupled with the Battle of Armageddon will leave the earth polluted with death; so from the 1,260th day of the last half of the Seventieth Week to the 1,290th day (30 days beyond the close of the Seventieth Week), the Lord will cleanse the earth:
"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, Saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great."(Rev. 19:17-18)
From the 1,290th day to the 1,335th day (or from 30th day beyond the close of the Seventieth Week to 75th day beyond) the nations will be judged:
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all His angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
"And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
"And He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
"Then the King shall say to those on His right, Come, you, who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom (the Millennial Kingdom) prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
"Naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.
"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or in prison, and come to You?
"And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? "And did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?
"And the King will answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.
"Then He will say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; "I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.
"Then they themselves also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?
"Then He will answer them, saying Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.
"And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal live." (Matthew 25:31-46)
Their fate is determined by their actions during the Great Tribulation. If they stood by Christians and Jews during that period (much in the same way that Corrie Ten Boom and her family stood by the Jews during World War II), then they are allowed to enter the Millennium as "blessed of the Father" (Matt. 25:34). This corresponds to Daniel's statement in Dan. 12:12:
"And blessed are those who wait and remain until the 1,335th day."
After the 1,335th day, a new age is ushered in and the 1,000 year reign of Christ begins.