Revelation 11:1-14 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. 7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.
The location of this passage of scripture is Jerusalem as we read in verse 8. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. The area affected by the two witnesses was the entire world as can be deduced from verses 9-10. The two witnesses prophesied the word of the Lord for three and one half years and then were killed by the beast. The beast arose from the bottomless pit and is likely the beast of Revelation 13:11. After three and one half days the two witnesses were raised from the dead by the Lord and taken to heaven in a cloud. The death of the two will occur near the end of the seven years before Jesus establishes His one thousand year reign on the renewed heaven and earth. The events are described during the time of the sixth trumpet judgment.
As the two witnesses ascended to heaven a great earthquake occurred killing seven thousand people in Jerusalem. The people left in Jerusalem gave glory to God in great fear. We know from Romans 11:25-26 that the nation of Israel will turn to Christ during this time.
What difference does it make if we know what is written in this passage of scripture? All Christians, Jew and Gentile will be living through this period of time during the sixth trumpet. We will be active witnesses of Christ along with the two witnesses prophesying in Jerusalem. All Christians during this time will be subject to the wrath of man (Revelation 13:10). Knowing what is happening will make us bold in our witness of Christ. It behooves us to keep in mind what is written in this portion of scripture.
Revelation 10:8-11 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, "Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, "Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, "You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings."
The Apostle John was told by the voice from heaven to eat the scroll, the Word of God. The Words of God would be sweet in his mouth, but make his stomach bitter. The Words were concerning more judgment upon the nations of the world. We delight in the Word of God, but not in the judgments upon people. Like our Lord, we take no pleasure in the judgment upon the wicked. It is the Lord’s and our desire that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (Ezekiel 18:32; 1 Timothy 2:3-4). Continue to make the gospel known to people in your sphere of influence so that they might repent of their sins, believe the gospel and be saved from the coming wrath of God.
Revelation 10:1-7 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down." 5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
An angelic messenger came to reveal to John what was yet to happen. The seven thunders would be released during the sixth trumpet, but remain a mystery to all but the Lord. These seven thunder judgments come near the end of the seven years that precede the establishment of Jesus’ one thousand year righteous rule on a renewed earth. The angel’s message is hope for the sealed believers, the Church, but judgment to the rest of mankind.
This angelic messenger is arrayed with the rainbow, a sign of promise for the believer and with legs like pillars of fire, a symbol of judgment for the unbeliever. The coming of the millennial kingdom of God is about to be fulfilled as announced by God’s servants, the prophets (see Isaiah 11:1-16; Zechariah 14:1-21). The Lord fulfills His word (1 Thessalonians 5:24). The Church lives through this period continuing to testify about the Lord Jesus Christ and experience the wrath of man (Matthew 28:19-20; Revelation 13:9-10). Be prepared to live through this time by learning and living the Word of God. Every trial we go through builds the endurance we will need to exercise during this time (James 1:2-4).
Revelation 9:12-21 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come. 13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound. 20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
The sixth trumpet judgment comes right near the end of the seven year period before the establishment of the one thousand years righteous rule of Christ on a renewed heavens and earth. Four angels (demons) are released from their prison near the Euphrates River. They had been prepared for this very period of time right down to the hour. They were released to kill a third of mankind (over two billion in today’s world). Two hundred million combatants of some sort are at war against mankind to bring about the deaths by fire, smoke and sulfur coming out of the mouths of the combatants. Even with all this death and destruction, the two thirds of people left did not repent of their sins, did keep worshiping idols, and did keep murdering, practicing sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft. Remember, during this time, the people of God are calling people to repent and believe the gospel. The people sealed by God are not experiencing the wrath of God being poured out on the world, but they are experiencing the wrath of man. Many Christians are martyred during this time (Revelation 13:10).
We need to prepare now for the coming times. We prepare by getting to know the Lord, His ways, how He has equipped us for the coming tribulation, and how to use the equipment He has given us. We learn the head and experiential knowledge we need by learning and living the Word of God. Be disciplined now to be prepared later. Daily be learning and living the Word of God by systematically reading through the Bible and practicing what you learn by faith in the Son of God.
Revelation 8:13-9:11 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!"
9:1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. 2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. 7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; 9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
God’s judgments upon mankind are increasingly severe in order to promote repentance from sins and belief in the Gospel. An Old Testament example of this is found in Leviticus 26:14-33. God sought to bring the nation of Israel to repentance by increasingly severe judgments. It is in God’s character to use His judgments to bring people He loves to repentance and belief in the gospel.
As the fifth angel blew his trumpet, we see a star falling from heaven to earth. The context reveals this star is an angelic messenger from the Lord, sent to do His will. His will is to release a demonic force held in a prison called the bottomless pit. The demons and their mission on earth are described by John. The demons are empowered to torture all the unsealed humans on the earth. Remember, the believers in Christ are sealed (Revelation 7:3) to be protected from God’s judgments upon the unbelievers. For five months the unbelievers will be tormented by the demons to the point of making them want to die. The leader of the demons (fallen angels) is Abaddon or Apollyon, either meaning “destruction” or “destroyer”. The believers are not affected by this judgment on earth and will stand out among all the unbelievers. The vegetation of the earth has grown back from the first judgment and is not to be harmed by the demonic army. The believers still have their primary calling to make disciples and will be calling people to repent and believe the gospel. They will all be “preachers of righteousness” just as Noah was in the days preceding God’s judgment of the world wide flood (2 Peter 2:5).
Revelation 8:12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
A reminder: the trumpet judgments are taking place in the seven years just before Jesus establishes His one thousand year reign on a renewed earth where the lion lays with the lamb where righteousness is the rule and evil is quickly punished. It is important to keep in mind the trumpet judgments as believers so we are aware of what is happening if we are privileged to be alive at the time of the first six trumpets. We will have been sealed as believers (Revelation 7:3) and will not suffer the wrath of God, but will suffer the wrath of man (Revelation 13:9-10).
A third of the sun, moon and stars is struck so that the day and night have one third less light. We may not know now how this will look, but it will be obvious to all alive during that time. Our testimony concerning the Lord Jesus Christ may bring about the saving of some souls. Jesus makes it a practice to tell us ahead of time what He is going to do so we will have confidence in the midst of hard times (John 16:1). We are not promised a life of physical and material prosperity, but rather a life characterized by tribulations (John 16:33). We are promised an abundant life characterized by every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 5:22-23). We experience that abundance in the midst of tribulations by obeying God’s Word by faith in Jesus (John 10:10b; Galatians 2:20). How does the scripture instruct us to live? How are living? We compare the two and determine what changes or growth we need to make.
Revelation 8:10-11 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
The third trumpet judgment takes place within the seven years before the establishment of Jesus’ righteous rule over the entire renewed earth. God is touching the very thing that is essential for life with this judgment, people’s source of water. The Lord caused one third of the earth’s drinking water to be undrinkable. The result of the foul water was the death of many people. Please note that the water was fouled not by people but the Lord sending the blazing star, Wormwood, from heaven.
Equipped with this knowledge, we need to be warning people of the coming judgments and calling them to repent and believe the gospel. Every person who repents and believes the gospel will be spared the trumpet judgments. May the Lord move each of us who believes to be warning the people around us and calling them to repent and believe the gospel.
Revelation 8:8-9 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The second trumpet warns of the specific judgments that will occur within the seven years before the return of Jesus to establish His righteous rule on a renewed earth. The judgments of God are meant to provoke repentance from sin and a turning to the Lord, but that is not always the case with the people undergoing the judgments, as is recorded in Revelation 8:20-21. Please notice the increasing severity of the judgments. Not only is the plant life ruined, but in these judgments one-third of the sea creatures die and one-third of the ships on the seas are destroyed. God uses increasingly severe judgments to get peoples’ attention.
Believers are living through these judgments, but God has put a seal on them for their protection (Revelation 7:3). Believers need to be aware of what the Lord is going to do. If believers are living during these judgments, they will be able to warn the people in their sphere of influence of what is happening and warn them to seek salvation from the judgments by repenting of their sins and believing the gospel. We are to be learning what is going to happen and preparing ourselves to help people to turn to Jesus Christ to escape the judgments. Our preparation is not material, but rather spiritual. We are to prepare by learning and living the Word of God, the Bible.
Revelation 8:6-7 Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. 7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
All the believers on earth are sealed and protected from these judgments (Revelation 7:3). We know that believers will be in the midst of the judgments God is sending on the unpardoned people on the earth, people who live according to sin and not according to the Word of the Lord, people who refuse to repent of their sins and believe the gospel. How do we know? At the last trumpet the believers who are alive will be changed and those who have died will be raised from the dead and given a new, imperishable body (1 Corinthians 15:50-52). The last trumpet is the seventh trumpet in Revelation. The believers at the time of the last trumpet will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The first trumpet judgment brings hail and fire mixed with blood upon the earth. A full third of the earth is burned up along with a third of the trees and all green grass (The grass grows back by the time of fifth trumpet judgment). This is a devastating occurrence upon the earth.
We who are alive at this time need to be warning the people in our sphere of influence to repent of their sins and believe the gospel. We are not to fear. Jesus is telling us ahead of time what is going to take place so we will not fear, but will rather be bold witnesses during that time. Every believer living now is to warn people of the coming judgments and encourage them to take refuge in Jesus by repenting of their sins and believing the gospel (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9). Are you preparing people for the coming judgments? Are you preparing your family?
Revelation 8:1-5 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
The Lamb is Jesus who was slain for the sins of the world (John 1:29). Jesus is about to open the seventh seal. The contents of the seventh seal will take place during the seven years before Jesus establishes His 1000 years rule upon a renewed earth, a rule characterized by righteousness (Revelation 20:1-4).
We see in this picture of the throne room of God, the effectiveness of the prayers of the saints (a term describing believers, Romans 1:7). The prayers of the saints asking the Lord to avenge the wrongs of sinful man are seen rising before the throne of God. Believers pray because we are instructed to love our enemies as the people of God and leave vengeance to the Lord (Romans 12:19-21). God has appointed people in government to mete out His vengeance on the wrong-doer (Romans 13:1-5) and He Himself bring judgments on the wrong-doers as we see in Revelation 8:2, 5. Note: This does not mean we are not to protect our home and community from people seeking to harm us if the government servants are not present. This does mean we are not to be the court, jury and executioner of captured wrong-doers.
We, who believe in Jesus Christ, are to pray for God to avenge the wrongs of evil people and know He will answer our prayers in due time. We, who believe in Jesus, are to warn the people in our sphere of influence of the judgment God will pour out on every wrong-doer. Are you praying for God to avenge the wrongs that are being committed in this present evil age? Are you warning people of the time coming when God will bring judgment on all wrong-doers?