—Four Plagues: Fire, Blood, Pollution & Darkness
—Part 15 of "The Garden of Eden"
—Revelation Chapter 8
1. REVELATION CHAPTER 8: "And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour." Now we have at last come to the end of the Seven Seals of Prophecy, with which the first seven chapters of Revelation were primarily concerned. As we told you in the Introduction—some of you perhaps might have missed it—the Book of the Revelation is very beautifully, harmoniously, almost mathematically designed.
2. THE FIRST SEVEN CHAPTERS deal with the Introduction, the Letters to the Churches & the first Six Seals of Prophecy‚ history in advance. The next seven chapters have to do with the Seven Trumpets of the Tribulation, & then the last seven chapters have to do with the Endtime events—the complete end of all these things, winding up in Heaven itself.
3. SO AS THE SEVENTH CHAPTER WHICH WE HAVE ALREADY COVERED CLOSES with the angels rejoicing & everybody rejoicing, the saints in Heaven rejoicing that the saints have been Raptured to be with the Lord, & all the saved are now safely out of this world & in Heaven, then we sort of zero in on the last events of this prophetic period‚ on the very Endtime—like a movie flashback.
4. IT'S SORT OF LIKE AN INSET ON A MAP. Sometimes you see a map & they show you the whole map of the world perhaps, & then a certain particular part of that map or an island or a country comes zooming out at you in sort of an inset, or a zoom-out or zoom-in or whatever you want to call it, to place the emphasis on a particular part of that map.
5. SO THAT NOW THAT THE FIRST SEVEN CHAPTERS HAVE CONCLUDED & you have seen a resume of all world history from the time of John unto Heaven itself‚ we're going to zoom-in now. In this synopsis or bird's—eye view of future events, the Lord very beautifully & chronologically is zooming-in to give a closer view of some of these particular Endtime events under the Seventh Seal. For when He opens the Seventh Seal, He begins to show you what happens specifically at the very End just before the Rapture of the saints.
6. THESE ARE CALLED THE SEVEN TRUMPETS OF THE TRIBULATION!—That last 3 1/2-year period of man's history, the last half of the Antichrist's terrible reign of terrorism, reign of terror against all religions‚ all faith, all gods, in which he tries to set himself up as God Himself & abolish all other religions except the worship of himself & his idol‚ his own Image! And he sits in the Temple of God as though he were God & claiming that he is God! (2Thess.2:4.)
7. THIS IS THE LAST HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE TRIBULATION PERIOD of which the Scriptures have spoken for generations, yea, for millenniums! For thousands of years God by His prophets has predicted this last terrible period of Earth's torment, Jacob's trouble, the Gentiles' trouble, tribulation, a terrible period, the worst in all the Earth's history! As Jesus Himself said, "There was not such a time of trouble until this time, no, nor indeed ever shall be." (Mt.24:21.)—The end of man's reign on the Earth, the last of this demonic Devil-man's reign, the last half of the Antichrist's 7-year reign, the last 3 1/2 years of his reign.
8. AND NOW AS WE BEGIN TO READ THE 8TH CHAPTER ON THROUGH THE 14TH‚ we find here a sort of an inset, a sort of a magnification, almost a flashback, in a way, to come & zero in on the very details of this Endtime period‚ the very last 3 1/2 years, the period of these seven Tribulation Trumpets.
9. SO AS THE ANGEL VIEWS THIS BEAUTIFUL SCENE & is explaining it to John‚ the Lamb-Jesus Himself—opens this Seventh Seal, & under this seal the book is opened to this virtually last chapter of man's history on Earth, that is, under his own government, in his own will & way, to show what a mess he's made of the world, what an absolute horrible holocaust he has made of man's history on Earth!
10. SO THAT WHEN JESUS OPENS THIS SEVENTH SEAL to reveal to you & me what is going to happen in this Last Day of man's history, this last 3 1/2 years, it is so awesome, it is so awful, there is a sudden stunning silence in Heaven for half-an–hour before anything else happens, before anything else is said, before anything else is shown! Before John hears anything else, there is a sudden half-hour of impressive stunning silence, as though all Heaven is stunned, as though all Earth is stunned by the awfulness of the horrors that are about to be revealed & occur! That's the scene that's being set.
11. WE COULD BE A BIT FRIVOLOUS & perhaps say as one preacher once told me—preachers love jokes—he said, "Dave, I can prove to you that there are no women in Heaven." I said, "What do you mean‚ no women in Heaven? Of course there are women in Heaven!" No Dave," he says, I don't see how there can be any women in Heaven, because right here in this eighth chapter, first verse, it says there was silence in Heaven about the space of half-an-hour!" He said, "How could there be any women in Heaven if there was silence for half-an-hour?"
12. WELL‚ MAYBE THAT LITTLE BIT OF HUMOUR [IS] TO RELIEVE YOU MOMENTARILY FROM THE AWFULNESS TO COME! I'll never forget the missionary, who'd been a missionary in Tibet for 25 years. I was washing dishes with him elbow-to–elbow at the Soul Clinic in Los Angeles at one time, & he had been a missionary there even when the Communists took over, & was four years a missionary there under the Communists, operating a hospital in the heart of the mountains of Tibet, that Forbidden Land‚ as it used to be called.
13. AND BECAUSE I KNEW HE WAS A VETERAN MISSIONARY, a soldier who had been in many battles & on the field for many years, as a young missionary myself, wanting to be a missionary & wanting to know just what it took to be a missionary, I asked him, "Sir, what would you consider the most important qualification of a missionary? What does a missionary really need to serve God under such severe conditions as you did in those mountain vastnesses with those strange people & that strange language for 25 years, operating a hospital up there, & then for four years after the Communists took over, continuing to work an operate your hospital & even clandestinely preaching the Gospel for four years under the Communists!"
14. I SAID, "WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALIFICATIONS OF A MISSIONARY?" There we stood with our arms elbow-deep in dishwater, washing dirty dishes for over 100 people who were attending the Soul Clinic School in Los Angeles, & he looked at me & he smiled & he grinned. I guess perhaps he was thinking of the humour of our situation.
15. HERE HE WAS A 25-30 YEAR VETERAN, & I WAS JUST A YOUNG GREENHORN, as green as the greenest grass, still wet behind the ears when it came to missionary work. I had been an evangelistic helper & a very short–lived pastor of a church that I'd built, my first & last pastorate—I didn't last very long as a pastor—& now I wanted to be a missionary. But I had never been outside of my own country except to Mexico & Canada. I had never been on a far-off mission field.
16. AND HE LOOKED AT ME‚ BOTH OF OUR ARMS IMMERSED IN DIRTY DISHWATER‚ & I guess he was thinking about our present situation—he a veteran missionary, I a veteran evangelist & former pastor, & here we were washing dishes together! What were we doing here washing dishes for 100 people? And he grinned & he looked at me & he chuckled & said, "David, a sense of humour! A sense of humour!" He said, "You know what a sense of humour is? It's to know how things ought to be, & to see how funny it is when they aren't like they ought to be!"—Ha! And I often thought about that for a long time afterward—to see how things ought to be, & yet to see how funny it is when they're not like they ought to be!
17. HE SAID, "I CAN NEVER FORGET WHEN WE WERE HIDING UNDER THESE BUS SEATS in a bus trying to escape the Communists. When the soldiers came on board to check the passengers‚ we were down on the floor hiding under the seats. My fellow missionary & I almost gave ourselves away, we got to chuckling & laughing so! We thought it was so funny us crawling under the seats—veteran missionaries hiding under the seats of a bus while the serious Communist soldier was checking the passengers & so on. Here we were staring at each other under two bus seats, & we just almost got to laughing until we gave ourselves away!"
18. HE SAID, "A SENSE OF HUMOUR IS ALMOST INDISPENSABLE, if you're going to be a missionary"—& I'm sure that many of you out there of our Family who are missionaries in far-flung fields around the world have often found that in the most serious kind of situation, in the most sober, somber, almost terrifying situation, somehow God has suddenly come to your rescue & your relief with something funny to relieve the tension.
19. IN THEIR TEACHING OF PUBLIC SPEAKING & SO ON THEY CALL IT COMIC RELIEF. You're very serious on a very sober subject, but suddenly you tell a joke to ease the tension of your audience & they laugh & they can relax & they can stand the next heavy section. So maybe that's why you needed to hear that joke about there couldn't be any women in Heaven because there was silence there for half-an-hour!—Ha! Well‚ PTL! Now please don't think I'm a male chauvinist, you Women's Lib folks, because I told that joke! Please have a little mercy & realize that every minority has certain jokes of which they are the butt of those jokes, but you women have the most beautiful butts of all!
20. ALL RIGHT, WE'RE PROCEEDING NOW WITH THE EIGHTH CHAPTER OF THIS MARVELLOUS REVELATION! We've been through seven chapters which showed in advance, predicted in advance what the history of the world was going to be from the day of John until this terrible Tribulation. Now the Tribulation begins, & these great Angels of the Seven Trumpets of the Tribulation begin to blow! Chapter 8, Verse 2:
21. "AND I SAW THE SEVEN ANGELS WHICH STOOD BEFORE GOD; & to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came & stood at the altar, having a golden censer; & there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." That is the throne of God, the throne of Jesus there in Heaven.
22. "AND THE SMOKE OF THE INCENSE, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, & filled it with the fire of the altar, & cast it into the earth: & there were voices, & thunderings, & lightnings, & an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
23. "AND THE FIRST ANGEL SOUNDED, & there followed hail & fire mingled with blood‚ & they were cast upon the earth: & the third part of the trees was burnt up, & all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, & as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: & the third part of the sea became blood; & the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, & had life, died; & the third part of the ships were destroyed."—Sounds like the Atomic War, doesn't it!
24. "AND THE THIRD ANGEL SOUNDED, & there fell a great star from Heaven, burning as it were a lamp, & it fell upon the third part of the rivers, & upon the fountains of waters; & the name of the star is called Wormwood: & the third part of the waters became wormwood; & many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."—Sounds like the Devil being cast out of Heaven, doesn't it!
25. "AND THE FOURTH ANGEL SOUNDED, & the third part of the sun was smitten, & the third part of the moon, & the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, & the day shone not for a third part of it, & the night likewise. And I beheld‚ & heard an angel flying through the midst of Heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the Earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!"
26. THERE WE HAVE THE FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD. Actually this period is continued on into the Ninth Chapter, which we will deal with hereafter. But in case you didn't understand exactly what we were reading & what we were reading about, I wanted to read it to you first, so that you could get the context of the whole chapter, & then to help you understand it.
27. FIRST OF ALL THERE IS AN AWESOME PERIOD OF SILENCE as all Heaven & Earth await in awed silence the most awful period in man's history, & an angel—to emphasize this last time of great horror & terror & suffering—takes a censer from the Throne of God & casts it down into the Earth, & there are voices & thunderings & lightnings—symbolic of the judgements of God‚ symbolic of the horrors to come!
28. THE STRANGE THING ABOUT THIS TRIBULATION PERIOD, unlike the period of God's wrath which follows & the Seven Vials of His wrath which occur in the next seven chapters after these second seven chapters, this second seven chapters, beginning with the eighth through the 14th chapters, is actually almost as much the wrath of God poured out by Satan upon mankind & upon the Earth, as the final seven chapters & their seven vials of God's Wrath are the Wrath of God.
29. NEVERTHELESS, GOD PICTURES IT AS ACTUALLY ALL COMING FROM HIM, because these are some very supernatural things which occur. The last days of man's history, a time to try men's souls, & this censer being cast into the Earth, showing that terrible things are about to come, gives an indication of what's about to happen.
30. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS ARE ASCENDING from His Children unto the Lord!—An encouragement‚ a brief glimpse of the efficacy of your prayers, that God is listening. And though you're suffering through this period, the Lord hears your cries. He hears your prayers & He will not be deaf, but He will heed your cries for help & He will help you. A definite indication that the Lord is going to hear your prayers & help you through this terrible period of the last 3 1/2 years of man's history, the horrible Great Tribulation!
31. THE FIRST ANGEL SOUNDS‚ hail & fire mingled with blood are cast upon the Earth & the third part of the trees are burnt up & all the green grass is burnt up. Sounds an awful lot like an atomic war‚ doesn't it? And I'm inclined to believe that it is—this hail & fire raining down from above!—Atomic bombs that destroy a third of all the trees & all the green grass, think of that! How horrible! It's possible in an atomic war.
32. THE SECOND ANGEL SOUNDED & a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea, a third part of the sea became blood. A great mountain. The third part of the creatures which were in the sea & had life died, & a third part of the ships were destroyed. Mountains in God's world almost always typify or symbolize great kingdoms, great world powers‚ great empires.
33. WHAT GREAT WORLD POWER, WHAT GREAT EMPIRE WILL BE DESTROYED UNDER THE BEAST HIMSELF, this final great worldwide government, this final great world dictator, Satan‚ in the form of a man called the Antichrist? What great government will he destroy?—All man's governments that have preceded him. And from what I can see & the fact that this Beast is called Red & this Antichrist government is anti-God, it sounds like the final world Red Communist government under an anti-God Devil-man known as the Antichrist.
34. WHAT KIND OF GOVERNMENT DOES HE DESTROY? What kind of great world power that has preceded him does he cast into the sea? What else than Capitalism, a great world power that has ruled the Earth now for centuries! And in the destruction of Capitalism & capitalistic powers of the western world in this awful atomic war, think of it, a third part of the sea will become blood & a third part of the creatures in it will die & a third part of its ships will be destroyed!
35. "AND THE THIRD ANGEL SOUNDED, & there fell a great star from Heaven." Stars are always symbolic of angels, & the falling star falling here can be none other than Satan himself, which we find later in another chapter‚ his fall described at this particular time of the Tribulation. "Burning as it were a lamp, & it fell upon the third part of the rivers, & upon the fountains of waters; & the name of the star is called Wormwood: & the third part of the water became wormwood & many men died of the waters because they were made bitter."—The poison of the Serpent!
36. YOU CAN TAKE THESE WATERS HERE & RIVERS & SO ON AS LITERAL IF YOU WISH, that Satan in his fall has even poisoned the sources of water of the world, but I'm inclined to believe that much of this is symbolic as well. He poisons the sources of propaganda, the rivers of information. He poisons the rivers of history, the rivers which flow with feeding information to man through the media; Satan poisons them & makes them bitter. And many men die as a result of being poisoned with his bitter propaganda, his lies, his half-truths, his distortions, his deceits, "with lying wonders", God's word says in another place. (2Thess.2:9.)
37. "AND THE FOURTH ANGEL SOUNDED, & the third part of the sun was smitten, & the third part of the moon, & the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened & the day shone not for a third part of it, & the night likewise." What's the result of all of this?—Darkness! What's the result‚ whether you think it's literal or symbolic, of this poisoning of the rivers & the waters, or the sources of information, the sources of propaganda‚ the media information of the world?—Darkness!
38. AS MAN IS FED POISON WATER, as he is fed poison information, as he is fed poison propaganda, poison news, his mind is darkened, his heart is darkened, even as the Lord said that if we stray away from Him, we become darkened in our understanding, alienated from the life of God & past feeling! (Eph.4:18,19.) And even so will wicked man in these Last Days of the terrible Tribulation period, in spite of all of its horrors & its terrors‚ most of the men of this Earth‚ the wicked of this Earth will not turn to God!
39. THEY WILL BELIEVE THE LIES OF THE DEVIL & this Devil-man, Satan incarnate in the flesh, the Antichrist‚ & as he poisons the waters of information & propaganda, their hearts will become more darkened, their minds even more lacking in understanding as he darkens the world! Or if you want to take it literally, the very heavens are darkened, the skies are darkened, the sun & moon are darkened. Either way, it sounds pretty bad to me.
40. AND THEN HE SAYS‚ "I BEHELD & HEARD AN ANGEL FLYING THROUGH THE MIDST OF HEAVEN saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe"—three woes—"to the inhabiters of the Earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, which are yet to sound!" He says, "There are coming yet three more woes upon the Earth." Four have already occurred under the first four trumpets of the Tribulation, first four periods of the Tribulation period.
41. EACH OF THESE TRUMPETS IS LIKE A HERALD; an angel sounds & heralds a new & more awful period of the Tribulation one by one. If you're here & still alive, you'll know exactly the progress of the Tribulation period by what's happening‚ whether you're under the first trumpet, the second, the third, the fourth, & so on.
42. WE DON'T HAVE TIME THIS DAY OR NIGHT, whatever it is where you are, to finish these trumpets, the last three & the most awful, the worst woes of all, but we will complete them‚ God willing, in our next lesson. But you have just covered four–sevenths of the Tribulation period of seven periods of woe throughout the Tribulation.
43. COULD THERE BE SEVEN HALF-YEARS? Could there be seven six-month periods? Because that's exactly how 3 1/2 years can be divided—into seven half-years, seven six-month periods! Perhaps each one will have a duration of about half-a-year, & you'll know that way exactly where you are in this Tribulation period. Even if you haven't already figured how to count the months—42 months, He says, 3 1/2 years He says, 1260 days He says—you can't possibly misunderstand the length of time of this 3 1/2 year period of Great Tribulation, so that you will know exactly where you are all the time, & how much further you have to go, how much longer you have to wait for Jesus to come! Praise God!
44. IF YOU HAVE JESUS IN YOUR HEART YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY! If you have Jesus in your heart, you don't have to fear. If you are one of God's children who loves Him & loves the Lord & who loves others & is doing your best to help others to find God & to find peace, to find happiness here & now in their hearts—you don't have to wait for Heaven, you can have Heaven in your heart! You don't have to wait for the coming Garden of Eden‚ you can have the Garden of Eden right now in your hearts, if you will just accept Jesus into your heart, & then you'll be ready for whatever comes. For Jesus will come & rescue you out of all of this, as we are going to read from here later. (Sings:)
45. "WHEN JESUS COMES, THE EARTH WILL SHAKE & HEARTS WILL QUAKE, WILL YOU BE READY? When Jesus comes, His face we'll see, eternally, be ready! Has your soul been filled with the fire of His Holy Ghost? Are you saved & ready to meet the Lord of Hosts? When Jesus comes, don't hesitate‚ don't be too late, be ready!" Will you be ready? And are you ready?—If you have Jesus & love Jesus & know He loves you‚ you will be ready for anything!—In Jesus' name, amen‚ TYJ! PTL? Good night & good day & GBY! Bye-bye! We'll see you in the next lesson, God willing! XXX! WLY!