Part Four: Plagues and Terrors
Basically, one thing flows into another, so it is difficult to topically sort these events out, so to speak, because as the 7th Seal on The Scroll is broken that brings the 7 Angels with 7 Trumpets which bring on the Plagues and Terrors (or “great woes”), which involve the Small Scroll and 2 Witnesses, which lead to the evil ‘trinity’ and great prostitute, which finally brings us to the Wedding Day and Feast of the Lamb, which explains the White Horse again and the 1000 years, then the new heaven and new earth, and a final description of the New Jerusalem—Hallelujah!
The purpose in breaking this up is to make reading this ridiculous opus easier for you, dear reader, not because it is logically possible to dissect this story—metaphorical or otherwise—into bite-size pieces. Forgive me.
Having said that, looking at Revelation 8-11, let’s see what the Lord has for us because we need understand the basics of WHAT is actually happening to then discern the underlying TRUTH and scriptural MEANING of the events described.
“When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour.” (Rev 8:1)
—This should be significant to us, given the previous description of continual worship in heaven.
Then: altar of prayers, gold incense burner, fire from the altar thrown to the earth: thunder, lightning, earthquake
7 Angels with 7 Trumpets (Rev 8-9)
1) “hail and fire mixed with blood” thrown down onto the earth [remember (Exo 9:23-25)]
1/3 of the earth= set on fire
1/3 of the trees and everything green (Rev 8:7)
2) “mountain of fire thrown into the sea”
1/3 of the water => blood [remember (Exo 7:17-18)]
1/3 of all sea creatures= dead
1/3 of of all ships @ sea= destroyed (Rev 8:8-9)
3)”great star named ‘Bitterness’ fell from the sky, burning like a torch” [I think this is similar to the festering boils or great physical sickness experienced in Egypt (Exo 9:9)] also [remember the bitter water at Marah and the command of the Lord: obedience, healing, and then 12 springs of water at Elim (Exo 15:23-27)]
1/3 of the rivers and springs of fresh water
—made water bitter and many died from drinking the bitter water (Rev 8:10-11)
4) darkness [remember (Exo 10:21)]
1/3 of the sun
1/3 of the moon
1/3 of the stars
1/3 of the day= dark
1/3 of the night= dark (Rev 8:12)
[5th Trumpet brings 1st Terror]
5) fallen star= given the key to Hell and opens it (Rev 9:1)
Darkness again, this time from smoke of Hell’s furnace (Exo 10:21) (Rev 9: 2)
Locusts (Exo 10:12) (Rev 9: 3-11)
sting like scorpions
sting people without the Seal of God on their foreheads
not to kill the people but to torture them for 5 months
Appearance: “horses prepared for battle with gold crowns and faces like a human, hair like a woman’s and teeth like a lion. They wore armor made of iron and their wings roared like an army or chariots rushing into battle. They had tails that stung like scorpions” (Rev 9:7-10)
Authority: “Their king is [Satan] the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is “Abaddon,’ and in Greek ‘Apollyon’—The Destroyer.” (Rev 9:11)
[6th Trumpet brings 2nd Terror]
6) Release of the 4 Angels to the 4 Corners of the World (Rev 9:13-21)
“Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth” (Rev 9:15)
—What perfect planning and preparation that, before the earth was created, these angels had an appointed time and a purposed assignment—
1/3 of human population= killed by 3 plagues: fire, smoke, and burning sulfur (Rev 9:15, 18)
4 Angels’ Army: 200 million+ horses and riders
Appearance: (horses and riders described)
Riders—“the riders wore armor of fiery red and dark blue and yellow”
Horses—“the horses had heads like lions and fire, smoke, and burning sulfur billowed from their mouths…their power was in their mouths and tails, for their tails had heads like snakes, with the power to injure people” (Rev 9:17-19)
[Mighty Angel and Small Scroll (Rev 10)]
Stood with small scroll in hand with left foot on land and right foot on water on earth and roared like a lion—his cry was answered by 7 thunders that spoke, but what they said is kept secret [remember Deut 29:29]—this angel raises a hand towards heaven and says that with the 7th Trumpet “God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as He announced through His servants the prophets” (Rev 10:7)
[Eat your Daily Bread—a Word from the Lord for the People of the Lord]
“Yes, take and eat the small scroll,” said the angel, “It will be sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach!” which came to pass [remember also Ezekiel being fed a scroll that was first sweet in his mouth but turned bitter (Ezek 3:1-7, 14)]; and of course (Deut 8:3, Job 23:12, Prov 30:8, Matt 4:4, 6:11, and Luke 4:4, 11:3) on God’s Word/ bread/ sustenance.
[Two Witnesses] (Rev 11:3-12)
Who: 2 Witnesses= 2 Olive Trees= 2 Lampstands: “that stand before the Lord of all the earth”
Olive Trees: symbol of life, growth, and development; 2 special trees (though not necessarily olive) in the Garden of Eden and same 2 in the New Jerusalem—Knowledge of Good and Evil and Life Everlasting (Gen 2:9, Rev 22:2); used for physical healing/ medicinal purposes; involved in atonement of sins (Lev 2:1) and breaking bread; listed by God as a “sacred offering” (Exo 25:6); used as both an anointing oil (Exo 30:25-31, Ps 133:2) and lamp oil (Exo 27:20-21)—tying the Olive Trees and the Lampstands together.
Lampstands: symbol of light, dispelling darkness, and restoring peace; used to represent the 7 churches earlier in Revelation; used in the Old Testament to atone for sin and provide continual and everlasting light to the inner curtain of the Tabernacle (Exo 27: 20-21); OT—precious and costly: made of one continuous piece of gold (Exo 25:31) and made to look like a living tree with branches, blowers, buds, and fruit (Exo 25:32-36)—tying the Olive Trees and the Lampstands together.
What: 2 “dressed in burlap” to prophesy to the nations and give testimony to the Truth; from the description that ties them to Olive Trees and Lampstands, they are to intercede, prophesy, heal, atone, testify to the truth, bring light, dispel darkness, restore certain things, and be pure, holy, precious, costly, and sacred—given the lists above
When: “1260 days” (or 3.5 years) with a death and resurrection 3.5 days later (a day for each year) and ascension into heaven like Jesus
Where: all the earth, death and resurrection in “Jerusalem” figuratively not literally (Rev 11:8)
Why: to turn the hearts of the people on earth—one last shot before the 7th trumpet to win back souls for Christ
How: Authority from God to do whatever it takes to bring rebellious people back:
“They have the power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish.” Much like Moses and Aaron vs. Pharaoh in OT times—whatever it takes to free people from the slavery and bondage of this earth
—Satan will declare war on them and kill them in the street; people will celebrate, congratulating each other and satan for this ‘victory,’ but after 3.5 days God will speak life to them and they will live and rise up into heaven at His command
[2nd Terror comes to an end]
Terrible earthquake destroys 1/10 of the city—7,000 people die
People repent and glorify God
[7th Trumpet brings 3rd and Final Terror]
7) Loud Voices from Heaven:
“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15)
24 Elders give thanks and praise/ lay out the itinerary: God’s taking back all His power/ any authority that He had allocated out; (just like the OT) God’s wrath on the nations has passed and the time for peace and reconciliation is coming (Wedding and Feast of the Lamb after all this other stuff) but first: justice and judgment; Time of Judgment—Book of Life (Sin and Atonement through Jesus: Life; Sin without atonement: Death); Time of Reward—Book of the Lamb/ Bema Judgment (Stewardship not sin); Final destruction of evil
Ark of the Covenant
If you remember the OT plagues that brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, 5 of the 10 plagues listed in Exodus are repeated here. Why? I think that God is calling to mind a remembrance of the power He’s already demonstrated, but is also revealing that He’s doing a new thing here and that many things happening in the End Times will be like nothing before. It’s also a melding of the Old and New Testaments in that exactly half of the apocalyptic plagues are Old Testament plagues and exactly half are completely new (perhaps representing an old and a new covenant) God is displaying a new wrathful vengeance for a new and different generation (not just Jew but Gentile as well) and renewed power and strength, having sent every other possible warning first.
In even this, He loves.
In even this, He redeems.
In even this, He is jealous for His Beloved, wanting only His Bride to come fully into His arms.
And certainly in even this, He lives!
Plagues of Egypt from Exodus:
1. Blood (7:17-18)
2. Frogs (8:2-4)
3. Gnats (8:16-17)
4. Flies (8:24)
5. Livestock (9:6)
6. Festering Boils/ Sickness (9:9)
7. Hail (9:23-25)
8. Locusts (10:12)
9. Darkness (10:21)
10. Death of Firstborn [man and animal alike] (11:5-6)
5 listed in Revelation: