Keys To Understanding
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Jesus also spoke of famine and pestilence following on the heels of war Mt. At this point, the fifth seal is opened, revealing a time of great tribulation which will include religious persecution unlike any ever seen before Rev. When describing this seal in the "Olivet Prophecy," Jesus said:. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Jesus went on to say that this time of tribulation would be so fierce that unless He intervened, the earth and its inhabitants would be utterly destroyed. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. This persecution is inflicted by Satan himself because he knows that he has but a short time Rev. It is unspeakably merciless and cruel and is directed at those whom God has used to accomplish His purpose.
The great tribulation will result in the descendants of Israel going into one final captivity. This captivity will be so great that the horror of the holocaust will pale by comparison.
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A Place of Safety. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. John went on to state that during this flight, the Church will be pursued by a great flood cast out of the mouth of the serpent Satan the devil Rev.
This flood may very well be a great army, much the same as that of Pharaoh which pursued the Israelites during the exodus.
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And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. This remnant is not identified by name but it is very possible it is the Church at Laodicea.
In chapter three of Revelation, Laodicea is characterized as being spiritually lethargic Rev. God then warns this era of His Church that He will chastise them. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. In order for this to happen, this Church will have to go through horrible persecution and even death.
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This vicious persecution is characterized as "the great tribulation. The Sixth Seal. It is at this point that the book of Revelation introduces a sixth seal. This sixth seal pictures a time when the heavens will be radically shaken. At this time, the sun will become "black as sackcloth: and the moon shall become "as blood" Rev. It is also a time when great natural disasters such as earthquakes will reach an unimaginable intensity.
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The book of Revelation indicates that these heavenly signs would drive the mightiest of men to great fear and even cause them to desire death rather than face what was coming Rev. Jesus also spoke of a time when there would be great astronomical signs. When giving the "Olivet Prophecy," Jesus quoted the words of the prophet Joel which described great wonders in the heavens Joel Immediately after the tribulation of those days 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.
The stage is now set for the seventh seal. As we begin chapter seven, the awesome and frightening seventh seal is about to be opened.
Earlier, we learned that the Day of the Lord refers to a prophetic day. A prophetic day actually lasts one year Isa. It is therefore clear that this seventh seal describes the final year of a three-and-a-half year period the Bible refers to as the great tribulation. At this time, when God prepares to unleash His wrath, the apostle John reveals the following. After these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
These four angels are situated in the north, south, east and west. Poised in these four strategic positions, these angels will insure that the coming plagues contained in this seventh seal will cover the entire earth; nothing will escape. It is important to understand that John states these four angels hold back "four winds of the earth.
Throughout the scriptures, wind is a symbol God uses to represent spirit. Even the word for spirit in Greek pneuma means "a breeze" or "a blast of air. It is interesting to note that when Jesus met with Nicodemus and spoke of being born again, He indicated that those who were born again would be like the wind Jn.
It follows then, that these four winds are likely spirit forces unleashed by four angelic beings. The , John then explains that at this time, a special angel arises from the east. This sealing protects them from the devastation which will be unleashed by these four angels. The seventh chapter of Revelation indicates that the number of those who are sealed is exactly , Bible authorities have differed greatly in their view concerning the identity of this unique people.
Some have taught that the , are comprised exclusively of "Jews" while others have identified them as "modern-day Israel. Recently, it has been suggested that there are actually two separate ranks of , with one group consisting of physical Israelites protected by God during the tribulation and the other consisting of those who will be changed into spirit beings at the return of Christ.
One leading religious denomination contends that the , occupy heaven while the balance of the saved will reside on earth for all eternity. The scriptures do, however, identify certain aspects of the , that are indisputable. First, this community of servants are a holy people who will be respected and admired for all eternity. There is an intricate story woven through the scriptures regarding the identity and ultimate destiny of these people. This is not true. The great tribulation described in Matthew and Revelation comprises the fifth seal John saw opened.
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At that time, God will unleash tremendous plagues on the earth. The apostle John introduces the eighth chapter of Revelation by describing the opening of the seventh and last seal of a book God holds in His right hand. He states that once this seal is opened, there will be silence in heaven for the space of about one half hour Rev. John then describes seven angelic beings standing before God and receiving seven trumpets. When blown, these trumpets will bring forth enormous devastation upon the earth.
These seven trumpet plagues pummel a God-rejecting world with such force that virtually billions of people will die. However, it is important to understand that there still remains a great hope for them. This hope will be revealed later in this booklet. The first three trumpet plagues cause unimaginable devastation on the ecological balance of the earth. Fire and blood rain down upon the earth as well as its oceans and rivers.
At the conclusion of these three plagues, virtually all grass will be "burnt up" and one third of all the trees on earth will be consumed by fire Rev. Additionally, the oceans will be so damaged that one third of all sea creatures will die and one third of the ships that travel on them will be destroyed. And as unbelievable as it may sound, this is only the beginning. When the fourth angel sounds his trumpet, one third of the heavens are darkened. This includes a third part of the sun and moon.
Once this occurs, John indicates that an angel will fly through the midst of heaven and cry 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! The Three Woes. Chapter nine of Revelation describes the fifth and sixth trumpet plagues.
These plagues are also identified as the first and second "woes. Involved in this war is an army of million soldiers which do great battle. To put the size of this army into perspective, it will be over times the size of the coalition forces mobilized during the first Persian Gulf War.
As a result, this military conflict will cause such devastation that one third of all mankind will be killed verse Amazingly, however, those who survive will still refuse to repent. Rather, they remain defiant against God and His law verses The Two Witnesses. Prior to describing the seventh and last trump, the apostle John introduces two witnesses who will prophesy against the earth for days, or three and a half years Rev.
John indicates that these servants of God have the power to perform great miracles Rev. He also states that anyone attempting to harm them will be dealt with severely.
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. John then explains that at the end of the days, these two witnesses will be killed by a beast which ascends out of a bottomless pit. Once these witnesses are murdered, an evil society will "rejoice" and actually send gifts to one another to celebrate their deaths Rev.
It is important to understand that although the two witnesses are first mentioned just prior to the seventh seal, they actually appear on the world scene much earlier. Revelation indicates that they prophecy against the earth for days three and a half years. When the seventh seal is opened, the world has only one year days until Christ will return with His saints and establish His Kingdom..
This being the case, the two witnesses actually become prominent figures two and a half years before the seventh seal is opened. This would be just prior to the opening of the fifth seal. Revelation eleven is best understood as an insert chapter designed to introduce two prominent figures who will live during the end time.
However, it is reasonable to conclude that their greatest miracles will occur at the end of their testimony.