Chapter 7 - The Global Conflict.
Shakespeare wrote: "There is a line by us unseen that crosses every path, the hidden boundary between God's patience and His wrath."
"A great crisis awaits the people of God. A Crisis awaits the world. The most momentous struggle of all the ages is just before us." (1)
"At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be written in the book." Daniel 12:1.
When the great warning of Revelation 14:9,10 against receiving the mark of the beast has finished its work, and all have made up their minds, probation closes. God's people have received the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit - "the refreshing from the presence of the Lord." And they're prepared for the trying ordeal ahead. They are sealed with the "seal of the Living God." The wicked are finally left to the master they have chosen. They've rejected God's mercy, despised His tender love, and trampled on His law. Now - unsheltered from Satan's insane wrath, they have no shelter from his power. He will then plunge the entire world into one great, final trouble spoken of in Daniel 12. God's wrath poured out on this planet in rebellion will come in the form of the seven last plagues brought to view in Revelation 16. Just as the ten plagues of Egypt were against the gods that they worshiped, so, the seven last plagues will be especially focused against those who worship the beast, and his image.
As we study this stupendous subject and try to see the whole picture, we find that God is so fair, so kind - and those upon whom these plagues fall are so disobedient, so hateful, that no one in the entire on-looking universe will accuse God of being unfair for judging thus. After the first three devastating plagues, an angel says "Thou art righteous, Oh Lord, . . . because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." Revelation 16:6.
The heaven-defying law has been passed and God's obedient people have been persecuted, mocked, and sentenced to death - and now - "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.
"And the first angel went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." Revelation 16:1,2.
Can you imagine sores all over your body!
Notice, these gnawing, painful sores will afflict only those who have the mark of the beast and worship his image. What will it be like when this happens?
Can you picture the evening news telling the shocking story of this gross epidemic? People by the thousands who have received the "mark" for the purpose of saving their jobs and comforts of life now find that their comfort is gone!
Instead of causing them to repent, and pray to God for forgiveness, these terrible sores only cause them to "blaspheme God" and "gnaw their tongues for pain."
God knows that if He gave them a million years more, they wouldn't change. When the plagues begin to fall, you'll know that every case is decided for eternity. Medical science will be helpless then. Can you picture doctors' offices and drug stores packed with shouting, angry, crying victims? What medicine will relieve the throbbing, biting, pain?
Not everyone will get these awful sores. Those who so lately have been persecuted and mocked, are now safe. Angels of God protect them. They have loved and been obedient to their Lord even unto death, and now Jesus is very close to them. Though they'll be sentenced to death, God's people will not die. Jesus will interpose to save them. While the wicked are perishing with pestilence and famine, God's people are sheltered in the shadow of His hand.
All of a sudden the news breaks - the waters have turned to blood!
"And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea." Revelation 16:3. Under the third plague the rivers also turn to blood. The word "soul" here means "living creature."
Have you ever seen the blood of a dead man? It putrefies and coagulates into a jelly mass. Those who have hated God's people have tried to shed their blood. Now, picture them in the pain of their feverish boils turning on their faucets for some relief, and out comes the oozing "blood of a dead man." "And I heard another out of the altar say, even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgements." Revelation 16:7.
Look at the beaches! Men are afraid. Where will they drink? They have tried to shed the blood of the obedient. Now they have blood to drink.
Now something unbelievable happens. The atmospheric layer that shields the earth from the scorching heat fails.
"And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory." Revelation 16:8,9.
Horrible pain is now experienced by the wicked. The combination of scorching heat and raw sores is excruciating.
Miracles will abound, like in Moses day; some from God, some from Satan. The wicked will not realize that the devil has counterfeited the gifts of the Spirit. Many who have worked miracles and done wonderful works, have trampled on God's Sabbath and persecuted those who honored it. They've felt secure in God's favor. But now their rage is great. Concerning the disobedient, Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:21-23. Now their true character is revealed. They "blaspheme God and repent not."
Air-conditioners will not be able to cope with the intense heat. The buildings will be like ovens. For the wicked, there'll be no relief anywhere.
This plague is perfectly suited to the sin of the people. They have honored the "day of the sun" according to the traditions of men - and now God gives them sun! The New English Bible says that men were "fearfully burned" during the fourth plague.
In that day, many will long for the shelter of God's mercy which they have so long despised.
God's people will still be hiding in desolate places, but He who provided food for Elijah in the wilderness will care for them. While the wicked are dying from the pestilence, angels will shield God's faithful people and supply their wants. God's promise is - "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them." Isaiah 33:15,16; 41:17.
While the disobedient are shrieking in pain, reeking with sweat, and their parched throats are raw for thirst, God's promise to His people is: "The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night." Psalms 121:5-7.
In choosing to honor the beast and receive his "mark" instead of honoring God and His "seal," the people have chosen darkness. Now again, God gives them what they've chosen.
"And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." Revelation 16:10,11.
Can you imagine that! I think the human mind is inadequate to conceive of the horror that will engulf all society. People of high society, the rich, men of science, and the ignorant masses will be paralyzed with pain, hate, and panic. Society will be utter chaos! Of these scourges the Bible says: "The land mourneth; . . . because the harvest of the field is perished . . . All the trees of the field are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men." "How do the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture." Joel 1:10-12; 17-20. Oh, if they had only responded to God's great kindness. His arms have been stretched out in love. Now it's too late.
The disobedient have decreed that those who've received God's seal cannot buy or sell. Now they themselves are starving with famine and groping in utter darkness. This supernatural darkness is a fit symbol of the gross darkness that has come upon the minds of those who have turned away from the light of truth.
God's people are still hiding out. They've weeks ago lost their jobs, homes, and fled for their lives before insane men urged on by the religious leaders and evil angels. They've given up all for Christ. They've seen the wicked perishing while angels of God provided food for them. To the obedient God's promise is given - "Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked . .. there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." Psalms 91:3-10.
By the fifth plague, the whole wicked world is really angry. They've decided that those who honor God's Sabbath of the Bible are the cause of the horrible convulsions of nature and they determine to blot them from the earth!
The date is set. When the clock strikes midnight on a certain day, God's obedient people will be sentenced to death!
To all appearances it seems that the doom of the people of God is fixed. Day and night they cry to God for deliverance. Has God forsaken them? This very experience prepares them for the bliss of heaven as nothing else could.
In the midst of the chaos, the sixth angel pours out his vial -
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Revelation 16:12-14,16.
Here's where the spirits of devils, by their miracles, prepare the rulers and people of the world and "gather them together" to fight against God and His people. This is the global conflict. This is the battle of Armageddon. It's earth's final battle between good and evil. All have taken sides. The wicked are in the majority and seemingly have great advantage - like David against Goliath.
The word "Armageddon" is made of two Hebrew words - "Har" and "Megidon." This is not just a local battle fought in the Valley of Megido. The word "Har" means "mountain." "Armageddon" is the word to denote the great universal battle where the wicked turn against God and His faithful people. This is a world-wide battle. The national Sunday law of the U.S. has spread to all the nations of the world. The Universal law seeks to, in one day, strike a decisive blow that will wipe the hated sect from the face of the earth.
When the great corrupt, Christian coalition of the world comes to the place where it causes (amid miracles and Satanic delusion) the leaders ("kings of the earth") to decree that those who will not go along with the Sunday law should be put to death, it brings the world to the place of sealing it's own doom.
The people of God, some still in prison, some hidden in forests and mountains - still plead for God's protection, while companies of armed men, hurried on by evil angels, are preparing to execute the death sentence. It's now - in the darkest hour, that the God of Israel will interpose to deliver His faithful people.
The date has been set to strike one stunning blow that will wipe the hated sect from the face of the earth. At midnight the death decree goes into effect. At midnight - the Mighty God of heaven will interpose to save His people. (2)
Watch what happens -
"And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague was exceeding great." Revelation 16:17-21.
BABYLON THE GREAT - THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS has caused all nations to drink of the wine of her mixture of Christian and sun-worshiping practices. Now she drinks of the wine of the wrath of God.
Satan's attempt to enforce the death decree against God's people is the final climax in his king of swindles. God steps in to save His people. And what a deliverance!
Everything in nature goes haywire. The mountains shake like reeds in the wind. The wicked are paralyzed with abject terror and look with amazement upon the scene, while the obedient watch with solemn joy at the signs of their deliverance. Ragged rocks are hurled in every direction. The sea is lashed into fury. The earth heaves and swells. Its surface is breaking apart. Mountain chains sink. Islands disappear. Wicked cities that have become like Sodom are swallowed up by tidal waves. Great hailstones, each "about the weight of a talent" are wreaking havoc. A talent is about 63 pounds. You can see that these, like cannon balls, will beat the wicked cities to a pulp.
Splendid mansions erected by the rich with money embezzled from the poor are dashed to pieces before their eyes. Prison walls tumble down, and God's humble people, who have been held in bondage for their faith are set free.
It's impossible to describe the horror and despair of those who have trampled on God's requirements. The enemies of God's law, from the ministers down, have a new conception of what is truth. Too late, they see the true nature of the counterfeit sabbath that the Roman church has brought in and the shaky foundation they've been building on. Many now see that they're lost. They've chosen the easy, popular way - and have received the mark of the beast. They've followed the religious leaders instead of the plain word of God. They've been led to believe that the majority couldn't be wrong. Now they turn on their ministers and bitterly reproach them for their sorry state. (3)
The global conflict has prepared the way for the coming of Christ and His mighty host of angels during the last of the plagues.
There appears in the sky a cloud which betokens the coming of the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." In solemn silence God's people gaze upon it as it draws nearer and nearer to the earth. Brighter and brighter it becomes, and more glorious, until it's a great white cloud, its glory like consuming fire. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. "And the armies which were in heaven" follow Him. Revelation 19:11,14. The whole heaven seems filled with dazzling forms - "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." No pen can describe it. No human mind is adequate to imagine the fantastic and holy scene. As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the lovely Jesus. There's no crown of thorns on that holy brow, but now a crown of glory rests upon His sacred head. His face outshines the dazzling brightness of the sun.
"And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." Revelation 19:16.
As the King of Glory descends on the cloud amid terrific majesty, and wrapped in flaming fire, the earth trembles. The ground heaves and swells and the very mountains move from their foundations. "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people." Psalms 50:3,4.
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:15-17.
The jokes have stopped. Cursing, lying, lips are now silent. In the middle of their terror the wicked hear the voices of God's people joyfully exclaiming: "Lo this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us." Isaiah 25:9.
While the earth is reeling like a drunkard; amid the terrific roar of thunder, and upheavals of nature, the voice of the Son of God calls His faithful ones of all ages from the grave. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and 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 so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. God's living people are changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." I Corinthians 15:51,52. Those who have been raised from the four corners of the earth, and the living who have just been changed, are "caught up to meet the Lord in the air." 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Angels "gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." "Little children are carried by holy angels to their mother's arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the city of God." (4)
What a deliverance! What a Saviour!
I sincerely believe that there's no way for you to read these amazing truths of God's word without having a deep longing to follow Christ all the way and have a part in His glorious kingdom. I know that you would have never read this very unusual book this far unless you had a real interest in learning truth and following Jesus all the way.
You've learned some of Satan's tactics and how he will swindle the world into accepting his greatest hoax. You've learned how to escape receiving the mark of the beast and something of God's great love and mercy in giving us the warning. Now you see that the corrupt woman of Revelation 17 named "Babylon," is the great body of fallen Christianity which has become a mixture of truth and sun-worshiping practices from ancient Babylon. You can see that in Revelation 18:4, when God says, "Come out of her My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues," He's calling you. It's a love call. It's God's last call to all born-again believers to separate themselves from organizations, no matter how friendly and kind the members may be, which are not obeying Jesus fully and keeping all of God's commandments.
Very soon, all will have made their choice for the "seal of God" or the "mark of the beast." It's not just a matter of two days, it's a matter worship, of loyalty - either to God, or to the beast power. Now - while Jesus is pleading His blood for us in the Most Holy Place in heaven - now, when "the hour of His judgement is come" Rev. 14:7 - before our probation is closed forever, before every case is decided for life or death - even now, He is inviting us to surrender all to Him and have life and peace. Soon it will be too late.
Because the lovely Jesus shed His precious blood for me on the cross of Calvary, I choose, by the grace of God, to follow Him all the way, keep all of His commandments, including His seventh-day Sabbath, and receive the "seal of the living God." How about you? Will you choose to be true to Him too? I want to live with Him when He soon comes, don't you? He says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14.
Many nowadays are getting a hunger and thirst for truth. The honest are not content any more with a watered down mixture. They want the pure truth. Errors from the pulpit don't just fly over their heads any more. I sincerely believe that you are an honest seeker for truth, otherwise you would never have read this far in seeking to know God's will.
There are other major questions that come to our minds - What about the millennial reign of Christ? What is the unpardonable sin? How can we have freedom from guilt and peace of mind? Why are there so many denominations?
There is not room in this small book to answer these and many other questions that you may have. For this reason, I'm making available to you a second book entitled Cosmic Conflict. This intriguing volume will answer these and other vital questions which will help us to prepare for Jesus' coming. In the "Cosmic Conflict," you'll be able to learn "Why Were Sin and Suffering Permitted," and "Who Are the Angels." More of Satan's plots will be exposed. You'll be able to discover whether or not there is any organization that actually follows the requirements necessary for a group to constitute the "remnant church" of Revelation 12:17. Also, you'll thrill to discover more about what heaven will be like, and about the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. If you would like to have your own personal copy of this most intriguing book, fill out the little order form on the next page. We will rush it to you immediately.
May God richly bless you and your family as you continue to study His marvelous word! "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."