"THE WRATH OF GOD-HOW IS IT DESCRIBED?
In II Peter 3:7, 10, 12 the Lord gives us a vivid portrait of the fiery destruction of the heavens and the planet earth which is the direct result of the wrath of God/Day of the Lord judgment!
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men...But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up...Looking for and hasting unto the coming Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."
This great climactic judgment from God is characterized by Peter as an intense consuming fire purging the very elements/atoms that make up the heavens and the planet earth. This side of God's character is one that we shy away from choosing instead to see Him as the merciful, loving and compassionate God of redemption.
However, His righteousness and justice require that sin must be dealt with and it is the God who is a "Consuming Fire" (Hebrews 12:29) Who will bring this final fiery judgment on the rebellious Jews and Gentiles alike including the heavens and planet earth during the destructive, end-times Day of the Lord!
This "day of judgment" as Peter also calls it, is detailed further in the trumpet and bowl judgments of the book of Revelation. The angels, beginning in Revelation chapter eight, are directed by God to carry out His Day of the Lord trumpet judgments:
"And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer...And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth...The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth; and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire...And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers..."(Revelation 8:2-10).
These devastating judgments, effecting 1/3 of the planet's trees, seas, sea creatures, ships, and rivers, all green grass and multitudes of mankind, are the results of the ravaging fire and burning which will consume and destroy completely the objects they are unleashed upon!
Fire, mingled with blood and burning are words that portray a painful and devastating picture of these first three horrendous trumpet judgments! Even the imagination of man is incapable of envisioning such devastation, for the awesome destruction associated with the end of World War II in the atomic bomb attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan although somewhat similar in devastation, did not equal the worldwide destruction which is here described.
The horrible thought that multitudes of men, women and children will experience the fierce wrath of God should be a real motivating factor causing the believer to be witnessing of the grace of God that is now available to all who will repent and believe! The Lord Jesus Christ died for all mankind that they might know Him and not have to go through this terrible time of God's Day of the Lord wrath. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). May we, with the wisdom of God win many to Him, before it is too late!
The fourth trumpet judgment begins as "the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."(Revelation 8:12) The tragic outcome of the sun's darkening for this length of time will be devastating. Four or five hours of no natural light or heat during the day will have a debilitating effect on the planet.
Weather, plants and animals will be adversely affected causing unusual storm patterns, natural growth of crops will be hindered, and the confusion among all animal life will be severe not to mention the extraordinary impact these horrific judgments will have on all mankind when the sun, moon and stars are darkened for 1/3 of the time.
It will be obvious by this time that God is the cause of these supernatural phenomenal occurrences, and although the majority will not repent, there will be those that will turn to the Lord and be saved!
"A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God" (Isaiah 10:22, 23) and not only Jews but also Gentiles: "the sons of the strangers (foreigners) who join themselves to the Lord" (Isaiah 56:6).
An angel is then seen flying in the midst of heaven pronouncing a warning to the people of the earth concerning the "trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound."! These trumpet judgments will increase in intensity and the angel underlines this fact with his solemn threefold warning:
"Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet"(Revelation 8:13). As the Day of the Lord continues to unfold, God's wrath escalates as His angels progressively pour out His righteous anger on those who refuse to repent and believe the marvelous message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The fifth and sixth trumpets outlined in Revelation 9 also are vividly detailed beginning in (v.1):
"And the fifth angel sounded and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and unto him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power." (v.1-3)
The locust's mission will not be to kill, but to torment men for five months! However, they will not be able to afflict those who have been sealed by God for they will be protected (v.4, 5). But, this tormenting or torturing of all other men will be "as the torment of a scorpion, when he srikes a man."(v.5)
The unbearable pain that accompanies the sting of today's common scorpion is bad enough, but a supernatural flying locust with the power or ability of a scorpion to sting with a venomous sting will be an excruciating enemy of anybody living in that time. So much so, that "in those days men shall seek death, and shall not find it...and death shall flee from them." (v.6)
This great world-wide horde of locust-like creatures are described as a supernatural concoction of man, beast and war machine (v.7-10) led by the notorious 'torturer of all torturers', Satan himself. His identity is given in (v.11) "the angel of the bottomless pit...Abaddon...Apollyon."
These two Hebrew and Greek titles both mean Destroyer, a common title given to the most notorious and vicious destroyer of all time. That Satan would be their leader or king is fitting, for many describe these supernatural locust-like beings as the very demons of Satan's legions torturing and afflicting men and eventually destroying, but not annihilating, both body and soul in hell! This fifth trumpet is the "first woe" as we are told by John in (v.12) there are two more woes to come.
"And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates, And the four angels were loosed...for to slay the third part of men, And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand...and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails, for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt."(Revelation 9:13-19)
Another supernatural concoction of horse, beast and war machine being ridden by 'horsemen' is unleashed upon the remaining population of the world killing one third of the survivors. This most devastating of all the judgments that have gone before, is initiated by the four angels, representing four evil angels of demonic origin, being loosed for this very purpose.
The army, numbering two hundred million, could well be mustered by the present day population of China, the world's largest nation in the orient, or it could be formed from a coalition of many nations from located east of the Euphrates. John's description of modern day war machines rings with first century accuracy as many of the weapons of today could be said to spew "out of their mouths...fire and smoke and brimstone"(v.17). These are the instruments of death for one third of the entire world's population!
Let's take a breather, and pause to consider what it will be like during these days of overwhelming judgments of destruction and devastation. Can you imagine, and place those lost people that you know today inside of this ravaging and horrendous time? What about those loved ones of ours that know not the Lord ?
Could it be possible that they might be the very ones who will be alive and experience this unimaginable horror? It is well nigh necessary that we spend the time required on our knees in God's presence, thereby receiving the compassion we need to go forth weeping bearing the precious seed of the Word of God that we might come again rejoicing, bringing these souls with us. Amen? If that is not our heart's desire right now then we are reading this for the wrong reason! Information for the sake of knowing only and not obeying hardens the heart!
The consequences of the sixth trumpet now continue as John describes the reaction of those who are left. Although multitudes now lay dead in every area of this planet:
"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands that they should not worship devils and idols...Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication nor of their thefts."(v.20, 21)
They would not turn from their wicked sinful ways regardless of the horrendous penalties for sin lying all around them! They instead continued taking the lives of others, they continued their sorceries [drug abuse], and their fornication [sexual sins] and their thefts [stealing/looting] in the midst of all these dead bodies who died as a result of the earth shaking judgments from God! Choosing rather to continue in their open and defiant rebellion toward God, they simply refuse to repent and obey God by faith!
The sixth trumpet concludes the First Portion of the wrath of God/Day of the Lord bringing us to the closing days of Daniel's Seventieth Week. The last event of Daniel's Seventieth Week is the Martyrdom of the Two Witnesses:
'And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.' (Revelation 11:7). This is the only 'victory' so called, that the Antichrist can claim during the Day of the Lord, and it is short-lived as the Two Witnesses are miraculously resurrected just three and a half days later! (Revelation 11:11)
The final portion of God's wrath and the conclusion of the Day of the Lord judgment includes the seventh trumpet judgment which contains the seven bowl judgments, the judgment of Babylon and the consummating battle of Armageddon. We will cover these in Part II of our message: "The Wrath of God- How Is It Described?"
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