The Final Wrath Of God
At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, God Almighty reclaims His rule over the Earth. He establishes His indestructible kingdom. Although weakened by the wrath of God contained in the six previous trumpet judgment which God has already poured out on the kingdoms of this Age, the antiChrist and his 8th And Final Beast Empire, and all the other kings of the kingdoms of this age shall be in existence, even after God Almighty has reclaimed His rule over the Earth. The sequence of events outlined in Rev.11:15-19, corresponds with that expressed in Dan.2:44,45.
” And in the days of those kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it break in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay , the silver, and the gold; the Great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof sure.”
The sequence of events outlined by Daniel is crucial. The sequence clearly shows that God will establish His indestructible kingdom before He utterly destroys the kingdoms of the this Age that oppose God in the end times. That means that the kingdoms of this Age ruled over by Satan shall be utterly destroyed after God has established His Everlasting Kingdom on Earth at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. It is also pertinent to note that the beast empires represented by the gold, silver, brass and iron are no longer physically in existence at the time of the reign of the antiChrist, their spirit, the spirit of this Age, the spirit of Satan’s rule over the Earth, lives on in the 8th And Final beast Empire, inasmuch as the destruction of the 8th And Final Beast Empire is the destruction of all the other previous seven Beast Empires. When the Stone cut out of the mountain without hands struck the statue at the feet of iron and clay, the whole satanic edifice came crashing down.
The Preview Of God’s Final Judgment
As we have pointed out, the order and sequence of events in the Scroll of Revelation is the same as in the Book of the prophet Daniel.
” and the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world( age) are become the kingdoms of our God, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, we give thee thanks O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth. And the Temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His Temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thundering so, and an earthquake, and great hail” ( Rev.11:15-19).
We can see the sequence of events outlined in this passage of the Scripture from the blowing of the seventh trumpet to the final destruction of the satanic kingdoms of the antiMessiah and all the other Kings of the Earth. Here is an outline of the sequence of events in the final wrath of God based on the scripture quoted above.
1) The Seventh Trumpet Is Sounded
“And the seventh angel sounded” ( v.15)
2) God Almighty Reclaims His Rule Over The Earth
” and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this Age are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever,….; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” ( vv.15,17b).
3) The Nations Of the Earth were Enraged
” And the nations were angry, “( v.18)
4) God Poured Out His Wrath On those Nations
” and thy wrath is come” ( v. 18)
5) The Bema-Seat Judgment Instituted
” and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great” ( v.18).
6) The Time Has Come To Destroy Those Who Destroy The Earth
” and shouldest destroy them which destroy the Earth” ( v.18).
7) The Description Of The Preview To The Bowl Judgments
” And the Temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His Temple the Ark of His testament( covenant): and there were lightnings, and voices, and thundering so, and an earthquake, and great hail” ( v.19).
The vivid preview of the dreadful seven bowl judgments is also revealed in Rev.15. The Temple of God will be opened to the accompaniment of lightnings, peals of thunder and an earthquake and great hailstorm.
” And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seen last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And after that I looked, and, behold, the Temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who live there for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled” ( Rev.15:1,5-8).
The Greek word translated vial in the KJV is phiale. It is a shallow saucer, the content of which can be easily emptied with a quick swish. The description of God’s wrath being poured out from saucers or shallow bowls, is especially apt, in the light of the short period of time, 25-26 days within which the final wrath of God will be accomplished. The concept of God’s wrath being poured out of relatively shallow wide-rimmed bowls or saucers is indicative of the fact that God’s wrath will be swift, brief and pervasive. The prophet Jeremiah pleaded with God to “pour out His fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and had made his habitation desolate” ( Jer.10:25).
We can see here the reason for God’s wrath upon the Gentile nations: they know not God, they call not upon His name, and they have devoured and consumed Jacob, and made his habitation desolate. God said of Israel, thou only have I known of the families of the earth( ). And again you are my witnesses( ). Israel, the Jewish people, the spiritual descendants of Abraham, the christians, are God’s witnesses on Earth. The land of Israel has been ransacked several times. Several attempts have being made in time past to wipe out the Jew. Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews and christians. Antisemitsm is on the rise today in our world, especially in Europe and the Islamic world. There are regimes that are intolerant of Christian like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, China etc. the worst persecution of Jews and Christians shall be during the Great Tribulation. Jerusalem shall be ransacked and the women ravished. Professing Christians who refuse to be beast-marked, and branded with the mark of the beast shall be executed for their faith in Christ. Therefore God will punish the world for these evils.
The psalmist also wondered how long God will wait before He takes vengeance and punish the ungodly nations of the earth for their persecution of His people. He pleaded with God to take vengeance for His own name’s sake, and for the sake of His own people.
” O GOD, the heathen are come into thy inheritance; thy Holy Temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them. We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, LORD? Will thou be angry for ever? Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place” ( Ps.79:1-7).
In Zephaniah, God responded to the very plea of the psalmist.
” Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to our upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured by the fire of my jealousy” ( Zeph.3:8).
So, God will gather all nations to Armageddon in order that He might pour out His fierce anger on the nations that know Him not, and their wicked rulers. The surviving remnants of Israel have been safely hidden in Azel. All this will happen within a short period of time, just about three weeks. Unlike the fifth trumpet judgment which lasted five months, and the sixth even longer, the seven bowls contained in the seventh trumpet shall be poured out in quick succession, within the remaining 24-25 days of the 30-dat Reclamation Period. Because the bowls are shallow saucers, unlike the narrow-throated pitcher used in Medicine toady, which take a longer time to empty, the shallows bowls of God’s final wrath shall be emptied rapidly, instantaneously, and in quick succession, one judgement after another, without any intervening period, climaxing in the Battle Of Armageddon.
The Ark Of The Covenant
Before the last seven avenging angels begin to pour their bowls denoting the final wrath of God upon the Earth, the Temple of God in heaven is opened and His Ark of covenant revealed. We must remember that the Ark in the earthly Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem is a replica of the heavenly. God told Moses, see that thou make all according to the pattern revealed to thee in the mount( Exod.25:40 ). The final wrath of God will be preceded by the opening of the heavenly Temple, and the revelation of the Ark of God in the heavenly Temple( Rev.11:19a; cf.15:6). It is from the Temple of God in heaven that the last seven avenging angels will emerge and depart, to pour out the wrath of God on the Earth( Rev.15:5,6).
Once the Temple of God in heaven is opened, the Ark of God will be revealed( Rev.11:19b). With the church already raptured, the focus of God’s work on Earth will be to complete God’s plan and purpose for the children of Israel.
For the house of Israel, the ark was the supreme symbol of His covenant with Israel. It symbolized the power and presence of God with Israel in battle when taken to the battlefield( Josh.6:12,13). It signals God’s power and presence, and was referred to as the throne of God( 1Sam.4:4; 2Sam.6:2). The Ark was resident in the Holy Of Holies of the Temple. Originally, the Ark contained nothing other than the two tablets of the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai in the behalf of the children of Israel although the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were later brought in( Heb.9:4); by whom and at what time, we are not told. The top or cover of the Ark which was made of pure gold is designated the Mercy Seat, on which sat the two cherubim of glory( Exod.25:17).
The Ark Of Covenant was associated with the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day Of Atonement. On that day, the High Priest of God entered into the Holy Of Holies , the innermost Sanctum of the Tabernacle and later on the Temple, with the blood of the sacrifice which he offered for himself, and then for the errors of the people of Israel( Lev.16:14,34). This signifying that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet manifest( Heb.9:8). But when Christ gave up the ghost on the Execution stake, the vail into the Holiest of all was torn from top to bottom( Matt.27:51). Now the believer in Jesus the Messiah has access to the Holiest of all. The blood of Jesus, the Messiah, sprinkled on th believer speaks better things than that of Abel( Heb.12:24), an innocent man who was murdered by his elder brother Cain out of envy. It speaketh better things than that of any innocent and unblemished sacrificial animal which can never take away sin( Heb.10:4,11). The animal sacrifice in and of itself had no redemptive power, but was a visual reminder to the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross of Calvary.
Shortly before the destruction of the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, the glory of the God of Israel left the Holy Of Holies, the thresholds of the Temple, out through the eastern Gate of the Temple Mount( Ezek.8:1-4). Jesus, who is the glory of God bodily followed the same path to the Temple. But His people did not recognize Him. He was in the World, and the world was made by Him, but the World knew Hm not. He came unto his own( the children of Israel), and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even them that believed on His name( Jon.1:10-13 ). Through the same path, Jesus was led out of the city to be crucified( Heb.13:11-13).
It is of more than passing significance, therefore that the Ark Of Covenant in heaven is revealed before Christ returns to Earth to execute the final judgment of the wrath of God against the enemies of His chosen people Israel, 5-6 days after the end of the 70th week of Daniel, the time set aside for Israel to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness( Dan.9:24).
The Ark Of Covenant disappeared before the times of the Gentiles( Luk.21:24)began, and it will appear again only after the expiry of the times of the Gentiles, that is the end of the 70th week of Daniel, when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in( Rom.11:25). Therefore we conclude that the Ark of Covenant, the symbol of God’s power and presence, will only become a reality for Isarel, after she has repented of her sins, and received atonement through faith in her redeemer and King, the Messiah Jesus, after her spiritually eyes haven been opened, after God Almighty begins His reign of power over the Earth. All these will take place before the final Battle of Armageddon.
Prior to the destruction of the First Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, the Ark disappeared. The quest for the whereabouts of Ark Of Covenant is a big and naughty issue in Judaism today. There are those who claim the Ark was buried in an underground vault underneath the Holy Of Holies on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But the Muslim Waqf which control the Temple Mount, will not permit any excavations on the Temple Mount, which they call the Noble Sanctuay, Haram al-sharif. There are also those who claim the Ark was spirited away to Ethiopia before the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. There is a group of Christians in Ethiopia who claim to be the custodian of the Ark Of Covenant. They do not allow anyone to see it. No mention is made of the Ark in relation to the second Temple built by the returning exiles. The physical earthly Ark built by Moses may never surface until the Third Temple is erected on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Or an entirely new Ark of Covenant may be built.
The revelation of the Ark Of Covenant in heaven, after the salvation of Israel, the completion of the spiritual Kingdom of God, and the reclamation of God’s rule over the Earth is loaded with meaning, particularly to the newly saved remnants of Issrael just taken into protective custody in Azel prior to the outpouring of the seven Final bowl judgments.
The Bowl Judgments
As we have mentioned several times before, the seventh trumpet has no judgment of its own, but opens into the seven bowl judgments. From the sounding of the seventh trumpet, there remaineth but 24 days to the end of the 30-day Reclamation Period. Although the exact time and duration of the bowl judgments are not specified in Rev.16:1-21), all the seven bowl judgements, including the Battle of Armageddon, which is the concluding part of the final seventh bowl judgment, must transpire within a timeframe that is less than four weeks in duration. This short period is the time remaining in the 30-day Reclamation Period within which “a complete destruction, one that is determined, is poured out on the desolator”( Dan.9:27)- that is the antiChrist, the one who makes desolate.
It is at this point, that Christ reclaims physical possession of the Earth. With the completion of the 70th week of Daniel, and the authority of the antiMessiah to rule for an allotted period of 42 months over, Christ will now exercise His unrestricted and supreme authority. Satan and all his fallen evil angels who were cast down to the Earth at the midpoint of the 70th week, by Archangel Michael and the angels of God under his command, shall be evicted from the Earth premises. Christ will now retake physical possession of the Earth, rightly belonging to the Almighty God, which Satan usurped from Adam following the Fall of Man.
We have given full treatment of all seven bowl judgments in my commentary on Revelation chapter 16. Students who are interested in an exhaustive treatment of the bowls, should consult our commentary on Rev.16. Here, we shall give a brief summary of the bowls.
The First Four Bowl Judgments
The first four bowls are mentioned in Rev.16:1-9). At the pouring out of the first bowl by the first of the seven avenging angels, loathsome sores will spring up on those who are beast-marked, who have worshipped the Dragon-Beast( vv.1,2). There is a very small remnant who have not taken the mark of the Beast. These shall enter the Millennium to repopulate the Earth( Zech.14:16-18).
The second bowl will be poured into the oceans, seas and salt water lakes( v.3). The waters of these bodies of water will become like the blood of a dead man, bringing death to whatever has life in these bodies of waters. All vessels at sea will be lost together with their contents, bringing further pollution to these bodies of waters. The viscosity of blood will not permit swimming nor flotation by ocean-going vessels. Therefore all vessels at sea will be lost.
The third bowl will target rivers, springs and fresh water lakes, turning them into blood( vv.4-7). The dams of cities that depend on rivers to generate electricity will malfunction, throwing these cities into utter darkness. It will be virtually impossible to supply water to these cities that depend on water from rivers, springs and fresh water lakes.
The fourth bowl judgment will will scorch all ungodly people with intense heat. Life on Earth will become virtually unbearable. Many, perhaps millions will die from heat exhaustion.
The first four bowl judgments are inflicted on the whole Earth in general. In contrast, the first four trumpet judgments afflict only a third of the Earth( Rev.8:7,8,10,12).
The Fifth Bowl Judgment
From the fifth bowl judgment, the focus is now on The 8th And Final Beast Empire Of Satan which includes all the five previous Beast Empires represented in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. All these empires assayed to destroy Israel when she had access to the land grant which God to her in the land of Canaan, and her Holy City Jerusalem. The fifth bowl will be poured upon the Throne Of The Beast, brining total darkness on the evil kingdom of the antiMessiah, causing the living wicked earth-dwellers to ” gnaw their tongues for pain”( Rev.16:10). These afflictions, causing excruciating pains will not bring the living wicked earth-dwellers to repentance( ( v.11). They forfeited this right when they accepted the mark of the Beast. Instead, “they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
The Sixth Bowl Judgment
The outpouring of the sixth bowl judgment results in feverish preparation for the final Battle Of Armageddon. First the Euphrates River is dried up preparing the way for the kings of the East. This miracle gives the Kings of the East, China, India, Pakistan, etc more easy access to the land of Israel where the Battle Of Armageddon will be staged( Rev.16:12; cf. Zeph.3:8).
” And the sixth angel poured 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 the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto the Kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon”( Rev.16:12-14,16).
After God begins to unleash His final wrath on the living wicked earth-dwellers, the wicked nations of the world and their satanic rulers will become hopelessly desperate as they realize that God Almighty now rules the Earth.
” Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The Kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall hold them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex the, in His displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill Zion” ( Ps.2:1-6).
Having been rallied with the assistance of satanic demonic messengers, the wicked nations of the world and their evil and wicked Kings and rulers will dispatch their armies to the plains of Jezrael, also called the plains of Esdraelon near the ancient city of Megiddo, about 96 km north of Jerusalem. There they will engage in the military conflict popularly known as the Battle Of Armageddon, or simply as Armageddon. This will be one last desperate effort to will win back what they have already lost at the sounding of the seventh trumpet when God Almighty reclaimed His rule over the Earth.
This will be Satan’s last effort to regain his lost rule over the Eart. Remember God’s lease of the Earth to Adam, expires at the end of the sixth millennium. The seventh day or better still millennium is the Shabbat of the Lord.
Satan has been defeated in every battle. That will not however deter him from amassing the largest and most sophisticated army ever assembled in the history of mankind from the whole world. The aim will be to face the forces of God, the heavenly armies led by Christ in final counteroffensive. This will be Satan’s last plan and effort to foil the plan of God, before the start of the Millennium. However, God’s plan will be fulfilled perfectly and literally right up to the Battle O Armageddon.
The Seventh Bowl Judgment
The final seventh bowl judgment is the climax of God’s wrath upon the wicked inhabitants of the Earth. It will inflict more damage than any of the previous seven trumpet judgments and the other previous six bowl judgements.
” And the seventh angel poured 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 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 in 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 thereof was exceedingly great” ( Rev.16:17-21).
When the seventh bowl is poured out upon the Earth, there will be thunders and lightnings. The climax will be the worst earthquake in the history of human disasters. This earthquake will be massive and global. It will make the worst of the earthquakes known to humanity pale in comparison. It will be so great an earthquake such as was not since men were upon the Earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great( Rev.16:18).
This earthquake will not be isolated but worldwide. It will be so devastating that the cities of the nations will fall, every island destroyed, and the mountains will vanish.
The earthquake will disrupt electricity, water supply, transportation and communications. The Earth will be thrown into utter darkness. Men will be fleeing from the wreckages of their cities on foot due to disruption of roads and means of transportation. There will be really no where to flee because no part of the globe is unaffected. The cities are destroyed utterly offering no form of shelter and protection. Men, women, and children will be exposed to the elements. The few survivors will be running for their dear lives, leaving the dead unburied, and the injured untended. One could imagine the insanitary condition that would follow.
As it were not bad enough, hailstones, weighing 33.33kg will skyrocket to the Earth with great momentum, literally destroying any living thing on which it impinges, smashing vehicles and any standing structures. There will be no question in any one’s mind as to the source of this punishment on mankind. It is not one nuclear power unleashing its nuclear arsenal on other nations; for no nation is spared. Men will recognize God as the source of this punishment. But instead of repentance, they will blaspheme God because of the plague of hailstones. It will be exceedingly severe( v.21).
It will be a wonder, in the light of this devastation, how the armies of the nations will be able to gather for the Battle of Armageddon in the valley of Esdraelon. It is even a greater wonder how they survived the devastation of the final seventh bowl judgment. They were most likely spared by God in order that they might be destroyed by Christ and His heavenly hosts when He judges and wages war on the Kings of the Earth and their armies, gathered to make war against Him at Armageddon( Rev.19:11,19).
In relation to the seventh bowl judgment, two cities will be singled out for special judgment. The first of these extremely significant events will be the devastation of Jerusalem, the seat of the antiChrist’s humanistic government. And the great city was divided into three parts. Although Jerusalem is not the only great city, but in the light of the reference to “the great city where also their Lord was crucified” in Rev.11:8, which can only refer to Jerusalem, it is clear that Jerusalem is intended. Jerusalem will be divided into three parts, and will fall alongside the cities of the nations when they fell. Therefore Jerusalem will be severely damaged by this earthquake.
In the light of the severe devastation of Jerusalem by the worldwide earthquake, we can begin to see the mercy and the love of God in cleaving the mount of Olives, creating a roadway by the valley of the mountains for the newly saved remnant of Israel to flee to Azal. For the mountains shall reach up to Azal. And His people shall flee just as they fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah( Zech.14:5).
Finally, the great city Babylon shall also come into remembrance, to give to her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath( Rev.16:19). God wrath is on all the cities because of the vestiges of satanic humanistic governments. So as God destroys the cities of the nations, He will also destroy the great city Jerusalem( Rev.17:18; 18:18,19,21), and the great city Babylon on which sits the Babylonian harlot( Rev.17:3). Although the judgment of the great city Babylon and the Babylonian harlot, the false religious system initiated by Nimrod, and epitomized by the one world religion instituted and organized by the antiMessiah and the false prophet, the second beast, are part of the final seventh bowl judgment, they are exhaustively treated in our commentary on Revelations chapters 17 & 18. Because of their immensity and primacy, they are not treated indepth in this article. The same is true of the Final Battle of Armageddon. It will be treated in separate article.
At the end of it all, a voice came out of the throne of the Temple in heaven, saying, it is done( Rev.16:71). Thus is brought to conclusion The prophet Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the Day Of The Lord: ” Behold, it is coming and it shall be done” declares the Lord. ” that is the day of which I have spoken” (Ezek.39:8).