The Revelation Part 2

Rightly Dividing
The Revelation...Part 2
                                                                                                  By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                  May 15, 2010
                                                                                                  Revised September 5, 2014

Continued from Part 1
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    About the Time of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their
attention to the Prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of
much clamor and opposition.   
                                                                   Sir Isaac Newton…..1642 - 1727

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    “And 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.
    And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
    Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
    And I head the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” 

                                                                                        Revelation 7:1-4


     This scene is set forth in chapter 7:1-17.  Chapter seven is a “parenthetical passage.”  If our readers are not familiar with the term, it literally means something in parenthesis (   ).  In other words, John is being shown the prophetic details of what will occurr on the earth during the same time that chapters four and five are also being fulfilled in Heaven.    
     THE WORD “AFTER”…..   Right here the word “after” in Revelation needs to be clarified for our readers.  As used in the Book of Revelation, this word “after” does not mean that each event recorded in Revelation occurs in exact consecutive order.  Some events prophesied do follow in consecutive order, yet some don’t!  What it does mean is that the Lord showed John prophetic events in different scenes in order that John could understand and logically connect the entire vision. With so many things going on at the same time, the different events could not be properly understood by John if all were mixed together and shown at the same time.  So the Lord showed them to John in different scenes, one scene “after” another scene, which scenes were not necessarily in consecutive order of fulfillment.    
     Go back and review the opening of the Seals.  Each time a Seal is opened a judgment comes upon the earth and the people on it .  The earth and people on it definitely suffer “hurt” when each of the Seals are opened.  But here in these first four Scriptures of chapter 7, it is explicitly stated that nothing is to be allowed to “hurt the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,” until the
144,000 have been sealed.  This should make it evident that the 144,000 will be saved and sealed BEFORE any of the Seal judgments are opened.  The sealing of these 144,000 Israelites is then one of the very first things which occurs on the earth following the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.   Is this too hard for some to understand?
      The sealing of these 144,000 begins to be fulfilled even BEFORE the Seals are opened, and the ministry of the 144,000 then continues during the first half of the Tribulation while the Seals are being opened [and the trumpets are being blown].  Yet this scene is shown to John “after” he is shown the scenes in Heaven in chapters 4 and 5, and the opening of the Seals in chapter 6.  Now let’s move on…..
    The SEALING of the 144,000…..   In this chapter in 7:5-8, John is shown that 12,000 Israelite people are “sealed” out of each of the twelve tribes listed, making a total of 144,000 saved and sealed Israelites.  This sealing is very important, both as to who it is that is sealed and to their subsequent ministry.  
    God has clearly stated in His Word that He will not leave Himself without a witness, Acts 14:17.  When the pre-tribulation rapture occurs, removing all New Covenant believers from off the face of the earth, the Lord God will immediately save and seal 144,000 Israelites to serve as witnesses for Him on the earth among mankind.  Notice that it is explicitly stated that each of these 144,000 are sealed “in their foreheads,” 7:3.  Compare Ezekiel 9 for the Old Testament type which foreshadowed this New Testament sealing.  Just as there was a judgment which followed the sealing in Ezekiel 9, so there is to be judgments poured out upon the earth following the sealing of the 144,000 Israelites. 
      THEIR IDENTITY…..   That these 144,000 are clearly stated to be Israelites [Jews] is glaringly obvious, 7:4.   When some “religionist” today comes along claiming to be one of the 144,000, I suggest that our readers ask them what tribe in Israel they belong to?  Any reader who has seriously studied about Old Testament Israel knows that tribal identity was very important to the Israelite people.  Tribal identity involved their inheritance of the promised land, and in some instances, even whom they were allowed to marry.  Yet these “religionists” today choose to ignore what God’s Word says about the tribal identity of the Israelite people, and attempt to steal a privilege which rightfully  belongs only to the Israelite people.  Such “false teachers” are only corrupting and changing God’s Word.  2 Peter 2:1-2 and Revelation 22:18-19 are still in the Bible.  Hello! 
      Further, there is not a single passage in the entire Bible which states or even implies that when a Gentile is saved, they become a “spiritual Jew.”  Such a man-made theory is based upon shallow Bible study, and ignoring the context of the Scriptures which these “false teachers” mis-use as “Scriptural proof” for their theory.  When a lost Gentile repents of their unbelief and receives Christ as Savior they become a saved Gentile. Glory to God! The only “spiritual Jews” on the face of this earth are Israelites who were born into an Israelite family by nature, and then received Christ as their own personal Savior.  PERIOD!   The so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and a few other religious cults just don’t qualify Scripturally to be any part of the 144,000. 
    I have two Bible studies in print on the subject of The Salvation, Sealing, and Ministry of the 144,000.  I will be glad to send these studies to any reader requesting them. 
    THEIR MINISTRY……  That these 144,000 saved and sealed Israelites will be Jewish evangelists during the first half of the Tribulation period is clearly implied in this chapter by the fact that following their sealing, John is shown “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” standing “before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palms in their hands,” 7:9.   What John sees are the souls of this “great multitude” standing before the Lord God in Heaven, for they will have been  martyred upon the earth shortly after having received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Compare Revelation 6:9-11 and 20:4. 
    It appears that one reason for the sealing of the 144.000 is to place them under the protection of the Lord God during the time of their ministry.  No one will be able to hurt them or stop them from preaching until their ministry has been completed, as the “seal of God” will be in their
foreheads.”  Again, compare Ezekiel 9:4-6.  Those who had been “sealed” in this passage were under the direct protection of the Lord God.  So it appears that it will likewise be for these 144,000 as they carry out their commission during the first half of the Tribulation.        
 THEIR MESSAGE…..  In Matthew 24:14, it is these 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will have the privilege and honor of carrying the gospel of the kingdom during the first half of the Tribulation to every spot on the earth where there is even one soul to hear it.  The expression in Matthew 24:14, “in all the world,” in the Greek text literally means “in all of the habitable earth.”  Look it up for yourself in your Concordance or Lexicon.  I am well aware that many Christian preachers today claim that “the gospel” has now been preached all over the world.  This IS NOT what this Scripture even says.  Pay attention to what you read in God’s Word!  What this Scripture says is that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.”  We New Covenant believers DO NOT preach “the gospel of the kingdom.”  If we are really obeying the Lord we preach “the gospel of the grace of God in Christ Jesus.”  Hello! 
    The “gospel of the kingdom” was the same message preached by John the Baptist preceding the first coming of Christ, and which Christ Himself preached during His personal ministry, Matthew 3:1-3; 4:12-17.  After the rejection and crucifixion of Christ [the King] by the Jewish people, that message was temporarily set aside, and the Apostle Paul and the Lord’s churches were raised up to preach “the gospel of Christ,” Romans 1:16.  When a preacher today claims that the whole world has now heard “the gospel” and uses Matthew 24:14 as a “proof text,” what they are really doing [whether willfully or in ignorance] is ignoring what Matthew 24:14 actually and literally says, and attempting to steal the glory that belongs only to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.  It is the 144,000 saved and sealed Jewish evangelists who will have the honor of fulfilling 24:14 to the letter during the first half of the Tribulation period. 
     Folks, studying God’s Word is not simply a request!  It is explicitly given as a command to God’s people in both the English translation and the Greek text in 2 Timothy 2:15.  Now I suggest reading 1 Samuel 15:22-23.  Hello! 
     THEIR MARTYRDOM…..    When the ministry of these 144,000 “servants of our God” [7:3] has been completed at or near the middle of the Tribulation period, I highly suspect that they will suffer martyrdom just as God’s “two witnesses” suffer martyrdom, 11:7.  Why do I believe this, since it is not recorded in Revelation?  I suggest our readers carefully read Psalm 79:1-11, and “compare spiritual things with spiritual,” 1 Corinthians 2:13. 
     After the middle of the Tribulation we know that the 144,000 are no longer on earth, because 14:1-5 explicitly places them on Mt. Zion in Heaven, and clearly states that they “were redeemed from the earth,” 14:3.  Therefore I suggest that they will be martyred either shortly  before or shortly after the “two witnesses” are martyred, as recorded in 11:7, and as prophesied under the opening of the fifth seal in 6:9-11. 
    Now at the close of this parenthetical passage, ACT 1 set forth in Revelation 4:1 – 7:17 also comes to a close.    
ACT II   Scene I

    This Act and Scene is set forth in Revelation chapters 8 and 9. 
    This scene begins with the opening of the SEVENTH SEAL, 8:1.  Our readers should carefully note, that just as the Seal judgments are the natural consequences of the immoral course that humanity is following even today, so the Trumpet judgments are the direct intervention of the Lord God Himself into the affairs of mankind upon the earth following the  beginning of the Tribulation. In other words, these Trumpet judgments are “the wrath of the Lamb,” 6:16.  Those readers who presently cannot believe that the dear, sweet Lord Jesus ever becomes angry, don’t know the Lord Jesus as well as they assume that they do.  I suggest that more serious study of God’s Word will acquaint such readers with the REAL Lord Jesus.  Compare Matthew 23:13-16.  Indeed we believers do serve a loving and kind and compassionate Lord Jesus, but we don’t serve a “wimp.”  The Lord Jesus, who has been mocked
and vilified by the wicked for centuries, will not continue to be mocked and vilified forever!  Take this warning to heart!   Read again Galatians 6:7-8. 
        As this seventh seal is opened, there was silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour.”  This means that even all praise of God and the Lamb, as recorded in 5:11-14 ceases, and there is only stillness and total silence in Heaven itself for a period of half an hour.  What does this silence indicate?
     Even during this present life on earth, we living today understand that dead stillness of everything in nature almost always precedes the coming of a severe storm.  Even so, this dead silence following the opening of the seventh Seal in Heaven is a prelude to terrible judgments about to descend upon humanity on the earth.  I would emphasize to our readers again that “God is love,” 1 John 4:8.  And that the Lord God has “no pleasure at all that the wicked should die,” Ezekiel 18:23.  The very heart of the gospel of Christ is that He loves us and died for us at Calvary, that we might not have to experience eternal death, Romans 5:8-10.  Christ Jesus then, is very reluctant to proceed from GRACE to JUDGMENT, and this is exactly what is indicated by this dead silence for half an hour following the opening of this Seventh Seal.   This “silence in Heaven” at this exact time is because the Dispensation of Grace is ending [3:22] and the “appointed time” for the Lord’s  judgment upon all of mankind is beginning [4:1]. 
    John is then shown “seven angels which stood before God,” 8:2.  To these seven angels “were given seven trumpets.” 
    But before the seven angels begin to blow the trumpets John is shown another angel standing at the “altar” in Heaven, “having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne,” 8:3. This is a wonderful statement.  This makes it clear that all true believers, in their prayers, have one common goal in mind.  What is it that every true believer that has ever lived throughout human history has desired above everything else?  Read Matthew 6:9-10 and Haggai 2:6-7.    Think about it!
     John is then shown “the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints,” ascending up before God, 8:4.  Folks, here is absolute Scriptural proof that Almighty God DOES HEAR the prayers of His people.  Read 1 John 5:14-15.  Glory to God!  Praise the Lord!
     Then in 8:5 John is shown the response.  “…the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”  In other words, the “great storm” following the calm breaks out upon humanity on the earth; A STORM OF FIRE.  This is what is awaiting those left on the earth following the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.  Take heed!
     Immediately following this heavenly scene, THE FIRST TRUMPET is sounded by the first angel, 8:6-7.  When this trumpet sounds, the judgment that follows is that “hail and fire, mingled with blood,” falls upon the earth from out of the sky above the earth.  The result is that “the third part of trees was burned up, and all green grass was burnt up,” 8:7.   Since it is clearly stated that only one-third of the trees are burned up, simple logic implies that the one-third of the trees burned up are located in a certain part of the earth.  In other words the implication is that one-third of the land mass of the earth is burned up.  Now what part of the earth would that be?  Compare Isaiah 24:4-6 and 24:15-18.
     Folks, take your world globe and look at it very carefully.  Look at the land masses which appear on your globe.  There are six continents comprising the land masses on the earth.  What amount of land is located in each hemisphere of the earth?   Isn’t it glaringly obvious that approximately one-third of the land mass of the earth is located in the western hemisphere, while two-thirds are located in the eastern hemisphere?  Hello! 
     Is the Lord God trying to warn humanity living today about the sounding of this first trumpet?   Has it ever occurred to our readers that all of the events recorded in God’s Word in the entire Old Testament took place in the eastern hemisphere of the earth; in which the four continents of  Europe, Asia, Africa and  Australia are located?  Now look at the New Testament.  What is the location of all of the events taking place recorded in the New Testament, and where does it all
end?  Doesn’t it all end in the eastern hemisphere of the earth?   How much information is recorded in God’s inspired Word about the lands located in the western hemisphere of the earth?  How much?  The western hemisphere is conspicuous by its absence!   Well…?? 
     Now turn and read Jeremiah 46:28 and believe what you read!   I receive God’s Word at face value for what it actually and literally says.  Therefore, I am convinced that the entire western hemisphere of the earth, both North and South America, one third of the earth, will be destroyed by fire upon the sounding of this first trumpet, shortly after the beginning of the Tribulation period.  Both of these continents will likely slip back beneath the seas from whence they were raised by the Lord in the distant past, and the remainder of the end-time prophecies of God’s Word will be fulfilled in the eastern hemisphere of the earth; right where human history began.  Are you listening? 
     Some of our readers may wonder why both North and South America would be destroyed right at the beginning of the Tribulation?  The simple answer is that politically both of these continents are filled with countries who have a DEMOCRATIC form of government.  Now carefully read the prophecies of God’s Word which inform us about the coming New World Order.  Is the one-world government which the anti-christ and the wicked globalists are working to establish right now prophesied to be a DEMOCRACY, or is to be composed of “ten kingdoms” with a strong king [dictator] ruling each of the ten kingdoms?  Read Revelation 17:12-13.  Well…??  Pause for just a minute to seriously think about the world political and military situation today.  Is there any political or military [or religious] reason today why some countries in the eastern hemisphere, such as Russia, China, the Muslim countries of the Middle East, etc. might  literally despise and hate the democracies located in this western hemisphere, and jump at any chance to destroy them?  Be honest in answering this question.   Well…??
     Just as the Lord God gives permission for the Seals to “come” at their “appointed time,” even so, will the Lord God give permission for nuclear warfare to be released upon mankind at His own “appointed time?”  Use your own God given intelligence and logic.  Why are only “the third part of the trees” burned up when this first trumpet sounds, but all green grasson the earth is burned up?  Isn’t the answer glaringly obvious?   Because of radiation!   Not sure about this?  Then let’s compare spiritual truth with spiritual truth, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.  
     In Isaiah 3:16-26 is a prophecy about “the daughters of Zion.”  The context of this prophecy is obviously a Tribulation period prophecy.  In the prophecy it is explicitly stated that “the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion,” 3:17, and “it shall come to pass…..instead of well set hair baldness,” 3:24.   Now what would cause these Israelite women to have scabs upon their heads and become bald?  Isn’t the answer glaringly obvious?  FIRE!  But what kind of fire?  I would suggest FIRE and FALLOUT from a nuclear bomb.  It is well known today that radiation in cancer treatments causes one’s hair to fall out.   Hello! 
    Folks, wake up to reality!  This is the kind of world modern mankind in their wickedness and rebellion against God has brought forth upon the earth.  Keep in mind that it was the God hating, Christ rejecting, Darwinian, atheistic, evolutionary scientists who gave to humanity the nuclear bomb capable of wiping out a hundred thousand people in seconds.  Then they followed that up by erecting nuclear power plants producing nuclear energy.  Just in case some readers are not aware of this, according to information I have received, there is now 211 nuclear power plants in this country, every one of them a time bomb ready to explode under the right circumstances, and every one of them totally unnecessary.  Why?
     A man by the name of Nikolai Tesla, over one hundred years ago, had already discovered a process of extracting free electrical power directly from the earth itself quite cheaply.  But that was the trouble; free and cheap!   The wicked GREEDY men of the earth at that time [the late 1800’s and early 1900’s] did not want free cheap electrical power for mankind.  What they wanted was to produce electrical power themselves and charge mankind a fee for the use of it.  And that is exactly what they did, consigning Tesla’s discovery to the garbage dump.  Now just where is that “spark of goodness in every man” that some of these modernist preachers tell us about?     
     Welll folks, the time for reaping what mankind has sowed is staring humanity in the face.  Wicked, unbelieving, God hating, Christ rejecting, mankind upon the earth today has “sown the wind.”  Now it is time for them to “reap the whirlwind,” Hosea 8:7.   Hello!
     But after this terrible judgment THE SECOND TRUMPET sounds, 8:8-9.   When this second trumpet sounds, again comes a judgment from out of the heavens above the earth.  This time John is shown “as it were a great mountain burning with fire” falling into the sea.      
    What is this object which is so large that it appeared to John to be “a great mountain?”  I do not know!   It could be a planet out of orbit, a huge asteroid, a huge comet, or even some man-made structure.  Yes, it most certainly could be Planet X which was discovered clear back in 1981 and which astronomers calculated would come flying past the earth, or even strike the earth.  At this point in time no one but the Lord actually knows, and no one will know until the time when this prophecy is actually fulfilled.  Until then all discussion about it is only
     But the results of this object falling out of the sky into the sea are described by John.  The result of its fall into the sea is that “the third part of the sea became blood,” and “the third part of the creatures which were in the sea died,” and “the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
     If this “great mountain” is carrying massive amounts of the red chemicals which have already contaminated many rivers and lakes and even parts of some seas in recent years, causing them to turn blood red, this would explain why the third part of the sea will also take on the appearance of blood.  This may or may not be a logical explanation.  But whatever this “great mountain burning with fire” will be, it causes the death of one-third of the fish and other creatures which live in the sea. 
     But imagine the massive tidal waves [tsunamis] that will be caused when this thing as large as a mountain falls into the sea.  This is why one-third of the ships in the sea are destroyed, along with the lives of those on board those ships.  What nation’s ships will this be?  I do not know!  The ships of many nations may be involved in this destruction. 
     But as if these first two trumpet judgments are not bad enough for people living on the earth at that time, there is still more to come, for following this second trumpet judgment…..
     THE THIRD TRUMPET is sounded by the third angel, 8:10-11.  Once more a judgment comes forth from the heavens above the earth…..
      When the third angel sounds his trumpet, “a great star” falls from out of the heavens above the earth, “burning as it were a lamp.”  The Greek word translated as “star” in this Scripture is literally “aster,” indicating that this object is a huge asteroid.  But an asteroid unlike any asteroid modern man has ever encountered before.  It is not an asteroid burning all over with fire.  Rather, John says that it will be “burning as it were a lamp.”  Not enough attention is paid to this statement!  A lamp is not an object which burns all over, but rather a lamp puts forth its light by “glowing” from an energy source within.  In other words, this object “glows” from whatever source of energy is within it.   Now what type of matter has modern man today discovered which literally “glows” from within?   And what causes it to glow?    Modern man today has discovered only one type of matter which “glows” from within the stone or strata in which it is found…..Uranium!   The “glow” in it is the source of radiation, and is extremely dangerous to mankind.   
     How many of our readers remember “Chernobyl” in Russia, and what happened there just a few years back?  How many are aware that to this very day there are some 2,000 cities, towns, and villages, in Russia which are totally deserted without an inhabitant due to being totally  contaminated with nuclear radiation by the explosion of the Chernobyl power plant?  
     John tells us that this “great star” is called “Wormwood,” 8:11, and that it falls upon “the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters,” 8:10-11.   This “star” literally contaminates the waters, and they are made “bitter.”  The Greek word from which this word, “bitter,”  was translated, literally means “poison.”   This “glowing” star will contaminate at least one-third of the waters of the earth, and poison them, making them unfit for human consumption.  Remember that the whole earth will be suffering a terrible drouth during the first half of the
Tribulation period, 11:6.  Then in spite of the waters being poison and unfit to drink, men desperately thirsting for water will drink of the poison waters in order to survive just a wee bit longer.   John tells us that “many men died of the waters,” 8:11. 
     Then the fourth angel sounds THE FOURTH TRUMPET, 8:12…..When the Seals are opened in Heaven, life on earth at first appears to go on as normal, because the Seals are the natural outcome of the course being followed by mankind on the earth right today.  But when the trumpets are blown, it appears that every human being on earth is going to hear the sound of these trumpets.  Can our readers just imagine the terrible fear that will grip the hearts of mankind upon the earth each time men hear these trumpets sounding forth?  I am so grateful that I am saved by the grace of Christ and will not be on the earth when these trumpets are blown, 3:10.   
     The sounding of this fourth trumpet changes the entire course of everything on the earth.  When this fourth trumpet is blown John was shown “the third part of the Sun” being “smitten,” and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars.”  John did not reveal in this prophecy what causes these things, but he does reveal that the sun, moon, and stars are  “darkened.”  The result is that during the normal daylight hours, “the day shone not for a third part of it,” and during the normal night time hours, the night will also be reduced “likewise.”.
     Now dear readers, please pay careful attention…..
     I always take God’s Word at face value as literal truth unless the Word itself indicates it is to
be taken otherwise.   This then means that the length of the day will be reduced by “one third” from 12 hours to 8 hours, and the length of the night “likewise.”  In other words, instead of the normal 24 hour day which we presently experience, the length of an entire day will be reduced by “one third” to 16 hours.  
     The result of such a reduction is that the number of days in the Tribulation period will remain exactly the same as set forth in both Daniel and Revelation.  This will be 2,520 days or two periods of 1,260 days to each period, or seven years of 360 days to a year.   But even though the Tribulation will still contain the correct number of days indicated in the inspired Word, yet the length of the Tribulation will be “shortened,” exactly as prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20.  Calculate it for yourself.  Now WHO could have come up with such an ingenious plan other than the Lord God of Heaven? 
     The Scriptures do not reveal the exact “date” when the fulfillment of this fourth trumpet judgment begins, nor how long this situation in the heavens will last.  But every 24 hour day that is shortened by 8 hours means that the length of the Tribulation will be reduced by that same amount of time.   This is not hard to understand!   I have been asked many times by fellow believers how the Lord can shorten the Tribulation period and yet have the prophetic Scriptures clearly teaching that it is seven years of 360 days to a year?  Well, here is the answer staring God’s people in the face, if they will seriously pay attention and believe what they are reading in the inspired Word.  Hello!  
     While all of this chaos is going on in the heavens above the earth, the Lord God then sends “an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying 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!”  This inspired Scripture makes it clear that the people on earth are hearing this angel and likely also seeing him, and hearing these trumpets when they sound, and are likely experiencing sheer terror every time one of them sounds.  But it is obvious from the three “woespronounced by this angel, that if people on earth think these first four trumpet judgments were bad, the next three are going to be far worse.                      
    The sounding of THE FIFTH TRUMPET is recorded in 9:1-11.  This will bring forth the first of the three “woes” proclaimed by the angel in 8:13.  
    When this fifth trumpet sounds John saw “a star fall from heaven unto the earth.”  The word translated as “star” in this Scripture is used symbolically.  We know this to be true because this “star” is spoken of with a personal pronoun as “him.”  John saw “him” being given the key to “the bottomless pit,” 9:1.  Compare Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:16-17.  The fact that “he” is temporarily given the key to the bottomless pit is in itself a significant statement, for it is the
Lord Jesus Christ who is now the “legal” and rightful owner of the key, 1:18.   
    In 9:2 John watches as “he opened the bottomless pit.”  When this being opens the pit, “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.”  What is happening right here at this point during the first half of the Tribulation period?  I’m so glad you asked! 
    I have often wondered why the “prophecy teachers” who write on both the reality of eternal punishment and the prophecies of Revelation never bother to “connect the dots” on these passages.  It is clearly and explicitly stated in Isaiah 14:9, “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth, it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”  Every serious Bible student knows that this 14th chapter in Isaiah is speaking about “Lucifer,” the coming “seed” of the serpent [Genesis 3:15] and the one serious Bible students today refer to as “the anti-christ,” Isaiah 14:16.  This prophecy in Isaiah 14:9 is an explicit prophecy that “Hell from beneath” will be “moved” to meet the anti-christ at the very time he comes on the world scene.  When then does he come on the world scene?  During the first half of the Tribulation period, 6:1-2, during the same time period when this “bottomless pit” is opened by this “star” which falls from heaven.  Hello! 
     That the “bottomless pit” is a part of the literal burning “hell,” is quite clear to any believer who has ever made a serious study of the bottomless pit, or of “hell,” in the Bible, so I don’t need to labor the point.  This truth is clearly indicated by John’s statement that “smoke” comes forth from this “bottomless pit” when it is opened, “as the smoke of a great furnace.”  Could it be made much plainer?   Read Matthew 13:40-42 and 13:49-50. 
     Dear readers, what John is describing in this passage is literal truth.  At some point during the first half of the Tribulation the surface of the earth in the country of ancient Edom [the southern part of modern Jordan] will literally break open and the “lake of fire and brimstone” will become a reality right here on the surface of the earth.  Read the Old Testament account of it for yourself in Isaiah 34.  Now read Isaiah 66:23-24 and Revelation 14:9-11.  There is to be a literal “lake of fire” located right here on the surface of this earth, and “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever” as a visible witness to redeemed humanity and to all of the angelic hosts of  the consequences of rebelling against the Lord God of Heaven.
     If any reader is one of those “religionists” who sometimes tell me, “I will believe in a literal hell when I see it for myself,” then I sadly must tell you that if you are waiting to believe on and seek the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior when you see for yourself this prophecy literally fulfilled, you will have waited too long in your unbeliefIf any presently unbelieving reader is left on the earth at the rapture, because they are waiting to see these prophecies fulfilled for themselves, they will be gazing upon their own place of eternal damnation and torment.   Romans 1:17 and 2 Corinthians 6:2 are still in the Bible.  Take heed!   I have in print a detailed in-depth Bible study entitled “The Reality of Eternal Punishment,” which I will be glad to send to any reader requesting it. 
     In 9:3 John then tells us that out of the smoke of this fiery pit, came “locusts upon the earth.”
The very fact that these “locusts” come out of this fiery pit indicates that they are not the normal “locusts” presently living on the surface of the earth, but rather are some sort of supernatural “locusts” capable of living in such a fiery pit.   
     The remainder of these Scriptures, 9:4 – 9:11, are devoted to a description of these locusts. Our readers will also find these locusts described in Joel 2:1-11. These locusts are given the power to sting mankind upon the earth, “as the scorpions of the earth have power.”  Have any of our readers ever been stung by a scorpion?   However, these locusts will not be given “killing power.”  Their power will be limited only to stinging unbelieving, Christ rejecting mankind “which have not the seal of God in their foreheads,” 9:4.  This statement clearly connects these Trumpet judgments with the Sealing of the 144,000.   The Seals and the Trumpets mean that unbelieving mankind left on the earth during the first half of the Tribulation will face double trouble because of their unbelief and rejection of God’s appointed “way” of salvation, John
14:6.  Oh, that lost men and women, boys and girls, would seek the Lord NOW while they still have time and opportunity to be saved!     
     The sting of these locusts will be so painful that the inspired Word explicitly states, “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them,” 9:6.   The Lord God is finally going to show mankind upon the earth WHO it is that holds the power of life and death, Job 1:19-22.  The unbelieving wicked left upon the earth at that time rejected the GRACE of God, which is signified by the number “5” in the inspired Word, and so for “five months” humanity on the earth will seek death and beg to die, and will not be able to even kill themselves, 9:10. 
     The inspired Word does say that these locusts from the pit have a king who rules over them, 9:13.  In order not to miss the identity of this king, it is clearly stated that in the Hebrew language he is called “Abaddon” [meaning “Destroyer”], but in the Greek language he is referred to as “Apollyon” [likewise meaning “Destroyer.”].  I would remind every reader that if one chooses to reject Christ and thereby spends eternity in hell and the lake of fire, these infernal, spiritual, locusts and their king will be your companions forever.  Think about it!
     At the end of these five months of torment by these infernal “locusts,” mankind upon the earth may breath a sigh of relief when they wake up one morning and find the locusts gone, yet 9:12 explictly states, “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” 
    Then in 9:13-19 THE SIXTH ANGEL sounds his trumpet.
     When this Trumpet is blown, “the four angels” [messengers] bound in or by “the great river Euphrates” are turned loose on humanity.  John was then shown a 200 million man army marching from the east [sun rising], 9:14.  Compare 16:12.  Where is this army headed?  Read 16:12-16.  The only nation on earth today capable of raising up such an army is the nation of China.   This is purely speculation, but if China allies itself with North Korea, and Mongolia, and even possibly Japan, this would correlate to the “four messengers” marching from “the sun rising.”   Significantly, all four of these nations are located directly to the far east, the direction from which the sun rises, in relation to Europe, Israel, and the Middle East.  These Scriptures further state that this 200 million man army will “slay the third part of men,” 9:15.  Now take your world map or globe and look at the area being described.  Between the western borders of China and the Middle East are located the densely populated nations of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, and other small nations.  According to those who keep track of the statistics, these densely populated nations contain approximately one-third of the population of the earth, the exact number of people prophesied to be slaughtered as this 200 million man army crosses the Euphrates invading the west.  Is this just “coincidence,” or is it the foreknowledge of the Lord God of Heaven?   Be careful how you answer!  God is listening!
     Have our readers ever considered what would be required to feed and maintain such a gigantic army?  As this army moves westward through the nations they have to cross to reach the Middle East, this army will literally rape those lands, looting and burning, and taking every scrap of food, and killing everyone who attempts to resist them.  Keep in mind, this army will be on the move during a time of world wide famine, when the whole world is suffering from a great drouth, [11:6] so every scrap of food they find will be seized leaving nothing, for the few survivors they choose to leave alive.  The few survivors will then die of starvation.     
     Is this army for real?  Or is it some type of spiritual, supernatural army as some “prophecy teachers” claim?   Folks, pay attention to what God’s Word actually and literally says.  In 9:16 the inspired Word explicitly states, “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand, and I heard the number of them.”  This is clearly speaking of MEN on horses.  PERIOD!   
     Then John describes the horses they are riding.  If some “prophecy teacher” desires to insert symbolism into this passage,  then they should look at the horses, rather than the men.  The men are natural human beings, 200 million of them, the hordes of China and the far east. There is nothing supernatural about them!  However, the description of the horses exactly conforms to modern army “tanks” and other military weapons used by modern armies.  I find nothing in this
description leading me to believe this army is anything but natural men riding upon modern army tanks and modern military weapons, slaughtering and destroying as they move westward to invade the Middle East.  
     INTERLUDE…..Then in 9:20-21, as the end of the first half of the Tribulation is approaching, John records, “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 [demons], and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood:: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.  Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” 
     This Scripture clearly states that demon worship, murder, drug use and trafficking, sexual wickedness, and crime will continue among mankind even while the Seal and Trumpet judgments are being poured out upon humanity.  Unbelieving wicked mankind never learns!   
     These are some of the saddest words in the Bible.  After three and one-half years of  being “tested” [Revelation 3:10] by the Seal judgments and the Trumpet judgments, those unbelievers who have survived, will still refuse to submit themselves to the Lord God of Heaven for salvation, and they will refuse to stop their heinous sins against God and against their own fellow human beings.  Now turn and read again Jeremiah 17:9-10, and this time believe what it says.  This “do gooder” rot being proclaimed by the unbelieving lost world today, and sadly, even by some so-called “Christian” preachers, that “there is a spark of goodness in every person” is simply not so.  It is one of Satan’s lies.  All of mankind by the Adamic nature are depraved sinners, and some are more hard hearted and self centered than others.  No one would ever be saved except by the grace and patience and love of God for us, 1 Peter 4:18.  Any reader truly wanting salvation WILL look to and seek the Lord, or they will never be saved!  PERIOD!  Matthew 7:13-14; 5:6.

     This scene is set forth in 10:1-11.  It reveals that the Lord God has completed everything that was required of the Kinsman Redeemer as He opened the Seals on the “little book;” the Title Deed to the whole earth [5:1], and as the Trumpets were sounded by the first six angels in chapters 8 and 9.   The earth and everything in it at this point in time, will have “legally” become the possession of “the man” who redeemed it; our precious Lord Jesus Christ.  Glory to God! 
     The absolute proof of this is seen in 10:1-3 as John describes the “mighty angel” [messenger of God] who at this point “comes down” from Heaven to the earth to lay claim to His “legal” possession; the earth which He has redeemed as the “legal” Kinsman Redeemer.  Notice that John describes Him as being, “clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon His head, and His face was as it were the Sun, and His feet as pillars of fire,” 10:1.  This description sets forth the Divinity of Him who became man in order to become our Kinsman Redeemer and our Savior.  Compare John’s description of the Lord Jesus in 1:12-16.  Glory to God!  Praise to His Holy Name!     
     Notice that He has in His hand the “little book” and it is “open.”  The “little book” no longer has any seals on it needing to be opened.  All of the requirements in the Title Deed under each of the Seals, for the redemption of the earth, have been met and totally fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the earth at this point will have once again become the “legal” possession of “man.” 
     Again, proof of this is seen by John as the Lord Jesus Christ, like every explorer throughout human history who has claimed a new land, sets “His right foot on the sea, and His left foot on the earth,” 10:2.  Then the Lord cries out “with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth.”  At this point in time the Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled all the “legal” requirements for redeeming the earth, is reclaiming the whole earth and the sea as His “legal” and rightful possession.  Glory to God!  Praise the Lord Jesus!  Hallelujah!   
     Notice carefully that when He cries out, “seven thunders uttered their voices,” 10:3.  This indicates that Father God in Heaven above is acknowledging the “legal” claim of Christ by thundering with His mighty voice seven times.  Compare 1 Samuel 7:10, 2 Samuel 22:14, Job
37:1-5, Psalm 18:13, 29:1-11, and numerous similar passage in God’s Word.  Read these passages and it will be clearly seen that when God thunders from Heaven, the enemies of God and of His people are usually being dealt with.  Just like the Seals and the Trumpets, these seven thunders are seven judgments upon humanity on the earth, but these “thunder” judgments are not described for us.  John knew what they were and was about to record them, but “a voice from heaven” instructed John to not record them, but rather to “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not,” 10:4.  When some preacher or commentator begins telling people exactly what each of these “thunders” are, our readers should recognize that they are dealing with a “false teacher” and move on. 
     As John continued to describe this scene, he saw the Lord lifting His hand to heaven, and swear “by Him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer,” 10:6.   
     This is a wonderful statement, and a statement which has been terribly misconstrued by many Christians, including many “prophecy preachers.”   I have had some of them dogmatically tell me that all “time” would cease in the future, because right here in this Scripture the Lord said so.  It literally grieves me over such shallow Bible study on the part of many today who “profess” to be Christian believers and even “men of God.”  If our readers will bother to look up this underlined expression in their own Concordance or Greek Lexicon, the expression literally means “DELAY NO LONGER.”  Look it up for yourself.  In other words, what the Lord was telling John was that He was going to bring God’s great Plan of the Ages for mankind on the earth to a speedy conclusion without any further DELAY.  Compare Romans 9:28, Revelation 22:7 and 22:20.  This expression neither states nor implies that “time” is going to cease or be taken out of existence.  How foolish!  “TIME” will continue to exist and function as long as our Eternal God continues to exist and function.  I do have a Bible study in print on this exact subject that I will be glad to send to any reader requesting it. 
     In the very next Scripture the Lord continued to tell John, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound [remember that the 7th Trumpet has not yet sounded at this time], the mystery of God [the great plan of the ages He has been working out] should be finished [speedily brought to completion], as He hath declared to His servants the prophets,” 10:7.  This totally explains the statement about “time” made in the preceding verse of Scripture, yet some today insist on “picking and choosing” what they want to believe by lifting words and phrases right out of the context of the Scriptures.   Revelation 22:18-19 is still in the Bible!   So is 2 Timothy 2:15. 
     Then the “voice from heaven” spoke to John again in 10:8-11, setting forth an amazing statement, which has either been ignored or explained away by most “prophecy teachers” and commentators.   Study these Scriptures carefully
     First John was told to take “the little book” out of the hand of the “mighty angel,” 10:8.  As John took the little book, he was then instructed to “eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey,” 10:9. 
     Every truly dedicated Christian believer, and certainly every true “man of God” should be able to understand this statement.  This “little book,” as I have previously pointed out is the Title Deed to this entire earth, but it is also the Divinely Inspired Word of God; the Bible that some of our readers are holding in their hands as they read this study. 
     And isn’t God’s Word “sweet as honey” in your mouth as you read it and take it in as  spiritual food for your soul?   Read again Psalm 119:103, Matthew 4:4 and 1 Peter 2:2-3.   But when you try to share the Word with your lost loved ones and neighbors and friends because you truly love and care about them and their eternal destiny, how they despise you and hate you and reject you for it, Matthew 10:34-39.  And such rejection and scorn and even in some cases, outright persecution, effects you physically.  It literally grieves you until it upsets your stomach.   Am I stating the truth?  Many of you soul winners and preacher brothers reading this know that I am.  Many true pastors who have been cursed and railed against and false accused and lied
 about, for no other reason than simply preaching the truth of the Word to the people,  know exactly what I am describing, for they have personally experienced it, just as John did in 10:10. 
     But why should it have made John’s “belly…..bitter?”  John was not witnessing or preaching to anyone on that occasion.  No he wasn’t!  But in the very next Scripture the Lord Jesus told John explicitly and plainly, “…..Thou must prophesy [preach] again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings,” 10:11. 
     Dear readers, DO NOT try to explain this statement away, as many “prophecy teachers” and commentators have done.  Receive this inspired statement at face value for what it actually and literally says. 
     The Lord DID NOT tell John he was going to have to write the rest of the Book of Revelation!  John had already been told to “write” everything the Lord showed him “in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia….,” 1:11.  It is glaringly obvious that if the Lord had wanted to repeat that statement He would have done so.  But that is not what John was told in 10:11.
      John was explicitly told that he “must prophesy [preach] again…”  Cannot some of God’s people understand this plain explicit statement?   Well…??.  This statement is explained fully by the Lord Himself in the next chapter of Revelation, whether some will choose to believe it or not.    However, the explanation will have to wait for Part 3 in this series.  In the meantime, while our readers are waiting for Part 3, I will be glad to send my studies on the subject, The Future Ministry of God’s Two Witnesses to any reader requesting them. 

<<<<<<<<<<       O       >>>>>>>


     Many of our readers are acquainted with Peggy McIlveene, a dear sister in Christ, who has the His Forever website on the Internet.   Folks, this dear sister needs the prayers of God’s people and the comforting presence of the Lord to rest upon her in a mighty way RIGHT NOW. 
     Peggy’s husband, Richard, who was also a dedicated Christian believer, was promoted to glory yesterday, Sunday, September 7th.   Richard had been in the hospital for the past five months, very ill, and wavering between life and death.  He had become so sick that he had been placed on life support.  His doctor told Sister Peggy that the situation with Richard had become so bad that it was useless to keep him on life support any longer, and the decision was made yesterday to turn off the life support machines.   Within a few minutes our dear brother Richard was entering the Gates of Glory.  
     Folks, I have been in this situation, not once, but three times in my now 80 years.  There is no pain on earth like the pain of having to say goodbye to your own dear spouse and companion whom you love as your own soul, knowing that you will never see them again in this present life.  No one can truly understand the pain of such parting unless they have gone through it personally, and I have. 
     I am asking every true believer receiving this study to please pray for Sister Peggy McIlveene, and if so inclined please send her a note expressing your love and sympathy for her in this, her time of great loss. Also please share this prayer request with those on your own mailing list.  By the grace of God, I will thank each one of you folks who respond to this prayer request  personally when we all get home to glory.  God bless each and every one of you. 
     In the love of Christ Jesus our precious Savior and Lord,

                       Pastor F. M. Riley


















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