We want to continue our study in the Time of Jacobs Trouble where we ended last week.
The vials constitute an outpouring of God’s wrath upon the earth toward the end of the Tribulation period, and the results are mind-boggling
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image
People who have received the mark of the Beast, the Antichrist, are afflicted with painful sores that are evidently incurable. Perhaps this is a universal reaction to receiving the mysterious mark of the Beast in the hand or the forehead — some allergic affliction that falls upon all who have been imprinted with this satanic skin-credit-card that allows them to buy and sell during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
The sea, once the source of food for man and his supposed hope for the future as a reservoir of nutrients, becomes as the blood of a dead man and every living thing in the sea dies.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
The rivers and springs of the earth turn to blood as a judgment against the wicked Tribulation regime that has shed the blood of righteous people.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
The sun, which has befriended earth’s citizens through the centuries, becomes their enemy, scorching men.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Intense darkness comes upon the earth, accompanied by unbearable pain, causing ungodly people to blaspheme God. The Euphrates River is dried up and a huge army from the east marches through the dry riverbed on its way to Jerusalem.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Electrical storms and earthquakes that dwarf all such manifestations of nature in the past strike the earth with ferocity, destroying cities and causing nations to fall.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against the Antichrist and his kingdom.
The rise of the Antichrist, the Beast, is the most significant cant political event during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. He is described by John in Revelation 13 as the beast that rises out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. The prophets call for him to emerge from the revived Roman Empire. And Daniel spoke of him as the “little horn” whose power would reach its zenith for three and one-half years.
Having guaranteed peace to Israel, temporarily settling the Middle East problem and putting down all rebellion, the Beast gains the allegiance of the entire world. His domination of the oil-rich Middle East will allow him to control the economies of the world, reaching even to the simple routines of life such as buying and selling food or clothing. A special mark in the hand or forehead will be required for all to transact any business.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Revelation 13:16-18).
The false religious system that prospers during the early part of the reign of the Antichrist is described in Revelation 17. This blasphemous ecclesiastical empire will thrive on pomp and ceremony and will give allegiance to the irreverent final world dictator, the Beast.
But the work of God does not cease during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Shortly after the Rapture there will be a remnant of Jews who turn to Christ. The initial number is 144,000 — 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel. These converted Jews are called ” servants of God” and they are extremely successful in ministering to others. Not long after this elect group is announced by John, he describes a great multitude from all nations who have been converted to Christ as a result of their labor and who are willing to prove their faith through martyrdom.
It is interesting that many Jews who do not turn to Christ during the Tribulation will return to temple worship as in Old Testament times, including the sacrifice of animals. It may be that allowing the erection of this temple in Jerusalem will be a part of the peace agreement between the final world dictator and the Jews.
Ultimately, however, the Antichrist will destroy the false church and will take control of Jewish worship, declaring himself to be God and demanding worship from the Jews in their own temple. The prophet Daniel spoke of this act of blasphemy as the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 12:11).
And Jesus warned that this would mean untold suffering for the Jews:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days shall be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened (Matthew 24:15-22).
The peacemaker then, the Antichrist, will break his covenant or treaty with the Jews and will become their enemy and persecutor. Anti-Semitism will flourish, and Israel will experience her final holocaust.
• But what event gives the Antichrist reason to break his pact of peace?
• Who tampers with the tranquility established in Israel and the Middle East by this powerful end-time ruler?
• What nation introduces war to the Time of Jacob’s Trouble?
• We will continue this study next week.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE