We are just short of the middle of this unparalleled time on earth. As last week in our Journey thru the horrible events of the Tribulation, we saw God unleash His fury against an entire third of the earth in His long awaited vengeance; in His answer to the prayers of all the martyrs slaughtered in His Name. And then, the first of three woes of terror to come on the earth as a demonic army of hideous creatures was led from the abyss by their fallen leader, Abaddon (Apollyon) to terrorize and inflict pain on the whole earth for five months.
And now, with the sounding of the sixth trumpet, the second woe begins: Revelation 9:13-15. These angels are definitely fallen since they have been "bound". They have been prepared and held prisoner all this time, for this very moment in man's history when they will use all of their hellish influence to drive the rulers of the nations in this area into war and destruction:
Revelation 9:16. Some scholars believe this to be another battalion of demons come to wreak havoc on the earth. I strongly disagree. Nowhere in the text is it mentioned that the troops described come from the abyss or any other supernatural origin. The troops themselves are not described as being unusual in any way, simply as troops, or a company of soldiers—only the things they ride are described as deadly. And these four demons alone are mentioned as a supernatural force. No other creatures or demons are said to be released or revealed. These angels are released in this very specific area of the globe seemingly to influence and draw the nations of this area into turmoil and war. Including one nation of unprecedented size and strength of 200 million troops. One of the biggest reasons scholars of the past have tried to represent this as a demonic army is simply because the unimaginable size of this army seemed impossible in previous generations. In the height of WWII the combined total of all armies involved in conflict reached only 70 million, and one nation having this kind of manpower was unthinkable, even a short time ago. Thus we see the trustworthiness of God's Word, where over 2500 years ago God described to John an army which could not even be imagined: with the entire world's population of his time being only between 150 to 300 million. But, listen to these statements from a detailed study conducted by Colonel Larry M. Wortzel, a 32-year military veteran, strategist for the Pentagon, and Former Director of Strategic Studies of the U.S. Army War College (This is part of his analysis from the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute). Today, China has this exact quoted capacity. Listen as John gives a First Century description of the "warhorses" these troops will ride into battle upon: Revelation 9:17: What do modern soldiers ride into battle? Tanks, missile launchers, artillery. These horses roared "like" lions, spewing smoke, fire and brimstone. Could there be a more exact detail of armored warfare today? And a bit of research about the Chinese Military revealed an astounding fact (verified by a number of articles: the National Interest Magazine, an American publication dedicated to study and reporting on foreign policies and international affairs) gives this detail about China's modern-day Army: “Although Russia and the United States both maintain substantial numbers of main battle tanks in store, China’s People’s Liberation Army currently has the world’s largest active-service tank fleet... China, not the United States or Russia, possesses the planet’s biggest tank force, all-together possessing a whopping 6,900 tanks." So, modern-day China just happens to be in this geographic location, just happens to be the only nation in mankind's history capable of fielding an unthinkable army of over 200 million soldiers, and just happens to possess the largest number of "warhorses” spewing fire, smoke and brimstone in the entire world today. All of which have become a reality for the first time in history—in this generation—the same generation—which saw Israel return to her own land and Russia, Iran, and all of the other Middle-East countries align with Scripturally prophesied allegiance. This overwhelming army will mobilize, bringing merciless and savage destruction to much of the densely populated Asian/Middle-Eastern world: Revelation 9:18-19. Before this age of modern warfare, including armor, artillery, missiles and air-attacks spewing conventional, nuclear, neutron and bio-warfare armaments, this kind of death and destruction by one country was inconceivable. But today for the first time it is a reality. As a result of this probable military holocaust, the population of earth—which has already dwindled from 8 billion to 6 billion by war, starvation, disease, murders and Judgments directly from God Himself—is now brought down to 4 billion. This is an entire one half of the current population of the earth, annihilated thus far. But the remainder of the world clings to its selfish, rebellious ways through all of the chaos: Revelation 9:20-21.
Then John has a break in his vision of what is occurring on the earth and God shows to him another angel who comes to make one of the most powerful declarations of our age: Revelation 10:1-4. This angel is magnificent in appearance. Many believing this may be a description of Jesus Christ Himself. But any debate as to whether the identity of this angel is Jesus will be put to rest simply and completely in just a moment. He places one foot on the land and one foot on the sea, showing the authority of his message over all of creation, and he cries out with seven powerful and mysterious proclamations in a voice as powerful as thunder. But John is forbidden to write what was spoken to him at that time. These utterances are to be revealed to the world only at that very moment in God's time and plan. What could these messages possibly be? Which are of such specific importance to mankind in that moment? So often in Scriptures, we see God revealing all of His plan, only at the pinnacle or culmination of His work to show His Sovereignty in all the ways He has orchestrated the events. This is how He has worked to bring the entire message and mission of Jesus Christ since the fall of man; revealing pieces at a time, as He unfolded His master plan. And we watch It unraveling in incredible ways which were unpredictable and unforeseeable by men, only to fit together in the end as an intricate and perfect puzzle comes together. I have great anticipation to see what these utterances will be in that day. Then, the angel does make a Great Proclamation which John is to write about: Revelation 10:5-7. First, this is why we absolutely know this angel is not Jesus Christ Himself—because the angel raises his hand to Heaven and swears by Him who Created all of the earth and the sea which he stands upon while speaking. When God swears an oath in Scriptures, He always swears by Himself, upon His own name because there is no greater name by which to swear by. But here, the angel lifts his hand and swears by another—not himself. What does he swear? That on the very name of God Himself there would be no more delay; no more waiting for the mystery of God to be completed—not revealed, but completed. The mystery to be completed is the incredible plan of God's redemption for mankind. The mission of our redemption which has been unfolding for thousands of years; the plan which is so amazing in love and mercy for a holy, perfect, and all-powerful God; to abandon everything He has to save a group of weak, wretched, sinful people which have spit at Him and destroyed His Creation. A plan so mysterious in reason and sacrifice that even the angels of Heaven have watched in wonder and intrigue: 1 Peter 1:10-12. This angel proclaims that in the events to follow the Last Trumpet which is about to sound; this age old plan will be drawn out no further, but will quickly and powerfully come to complete fruition. The purpose and plan of almighty God, which we have watched and waited for through the centuries, is now about to be completed in these Last Judgments and works to follow. Everyone needs to come to the realization: this is not your world, this is not your story, this is not your plan. You are not in control of one single, solitary thing in this life. And your proud attempts to say, "No one is going to tell you what to do," when seen in reality, in perspective, are pitiful and humorous at best to the God who has created all and orchestrates all, for His glory and our ultimate redemption and Joining with Him as One. When will this become a reality to you? When will you surrender your will to Him? You are not surrendering to one who will oppress, diminish, or hurt you; not surrendering to one who will take away your freedoms and happiness; but to the one who will offer you more than you will ever think to achieve or possess on your own; who wants to give you more authority, freedom and wonders than you can imagine. All, only for the condition that you love Him just as He loves you. It is an awesome and wonderful privilege to surrender control of your life to One who will save, protect, and bless you beyond your wildest dreams. In comparison to this amazing plan, try to imagine this incredible picture: It is like seeing an alcohol or drug-addicted, sick, starving, dirty, feces covered, putrid smelling, insect ridden, homeless person forgotten, passed by, and unloved by everyone. Now, they are in need of a heart transplant from the addiction with no way to get it. And the President of the United States sees them as he passes by, and is so overwhelmed with love and heart-broken compassion over this one person that he leaves his Office of Presidency and gives his own heart to save them; dying to save this poor wretch in the street, willing all he owns to this person so that after he’s healed, he gets all that he has so he can not only save them, but give them a life, home, riches, protection and love again. The person receives the heart and inheritance, but they are so selfish and obsessed with the freedom to have what is killing them, taking their life, their happiness, their mind, their body that they ridicule the President for what he’s done. And decide "Nobody is going to tell me what to do. I'm in charge of me." And they choose to return to their ways, wasting everything until they are back where they were in their self-inflicted filth and agony. How completely ridiculous and far-fetched is that illustration? How great must the love of that President be? Seemingly beyond reason or logic? That is how ridiculous and far-fetched your rebellion looks against the God who has done infinitely more to save and love you. Now, let me ask you: how far-fetched that story might seem, how suddenly possible it might become if that person laying in street happened to be his precious lost bride? That is the worth, the love, he places on you. Jesus Christ's Kingdom—and His precious people have been spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically drawn into this exact condition by Satan. But the King who laid down His life to save us in the same way has risen again and with the sounding of this next trumpet, this angel is proclaiming that He will come against those who have done this to His people; against those whom He loved enough to do all of this to save. To hunt them down and completely destroy them and make all things new for His precious beloved. The time has come after all the waiting, after all the pain and sacrifice, to make all things new for His beloved. And the great mystery of God's love will be fulfilled: Revelation 10:8-11. The Little Scroll which the angel gave to John is the plan and the Word of God. The plan, as we have just heard is unimaginably sweet to those who taste of it. But is sickening and painful in what is to be endured as it is executed upon the world. His infinite precious plan was to forsake everything which was rightfully His as King of all; to save you and I from the dirty, self-chosen pits of hell, by taking our place and giving us a new heart because He loves us like a beloved bride lost and no cost was too great. Now, will you take His Gift? Get up out of the gutter and trust Him, love Him back so the Risen King can take you home with Him before He brings wrath on those who have done this to His beloved bride? We are on the threshold of that Day when the angel says, "There will be no more delay!" Hosea gives us a beautiful picture of the mystery of God fulfilled: Hosea 2:14-23.
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