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FINAL JUDGMENT CONCLUDES
Intro: In Revelation chapter 5 the Lamb of God took a seven sealed book from the hand of His Father. This book represented the title deed to planet earth. Jesus owns this world because He created it out of nothing. He owns this world because He redeemed it when He died on the cross. When Jesus took that seven sealed book, He began to open the seals. When He did, the Tribulation Period began on the earth.
By the time we reach these verses, the world has been smiting under the wrath of a holy God for seven years. Now, the Tribulation is about to come to an end. As the final three seals are opened, God prepares to conclude His judgment of this world and its inhabitants.
When the events of these final three judgments are concluded, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings will return to the earth in glory and power. He will take possession of the throne of this world and He will rule in righteousness. These three last plagues set the stage and prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
When Jesus returns, He will finally receive the glory and honor that He deserves. Here is what the Bible says about it, Phil. 2:5-11. Today, the Lord Jesus is rejected, maligned and hated by the world. That hatred is only going to intensify as the days go by and grow more and more evil.
In these verses the Lord God begins the process of final judgment upon the earth. In our last study we watched as Final Judgment Commenced. Today we will watch as Final Judgment Concludes. Let’s consider the final three vial judgments and the lessons they teach.
I. v. 10-11 THE BEAST IS PLAGUED
A. v. 10a The Locality Discussed Up until now the Beast has been somewhat sheltered from direct attack. When this fifth bowl is poured out, it is directed at the very seat of his power. Like Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, the Antichrist, with all his power is helpless against the judgment of God Almighty. This plague begins at the very throne room of the Antichrist and then spreads to cover his entire kingdom. He may be a powerful ruler, energized and supported by Satan, but he is helpless to defend himself against the God of Heaven!
B. v. 10b The Light Darkened When the fifth bowl judgment is unleashed upon the world, the world is suddenly engulfed in darkness. This darkness is not the darkness we normally think of, it is absolute, inky blackness. The darkness will be so complete that nothing can penetrate it. Surely this darkness represents some change in the way light reaches the planet. It also suggests that the power grids that we use to light the earth will be done away with. Whatever causes this darkness, it will be severe and it will be complete.
This supernaturally imposed darkness is a tangible representation of the darkness that has already engulfed the world. The world has already rejected the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus, because they loved darkness rather than light, John 3:19. This world chose moral, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional darkness over the light that was available in the person of Jesus Christ and in the Word of God. They favored darkness over light and God gives them more darkness than they ever bargained for!
We are also told that when this darkness descends, men will literally chew their tongues because their pain is so great. The combined misery of the sores in their bodies; starvation from the ruined oceans; the lack of drinkable water and terrible burns they have suffered from the intense heat of the sun, all combine to cause the inhabitants of the earth to writhe in pain.
What we see here is a tiny glimpse of Hell. God is letting the Antichrist and his followers know what is waiting on them because they have rejected Jesus. Once, when speaking of Hell, Jesus said this, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matt. 25:30. What we see here is a small glimpse of what those who reject Jesus will face when they go to Hell.
If you have never been saved, you need to pay attention to what the Bible is saying! There is a real place called Hell and real people spend a real eternity in real judgment there. Do not turn your back on the Light! Come to Jesus and be saved or one day you will find yourself in a horrible place called Hell!
C. v. 11 The Lesson Declared When the plagues come; when the pains come; you would think that people would have enough sense to repent of their sins and turn to God. Not these people! They shake their puny fists in the face of God and they curse Him and blaspheme Him! What a tragedy! But, what a window into the human heart!
There are those who tell us that mankind is bad, but that there is a spark of the divine within him. They believe that man fell when Adam sinned, but that his fall was not complete. The fact is, man is totally depraved! This does not mean that He is as bad as he can be at all times. It does mean that there is no spiritual good in mankind at all, Rom. 3:10-23. Man, left to himself, will only grow more and more corrupt, Eph. 4:22.
If this judgment proves anything, it proves the absolute sinfulness of humanity! It proves that man is an incorrigible sinner and that salvation is totally the work of grace! It proves that even when man is confronted with the power and judgment of God he will not repent of his sins. It proves that “salvation is of the Lord, Jonah 2:9, and that people don’t just “get religion or turn to Jesus. It proves that salvation requires direct, divine intervention. If God did not come to us on a personal basis, convict us of our sins, quicken our dead spirit, and save us by His grace, Eph. 2:1-10, we would all go to Hell. You see, the same rebellion and hatred of God would be revealed in you and me were it not for the grace of God!
When people do die and go to Hell, we have the image of them trying to get saved, as they confess their sins and cry out to Jesus. I do not believe it will be that way! Look at the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31. There is no hint of remorse over the life he lived. There is only sorrow over the sentence He received! When people go to Hell, they will lift their voices in blaspheme against God. They will curse Him and even His judgment will not bring them to a place of repentance! May God help this sin-cursed, fallen world!
II. v. 12-16 A BATTLE IS PLANNED
(Ill. The sixth bowl is poured out on the earth and it sets the stage for the battle of Armageddon. When this angel pours out his bowl, we are told that the Euphrates River will dry up. The Euphrates begins in Turkey at Mount Ararat and flows south, through Iraq, and into the Persian Gulf. This river, which is over 1,700 miles long and 3,600 feet wide at places, has been for centuries, the dividing line between the east and the west. As we know, no river really poses a problem for a modern mechanized army, but God will remove every obstacle and prepare the way for a massive invasion of Middle East.
How will the river be dried up? Considering the fact that the oceans and all fresh waters have been turned to blood, the amount of rainfall the earth has received has been dramatically reduced; some have speculated that water levels would be far lower than normal anyway. Add to this the fact that many dams have been built along the river, it would be very easy for human engineers to cut off the water. However, the fourth bowl intensified the heat of the sun. This would cause the snow and the ice cap on Mount Ararat to melt, causing the Euphrates to overflow its banks. Either way, it will be the result of divine intervention. God will speak and the waters of the Euphrates will cease to flow so that a massive army can pass.)
A. v. 12 An Army We are told that an vast eastern army will use the highway created by the drying up of the Euphrates River to move toward Israel. The intention of this army is the total destruction of Israel. The phrase kings of the east literally means the kings of the rising sun. This reference has caused many to speculate that China and her allies will be the source of this army. Back in Rev. 9:16, the Bible speaks of an army that numbers some 200 million. Only one nation on earth could raise an army of that size: China.
However, I would like to propose a different interpretation. The way things are shaping up in our world, we are headed toward a showdown between the Islam and the Jews. Ever since the United Nations took Palestinian lands and gave it to the Jews, there has been conflict in that region, The Arab nations that surround Israel have repeatedly tried to oust the Jews from Palestine; they have failed in every attempt. Though outnumbered some seven to one, the Israelis have defeated their Arab enemies every time they met on the field of battle. This has created great hostility in the hearts of the Arab nations.
Imagine returning home to land that had been in your family for centuries only to find someone else living there and you and your family evicted with no place to go. The Arabs hate the Jews and they long for the total destruction of the nation of Israel. I think that is what we are seeing in these verses.
While Islam paints itself in colors of peace and love, the religion also calls for the deaths of all Jews and Christians. Anyone who is not a Muslim is an infidel in their eyes, and infidels must either repent or die! Dr. Ken Trivette, in a sermon on these verses, shares the following quotations from the Qur’an.
· Qur'an 59:14 The Jews are devoid of sense. There is a grievous punishment awaiting them. Satan tells them not to believe so they will end up in Hell.
· Qur’an 4:55 Sufficient for the Jew is the Flaming Fire!
· Qur’an 88:1 Has the narration reached you of the overwhelming (calamity)? Some faces (all disbelievers, Jews and Christians) that Day, will be humiliated, downcast, scorched by the burning fire, while they are made to drink from a boiling hot spring.
It would be for radical Islam to field a massive army bent on the annihilation of the Jews and their state. It may be Islam that leads a final, fatal Jihad against the nation of Israel.
B. v. 13-14 The Antagonists When this judgment is poured out, three frogs are seen coming out of the mouths of the dragon, the Beast and the false prophet. Frogs are unclean creatures and are used here to refer to evil spirits, or demons. The mouth is the source of influence. So, it seems that Satan will inspire the worlds of these hellish world leaders and they will whip their followers into a frenzy for a final assault against Israel. They are able to form a coalition between the worlds armies. This final war will be satanically inspired and energized.
C. v. 15 An Announcement On the heels of this judgment a heavenly announcement is made. Ever since Jesus ascended back into Heaven, it has been prophesied that He would return, Acts 1:9-11. Seven years prior to these events, Christ did return and He received His bride into Heaven. That was the Rapture. This verse is referring to the Second Coming. Jesus is telling His precious people to hang on for just a little longer. His coming that has been imminent has become immediate! He is at the door! The saints of God are encouraged to keep the faith for a few more days, the Lord is coming! He is coming like a thief. The world will not see the signs, but He will come in an instant and bring judgment with Him. Jesus lets His people know, however, that their waiting is over.
D. v. 16 Armageddon This army has been assembled by Satan to destroy the people of God. The devil still thinks that he is in control! A quick glance at the Scripture paints a different picture altogether. Verse 14 tells us that this army is being gathered “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Then, verse 16 says, “He gathered them together… Satan may think that he is in control of these events, but the real Ringmaster is God Himself. He gathers the nations of the world in the valley of Megiddo so that He might engage them and destroy them in one moment of time.
We have already considered the Valley of Megiddo in a previous message. But, a little refresher never hurt anyone. Armageddon means “the hill or city of Megiddo. Megiddo is located in the Plain of Esdraelon. This location is the site of some famous biblical battles. It was here that Barak and Deborah defeated the Canaanites, Jud. 4-5. It was here that Gideon defeated the Midianites, Jud. 6-8. This same valley is the place that both King Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle, 1 Sam. 31. King Josiah also met his death in the valley of Megiddo, 2 Chron. 35.
In this valley the armies of the earth will come together to destroy the King of Kings. It is here in this place that Napoleon Bonaparte described as “a natural battlefield that the final battle of the earth will be fought. We will consider this battle in detail when we come to chapter 19.
III. v. 17-21 BABYLON IS PLUNDERED
(Ill. The seventh bowl is poured out. When it is, the awful wrath of God and His judgments against the earth are ended. Also, in this final judgment, this world system is destroyed. Since the dawn of time man has moved in rebellion to God. He has rebelled in his personal life, his public life, his political life and his productive life. In these verses, that entire world system is brought crashing down and man is left with nothing! Let’s look in as Babylon is plundered.)
A. v. 17 A Sentence Is Rendered As this bowl is poured out, a voice from the throne says, It is done!” This statement signals the fact that judgment has reached an end. The Lord Jesus is on His way. He is prepared to take back everything Adam lost in the fall. He is preparing to claim everything He purchased at the cross. Jesus is about to receive the glory He is due. When Jesus was on the cross, He cried, “It is finished!” There He announced His victory. Here, He cries, “It is done!” Here He announces His verdict. There He cried out in joy; here He cries out in judgment. He is letting us know that we have reached the end of judgment; glory is just around the corner.
B. v. 18-21a A System Is Ruined God has been in the process of judging the earth all the way through the Tribulation. Wave after wave of divine wrath has washed over this world and its inhabitants and still this world system stands in continued defiance to the will of God in Heaven. Here, in one final stroke, God destroys the last vestiges of human power. In one final judgment, God removes the last of mans props. God destroys everything that man has built and glories in. In a moment of time, the world is brought to its knees. Lets take a minute to unpack these verses.
· A Great Earthquake Devastates The World v. 16 Earthquakes have always been a part of living in this world. Earthquakes happen around the world on a daily basis. Most, thankfully, occur unnoticed by the inhabitants of the world. Some, however, have brought profound loss of life and severe damage. We all remember the earthquake in December 2004 that triggered a tsunami that devastated the South Pacific.
(Ill. To get an idea of how powerful this earthquake was, consider the fact that all the atomic and nuclear tests throughout history only equal 510.4 megatons. The South Pacific quake was 64 times larger than all nuclear explosions combined!)
Dr. Ken Trivette writes, “The earthquake and tsunami that hit Seward, Alaska in 1964 was so massive it deposited a cargo ship on the top of a mountain several thousand feet inland. Fourth Avenue, the main street in Anchorage at the time, dropped 15 feet, swallowing whole cars into a crevasse. The entire Anchorage neighborhood of Turnagain slid into the Cook Arm of Prince William Sound.” And that was only a 9.0 quake!
This quake will transcend the power of any quake ever measured. The devastation will be immense!
· The Cities Of The Earth Are Affected v. 19 The Great City probably refers to Jerusalem. That ancient city suffers terrible damage. The Old Testament speaks of great geological changes in and around Jerusalem.
The rest of the cities of the earth are devastated. Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, all the cities of the earth are destroyed in one fell swoop. All the centers of pleasure, economics and power are taken away in a moment of time.
· Babylon Is Judged v. 19 We will see this fleshed out in greater detail in chapters 17-18, but for now we need to understand that the seat of the Antichrist’s power, and the seat of the False Prophet’s power, will be destroyed. This city, and the system behind it, will suffer more than the rest of the world.
· The Islands And Mountains Are Destroyed v. 20 The entire topography of the world will change. The continents will shift; islands will be swallowed up in massive tsunamis; the mountains will crumble and disappear. The world will be retorted to what it was like before the flood of Noah. The Lord is preparing the world for His millennial reign!
· Gigantic Hailstones Will Fall On Men v. 21a A talent was the amount of weight that a full grown man could reasonably lift. A talent weighs somewhere between 100 and 125 pounds.
Can you imagine 125 pound balls of ice raining down from the sky? Everything that is left behind from the devastating earthquake will be pulverized and the earth will be covered with shards of ice. Any crops that are in the fields will be destroyed. Cars, houses, everything of value will be totally wiped out by this terrifying plague.
C. v. 21b All Sinners Are Revealed Even after all they have been through, the inhabitants of the world refuse to repent. They continue to blaspheme God. It is hard to imagine that the human heart can be so hard. Yet, the condition of sinners under judgment proves that lost people are totally depraved and will not repent!
I praise the Lord that He came to me in grace and called me to Him! What love! What grace! What a Savior that would condescend to love sinners like me! He was good to me even when I was in rebellion to Him. It was goodness that won my heart and yours, Rom. 2:4.
Conc: I call your attention back to verse 15. Jesus is coming! His counsel is for people to be ready. We do not know when He will come. He may come today in the Rapture. He may come for you today in death. If He were to come for you would you be ready? Or would you be caught unprepared?
If you need to be saved, you can get that taken care of today. If you have strayed away from the Lord, you need to remember where you were headed before He saved you by His grace, and you need to get ready to leave this world. If the Lord has saved your soul and you know that to be so, the best thing you could do is bow before Him in humble thanksgiving right now. I praise His name that I am ready to go. How about you?