"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ĎCome, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. . . . The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fireí. . . . The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. . . . Then they[the demons]gathered the[ten]kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon."(Revelation 17:1, 16, 16:12, 16, insertions mine)
These important Bible verses will be fulfilled during the last thirty days of the Great Tribulation. The great prostitute is a forthcoming one-world-church-state. At a place called "Armageddon," the kings of Earth will make war against Jesus as He and the Father appear in clouds of glory. This explanation may seem fictitious because currently, a one-world-church-state is impossible because (a) we are a world of diverse religions and diverse governments, and (b) no one on Earth has enough power to capture the whole world. Nevertheless, the book of Revelation predicts these events will transpire and we can be sure that everything God has said will occur.
Before we examine the formation of the great prostitute and the battle of Armageddon, we need to understand that some basic behaviors are very important to God even though they do not appear to be very important to a growing number of human beings. For example, God has said that He will judge us with the same attitude and standards that we judge others. If we are critical of others, God will be critical of us. (Matthew 7:2) God requires us to be fair in our business dealings. If we cheat in business deals because we can get away with it, God considers that stealing. (Leviticus 25; Matthew 7:12; Luke 3:14; Proverbs 16:11) If we defraud others, commit violent acts against others or if we live sexually immoral lives, God will not permit us to enter Heaven. (Revelation 21:8, 27) God has also promised to extract restitution from everyone who refuses to make restitution to those they have wronged. (Romans 12:19; Revelation 2:23; 2 Corinthians 5:10) God also commands us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-45) This commandment cannot be fulfilled without Godís help. In fact, all of Godís commands require Godís help because our carnal natures are degenerate.
These principles matter to God and they should matter to us because God holds us accountable for our actions. You might ask, "So, what does our treatment of others have to do with the Great Tribulation?" The answer is quite simple: The Great Tribulation will be a thorough test of character. God commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39) and the Great Tribulation will reveal our love (or lack of love) for others. Distressing situations bring out the best or the worst in people. Thus, the Great Tribulation will reveal our true character. During the Great Tribulation, the necessities of life will become scarce, and survival will be questionable. In this context, our love for others, including our enemies, will be tested and everyone, including God, will see the results..
Loving Truth Matters Most
The first and greatest commandment is that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul. (Matthew 22:37) Is there a difference between loving God and loving religion? Although most of the world does not see any difference between the teachings of their religion and the will of God, there is one critical element that keeps God and religion separate: truth. Manís understanding of truth is ever advancing and the issue that matters most to God is our response to advancing truth. God is totally honest and He demands the same from His children. (1 Chronicles 29:17; Matthew 5:8) God looks in our hearts and sees our commitment to honesty. He knows if we are pure in heart. He knows if we are scrupulous about being honest. God hates dishonesty, and He detests hypocrites pretending to be honest but are liars and thieves. (Proverbs 6:16-19; Matthew 23)
You may be wondering what our conduct toward others and our honesty have to do with the great prostitute and the battle of Armageddon. Actually, a great deal. The great prostitute in Revelation 17 represents a great multitude of selfish and dishonest people who will unite with the devil to save their lives. The honest in heart will not compromise and will not go along with the devilís schemes. As a result, the honest in heart will be torn between loving their own lives and their love for truth. (John 12:25) Honesty opens the door to eternal life. When a sinner honestly confesses sin and becomes willing to go, to be and to do all that God requires, the sinner receives an assurance of salvation because Jesus has paid the price for sin. Salvation begins with honesty. Honesty is an attitude about life, and truth and our honesty determine the nature of our relationship with God.
God knows that we live in a world of "developing truth" because God alone possesses absolute truth. Our limited knowledge of truth is not a problem for God because He is ultimately concerned about our response to what we believe is truth, not our possession or acceptance of absolute truth. In other words, when a person lives up to all that he or she honestly believes to be Godís will Ė God is pleased with that personís honesty. God knows that if an honest person discovers more truth, he or she will joyfully conform to it because honest people love truth and honest people want all the truth they can find! The apostle Paul is one of the best examples in the Bible of a misguided person who was honestly wrong. Paul zealously lived up to everything he thought was Godís will (Philippians 3), and in fact, he believed that he was doing God a service by persecuting Christians! After meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul saw his misdirection and he immediately became a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus confronted Paul on the road because He knew that Paul was unusually honest in heart. Jesus knew that Paul loved God and His truth with all his heart, and Paulís behavior after meeting Jesus leaves no doubt about his love for truth. Consider this statement carefully: It is no sin to be mistaken, but it is a sin to refuse to accept advancing truth that God has revealed. (2 Timothy 3:1-7; James 4:17)
Jesus told Nicodemus:"Everyone who does evil hates the light[of truth], and will not come into the light for fear that his[dishonest]deeds will be exposed. But whoever[loves and]lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been[honestly]done through[the power of the indwelling Spirit of]God."(John 3:20,21, insertions mine) This is a profound declaration! The great difference between those who love truth and those who do not is a commitment to honesty. Honest people seek truth, they love truth, and they are open to the increasing demands of truth as their understanding of truth unfolds. Honesty is so important to God because people cannot live happily throughout the corridors of eternity without being honest with God, self and others.
Honest people are transparent people. They do business in an open and honorable way. Their word is their bond. They do not have anything to hide. They are willing to confess their wrongs and to make amends when necessary. Honest people are concerned about things that matter most in life: walking humbly before God and serving others with integrity, loyalty and faithfulness. If we love truth, we make God happy because He can accomplish great things through every person who is willing to advance with greater truth. Jesus promised His followers:"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. . . ."(John 16:13) A simple test to tell if we love truth is our reaction when we are confronted with more truth. If we are convicted by Godís Spirit that it is truth, we will obey it regardless of the consequences that may come.
This brings us to the poignant question that Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" (John 18:38) Truth is a verity, or a fact, that is confirmed by the harmony that comes from the sum of all its parts. In other words, truth can be as simple as a statement of fact or it can be a complex collection of interrelated facts. The Bible contains simple statements of truth such as, "God is love" (1 John 4:8), as well as complex statements of truth such as the doctrine of parallel temples. (Hebrews 8:1-5) As a matter of non-negotiable faith, I accept as fact that the Bible is the Word of God. I believe the sixty-six books of the Bible are consistent with the will of God. Whenever Godís Spirit affirms the veracity of advancing truth in my heart (that is, the Spirit puts the weight of conviction in my heart that something is truth), that verity becomes a testing truth . God watches to see whether I will implement advancing truth and walk in the greater light of Godís Word, or if I will resist truth and remain in darkness to avoid change. God wants to see if I am willing to endure the social, economic and familial consequences that advancing truth can cause. In a fallen world, the price that truth requires can be serious. Jesus said, "the truth will set you free." (John 8:32) His words are true. The truth can set you free of your friends, your job, your family and your church, but the truth also gives you a new set of friends, a better job, a larger family and membership in the body of Christ!
Human beings do not have access to absolute truth. This is why there can be different opinions and views about truth. Two honest people can have opposing views! Manís diversity is not a problem because God alone knows and possesses absolute truth. God wants us to love honesty and truth as He does so that our relationship with Him can grow. We are finite, God is infinite. Therefore, the only way we can grow in love and appreciation for God is through adopting more truth because His truths are ever expanding!
Conflicts over Truth
We live in a diverse world. We live on several continents, we speak hundreds of different languages, we worship different gods, we are citizens of various governments, and we come from many races and cultures Ė yet, we make up one world. God is not perplexed by our diversity because He is responsible for it. When He scattered the inhabitants of Earth at the tower of Babel some 4,500 years ago (Genesis 11), He foreknew the diversity that would occur. As a matter of fact, He intends to use our global diversity at the end of Earthís drama to demonstrate some amazing facts. Here is one such fact:God intends to show the universe that there are people within every religion, culture, nation and tongue who sincerely love truth and if necessary, they would sacrifice life itself because of their love for truth.The interesting thing about these people is that the only thing they have in common is their love for truth because the verities they presently exalt as truth are as diverse and conflicted as mankind! Even though two honest people can believe opposite things about the will of God, this does not present a problem for God because He can see that both people love truth. God knows that if He gave these two diverse people a clear and definitive presentation of His will, both would receive it and joyfully obey it because they love truth!
Consider how God will separate His sheep from the goats in all religions during the Great Tribulation. God will send a clear and powerful testimony of truth through His servants, the 144,000, during the Great Tribulation, and all who love truth will receive their gospel! The rest of mankind will reject it. Before you say to yourself, "I love truth and I will certainly take my stand on the side of truth when the time comes," you need to understand that the 144,000 will present a gospel to the human race during the Great Tribulation within a context of severe persecution. Accepting Godís truth will come with a price. Even though demonic forces will do their best to thwart the advance of the gospel, everyone on Earth will hear the everlasting gospel, and it will be contrary to everyoneís religion! This is how God will level the playing field for the whole world. God is about to trap everyone between the demands of truth and the demands of false religion to see who loves truth and who is honest in heart. Our diversity is no obstacle for God because He will test our love for truth. The people of Earth will hear three testing truths, three simple truths (Revelation 14:6-13), and those who love truth will receive these truths and obey them. The rest of mankind will rebel. Thus, the sheep will be separated from the goats in all religions.
The Great Tribulation
The Great Tribulation will begin with a global earthquake that will dwarf the 9.3 Richter Scale earthquake that caused the deadly tsunami in southern Asia in December, 2004. (Revelation 8:5) Shortly after the earthquake, a trumpet will sound in Heavenís temple and the seven trumpet-judgments will begin to fall. It appears that the first four judgments will occur during a period of 30-60 days. The first trumpet-judgment will be meteoric showers of burning hail which will burn up a third of Earth. Next, the second and third trumpet-judgments will occur and there will be two civilization-threatening asteroid impacts. The fourth trumpet-judgment will produce a period of extended darkness. Crops around the world will wither without sunlight and global famine will set in. (Revelation 8:2-13) Twenty-five percent of the worldís population (1.75 billion people?) will perish as a result of the first four trumpets, and every survivor will tremble at such an awesome display of Godís wrath. Everyone on Earth will stop, look and listen. Billions of people will wonder, "What does God want?" "What should we do to appease Godís wrath so that His horrible judgments will stop?"
As the dust from the first four trumpet-judgments begins to settle, the clergy of the world will rush to form a crisis organization. On that day, all the religions of the world will unite around the obvious necessity to appease Godís wrath. The clergy of all religions will agree that Godís wrath can only be appeased through repentance and worship. This "common cause" will enable diverse religions to unite, and in Revelation, this organization is called "Babylon" because the diverse coalition of religious leaders will be very confused. (Incidently, the word Babylon means confusion.)
How can diverse religions agree on repentance and the worship of God when each religion has a different view about sin and the proper worship of God? To solve this problem, the clergy will ask their respective governments to make and enforce a series of "sin-less" laws. The compelling rationale behind these laws will be to immediately appease God. The clergy will reason that our decadent and sinful behavior made God angry; therefore, righteous behavior (founded on principles of repentance and worship) will please Him. Political leaders in each government will survey the overwhelming destruction, and they will have no reasonable option but to go along with the requests of the united clergy.
In spite of the sincere efforts, the religious leaders of the world will not be able to unify the world in matters of repentance and worship, and the numerous "sin-less" laws will not make the nations of the world righteous. Instead, manís religious and political response to Godís wrath will only cause the misery index for humanity to climb higher. This sequence of events will reveal an interesting point: Moral legislation does not produce righteousness. At first, the decadent behavior will cease because of the fear of God, but as time passes, humankind will return to previous behaviors. When religious leaders see people doing evil again, they will ask for even tougher laws which will result in the clergy punishing sinners through the power of the state.
The fifth trumpet-judgment will be the physical appearing of the devil (the Antichrist), and he will appear on or about the 890 th day of the Great Tribulation. (The Great Tribulation will last 1,335 days - Daniel 12:12). In other words, God will hold back the appearing of the devil until two-thirds of the time allotted for the Great Tribulation has expired. God delays the appearing of the "Great Deception" so that most of the inhabitants of the world can receive or reject the everlasting gospel on its own merits. This is a key point. The devil is not allowed to appear until most of the inhabitants of Earth have had a chance to make an informed and intelligent decision about the truth sent from God.
After the devil is released from the abyss, the spirit realm where he is presently confined (Revelation 17:8), he will physically appear before billions of people masquerading as Almighty God. The devil will travel throughout the Earth for five months. He will attract huge crowds and gain followers through amazing signs and miraculous wonders. He will also inflict painful intimidation on wicked people who refuse to obey him. (Revelation 9:1-11) At the end of his five months of self-promotion, the devil will declare that Earth is his kingdom. Speaking as God, he will demand that a one-world-church-state be established, which he will claim will last for a thousand years.
The apostle Paul says the devil will declare himself to be God and he will have the miracle working powers to prove his deceitful claim. (2 Thessalonians 2) Because honest people love truth, it can be said that dishonest people love lies. Therefore, God sends the wicked "a great lie" so that they can unite with the father of lies (John 8:44) and be destroyed. The devilís appearing presents an interesting fact. God is not passive about our rejection of truth. If we reject the clearest evidences of truth, then God permits the devil to sweep us away with lies. In other words, God permits those who refuse to love the truth to be deceived by their love for lies!
The Bible predicts that a large majority of the world will be deceived by Luciferís miracles and misled by his lies. (Revelation 13:8) They will believe that the devil is Almighty God! Paul wrote,"The coming of the lawless one[who claims to be God in verse 4]will be in accordance with the work of Satan[for he is Satan]displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because[they heard the truth and] they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, italics and insertions mine) Keep this thought in mind: God does not condemn people for honestly believing things that are not true; however, God does condemn those who refuse to embrace the clearest evidences of truth.
After the devil appears on Earth, no one will be able to refuse the Antichrist without suffering a terrible penalty. (Revelation 9:6;13:15) Standing for truth will be painful, but going along with the devil will also prove to be painful, especially during the seven bowls. This is why the Great Tribulation is called "a time of wrath." (Daniel 8:19; 11:36) Everyone will suffer. Eventually, the devil will divide the people of Earth into ten sectors and he will set up ten kings to rule over them. Lucifer will also choose a large number of people to serve as officials in his new government.
No Room for Diversity
As King of kings (the chief political ruler of the world) and Lord of lords (the chief religious leader of the world), the devilís demand for a one-world-church-state will seem very reasonable to his followers. Think about this statement very carefully:When "God" lives among men, there can be no room for diversity within religion or government.When the devil lives among men, he will be able to speak for himself which will eliminate any question or ambiguity about "the will of God." The devil will demand there must be "one Lord, one faith and one baptism." The devil will quote the Bible and other sacred writings with marvelous ability to support his claims. The serpent has no equal when it comes to deception. He will be successful for a time. (Daniel 11:36) He will set up a one-world-church-state and rule Earth. His one-world-church-state is called "an image to the beast" in Revelation 13 because his government will be "a likeness" of previous fallen governments that have ruled on Earth. Calling the great government of Lucifer "an image to the beast" is a veiled denunciation of Luciferís government because the government of Jesus Christ, which He will set up on Earth after it is purified by fire, will be totally unlike the governments of fallen man. In other words, Godís government will not be an image of manís fallen ways. Godís government is based on love, righteousness and truth. Luciferís government is based on force, evil schemes and lies.
How the Beast Rises
Now that we have considered several parts of the story, let us take a moment and review the sequence of prophetic events that leads up to the establishment of Luciferís one-world-church-state (the image). Revelation 13:1 predicts that a beast that will rise from the sea shortly after Godís judgments begin to fall. Although Revelation 13:1 does not say what causes this beast to rise from the sea, the Bible does address the identity, the timing and purpose of this beast. The beast that rises from the sea represents manís organized response to the overwhelming death and destruction caused by the first four trumpet-judgments. The first four trumpet-judgments will destroy one-fourth of the worldís population and one-third of the worldís oceans, land mass and rivers. As a result, the inhabitants of this diverse planet will quickly find a united way to respond to Godís wrath.
The Bible states that the beast from the sea will have seven heads and ten horns, and it will exercise its authority for forty-two months. I call this a crisis government, a union of diverse churches and diverse states, that will form shortly after the judgments of God begin to fall. (Remember, the devil is not allowed to physically appear on Earth for approximately 890 days, so the one-world-church-state will be a later development.) At first, this crisis government will be a coalition of the worldís religious leaders who will agree and unite in a common cause to appease God. They will implore their respective governments to implement laws demanding repentance for sin and the worship of God, and fearful legislators will respond in unity. The seven heads represent the seven religions of the world: Atheism, Heathenism, Eastern Mysticism, Judaism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. The problem with this religious coalition is that each religious group views Godís will in a different way, resulting in a great deal of confusion about repentance and worship. This is why the beast is called Babylon Ė because the word "Babylon" means confusion.
The head that received the deadly wound (in 1798) represents the papacy, and the healing of this deadly wound indicates the pope will lead the world as chief spiritual advisor until the devil appears masquerading as God. After Lucifer appears, he will abolish all of the religions on Earth as quickly as possible because he will not tolerate diversity when "God" lives on Earth. After Lucifer convinces enough people that he is God, he will demand that an the image or likeness to the diverse sea beast be established. In other words, the devil will consolidate the religions and governments of the world into a one-world-church-state that does not have to deal with the confusion caused by manís diversity. The book of Revelation gives Luciferís one-world-church-state three titles because each title amplifies the character and actions of his one-world-church-state. These three titles are; "the image to the beast," "the great prostitute," and "the great city that rules over the kings of the Earth."
We know that God permits the devil to physically appear to lead the world into destruction. There are several reasons why God permits the devil to abolish the religions of the world, but this is the one that I find most interesting. Revelation 13 and 17 indicate the seven heads (the seven religions of the world) are blasphemous in nature (Revelation 13:1; 17:3), signifying that they have usurped the prerogatives of God. The religions of Earth are offensive to God becauseall of themare false and arrogant. When false ideas about God are merged with manís fallen nature, religious organizations become arrogant and unwilling to change. Somehow, most clergy view religious change as a sign of weakness when in reality, truth is ever unfolding.
Even worse, lay people typically exalt their religion as though it were God! So, God permits the devil to eliminate the religions of the world which will have the calculated effect of putting millions of people in a great predicament. If people cling to their old religion, which will be outlawed, the devil will kill them for rebellion. If they join the devilís new religion, they will have to sell their soul to the devil in order to survive, even though they may disagree with the demands of the new religion! This conflict will open up the minds of devoutly religious people, and for the first time, they will thoughtfully and intelligently consider the annoying testimony of the 144,000. I say "annoying" because the testimony of Jesus Christ will stand in direct opposition to all of the religions on Earth including Luciferís one-world-church-state!
When the appointed hour, day, month and year for the sixth trumpet-judgment arrives (Revelation 9:15), the devil will declare sovereign authority over all of Earth. This declaration will force everyone Ė on a single day Ė to take sides. People standing in opposition to his one-world-church-state will be targeted for destruction. (Revelation 13:15) The challenge on that day will be very simple. "Worship God or die." The problem, of course, is that the being claiming to be God is the devil. The Bible indicates Lucifer will divide the population of Earth into groups of one thousand and his angels will kill one-third of mankind. The survivors of this global purge will be forced to wear one of two marks of the beast. The non-government survivors will wear a tattoo showing the number "666" on their right hand. The government workers will wear a tattoo on their forehead indicating the name that the devil will use. (Revelation 13:16-18) These tattoos will serve as a non-transferable I.D. card and will be placed on the two-thirds of mankind who have joined Luciferís one-world-church-state. Now you know why the mark of the beast is a number: 666 is two-thirds of 1,000. Of course, the devilís angels will be unable to locate and kill all of Godís saints, but they will destroy several hundred million of them during the fifth seal. (Revelation 6:9-11;16:4-7;17:6)
The seventh trumpet-judgment in Revelation 11:15-19 occurs on Sunday, the 1,264 th day of the Great Tribulation. At that point, the inhabitants of Earth will either have the mark of the beast or the seal of God. Jesusí final offer of salvation will have been terminated, and He will begin to avenge the suffering of His innocent saints by forcing the wicked to drink the bitter dregs of His wrath poured out of seven bowls Ė the seven last plagues. I believe the seven bowls will last about seventy days with each plague averaging ten days. These seven bowl-judgments, unlike the seven trumpet-judgments, will fall upon the wicked without any mixture of mercy. The first four bowls will fall only on people having the mark of the beast, and the last three bowls will include Lucifer and his angels.
The Fifth Bowl
"The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done."(Revelation 16:10,11)
The fifth bowl-judgment will turn everything upside down for the wicked. This plague falls upon the throne of the devil, and the administration of his one-world-church-state will be plunged into a dense darkness and a painful experience. Keep in mind there will be no electricity in those days. This darkness will be similar to the darkness that plagued Pharaoh. (Exodus 10:22,23) A plague of painful sores will also befall the devil, his kings and priests. This series of events turn everything upside down for the wicked because this plague unmasks the devil. The wicked will understand that the glorious being sitting on the throne is not Almighty God as he claimed. Too late, the wicked will realize that they have been worshiping and obeying the devil because no one but a higher authority could impose this painful suffering and darkness on the devilís throne and kingdom. The fifth bowl unmasks the devil by proving there is a higher power that is a sovereign power. (I find it ironic that the wicked discover this light while sitting in the dark.)
When this realization occurs, the one-world-church-state will immediately break down and implode because people who have the mark of the beast will learn that their God is no god after all. This is when the punishment of the great prostitute (the one-world-church-state) begins. The huge administration and world government which Lucifer assembled will be filled with people loathing the one-world-church-state they built. The devilís deception will be exposed and the wicked will be totally demoralized and disgusted. Every wicked person will remember how he sold his soul to the devil to survive. Every wicked person will recall what the 144,000 had said. The fifth plague will provide unmistakable evidence to the wicked that their doom is near. They will hate the one world-church-state, they will loathe themselves, and the devilís great government will implode.
Sixth Bowl Ė Twenty Days to Go
"The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East."(Revelation 16:12) The kings (plural) from the East are the Father and Son. They will appear together in clouds of glory at the Second Coming. (See Matthew 26:64 and Revelation 6:16,17) They will come from the East because anything approaching our planet from space appears to come from the East because of our planetís clockwise rotation.
The drying up of the great river Euphrates takes a little explanation. God established the great river Euphrates as Israelís northernmost boundary when He gave the land of Canaan to Abraham. (Genesis 15:18) This great river served as a natural barrier against invading forces from the North . Because the great river Euphrates is fed by snow-melt from several mountains, the river overflows its banks from time to time, and the destruction left in the wake of this unstoppable flooding "in the north" became legendary.
God sometimes paralleled His wrath against Israel with the flooding of the great river Euphrates. (See Isaiah 8:7,8 and Jeremiah 47:2). God also paralleled His wrath against Israel as coming out of the north. (Ezekiel 1:4; Jeremiah 1:14) To the ancient nation of Israel, "the flooding of the Euphrates" meant one thing: Oncoming and unstoppable destruction from the north. Once this ancient figure of speech is understood, the release of the four angels at the river Euphrates in the sixth trumpet becomes easier to understand. When the sixth trumpet-judgment occurs, an oncoming and unstoppable destruction will befall the whole world. In fact, the devilís angels will kill one-third of mankind! (Revelation 9:15) It is interesting to notice that the sixth trumpet-judgment concerns the great river Euphrates and so does the sixth bowl-judgment. The drying up of the great river, to prepare the way for the kings from the East, means this: No barrier protecting mankind from Godís wrath is left. The kings from the East will cross "the river" without resistance. The kings from the East will be unstoppable and their global destruction will be swift and complete. (See Job 37:22.)
"Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty."(Revelation 16:13,14) John saw three miracle working demons that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon (Lucifer), the beast (the sea beast with seven heads and ten horns, also called Babylon) and the false prophet (the devilís personation of God). This language requires some explanation.
When Lucifer is permitted to appear before the people of Earth during the fifth trumpet-judgment, the devil will present himself as a glorious being of light . (2 Corinthians 11:14) The devil and 200,000,000 of his angels (Revelation 9:16) will take on physical forms that humans will be able to touch and see. This concept can be difficult to understand at first because the devil and his angels will not be human beings. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this is through the use of a hand puppet. When a capable artist puts his hand inside a hand puppet, the artist can make the hand puppet appear to be alive even though everyone knows that it is the hand inside the hand puppet that is alive. When the fifth trumpet-judgment occurs, the glorious body masquerading as God will be a hand puppet. This is important to know because Jesus will destroy the glorious bodies which Lucifer and his angels inhabit at the Second Coming. The devil and his angels will be returned to the spirit realm for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:1-3)
Luciferís apparition is called a "false prophet" three times in the book of Revelation because Lucifer is a liar and he will lead the whole world astray with his lies. (Revelation 12:9) The devil will be able to deceive billions of people because they never loved truth. Thus, the devil will earn the title, "false prophet." Notice how the world will be tested during the Great Tribulation. Everyone will hear a call to obey God and exalt His truth. Godís true prophets will proclaim Godís Word. The wicked will hear Godís servants, but they will accept Luciferís lies, and unfortunately, most of the worldís clergy will unite with the false prophet! Surely, the whole world will stand in the valley of decision!"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel."(Joel 3:14-16)
We have already discussed how God will unmask the devil during the fifth bowl-judgment. Finally, the wicked will understand their great deception. The wicked will realize their stupidity as well as their impending doom because their protection (the one-world-church-state) turns out to be a great deception. The implosion of the great prostitute is represented as the drying up of the great river Euphrates. Now that you understand this setting, consider the following: When the sixth bowl-judgment is poured out, the devil will acknowledge his clever deception and inform the wicked that his and their destruction is imminent. The wicked will have no place to turn. Everything they trusted in was either a lie or a calculated deception.
At that time, the devil will set out to achieve one last deception. (The devil does not give up.) He will send three miracle working demons throughout the world with the news that Jesus Christ is about to appear and that Jesus intends to destroy every wicked person. The devil will tell the wicked that they have no other option but to join with him in destroying Jesus as He nears Earth. The devilís demons will work great miracles before the kings and rulers of Earth to convince them that they have a ghost of a chance at saving themselves.
Perhaps one of the reasons that John describes these three demons as frogs is found in Psalm 78:45:"He[God]sent swarms of flies that devoured them, and frogs that devastated them."Remember that Pharaohís magicians were able to convince Pharaoh that his God was as great as the God of the Hebrews because they could also call up frogs from the Nile River. (Exodus 8:7) However, this was thelast deceptionthat Pharaohís magicians were able to reproduce before their rebellious king. In other words, the imagery of demons as frogs in Revelation 16 parallels thelast deceptionof Satan, and the devastation that follows for the kings and armies of Earth parallels the destruction of the king of Egypt and his soldiers. Because the three frogs (three demons) come out of the mouths of the dragon, beast and false prophet, these demonically controlled entities are in perfect agreement with each other. They know their only remaining option is to destroy Jesus as He arrives. How low can evil minds sink? Who could think of actually entering into combat against Almighty God? Truly, the carnal heart is hostile toward God and His laws: The carnal heart would rather die than surrender to Godís authority and given half a chance, it would kill God.
"ĎBehold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.í Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon."(Revelation 16:15,16)
Remember, the seven bowls will last for a period of seventy days, and each plague will last ten days. This means the 1,290 th day (the date for the universal slaughter of the saints Ė Daniel 12:11) occurs during the third bowl-judgment. The devil will rally the wicked to kill every saint they can find. The good news surrounding this event is that (a) God responds to this evil tactic with a horrible plague for the wicked, and (b) the wicked will not be able to find nor kill a single saint. (Daniel 12:1) Notice what happens to the wicked at this time:"The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: ĎYou are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets[during the time of the seven trumpets], and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.í And I heard the altar respond: ĎYes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.í "(Revelation 16:4-7)
The sixth bowl-judgment (demonic deception) begins twenty-five days after the 1,290 th day. At that time, the saints will be hiding in remote places, desperate for the appearing of Jesus, and they will be clinging to life through faith in Him. This is why Jesus speaks to the saints saying,ĎBehold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.í
John concludes the ten days of the sixth bowl-judgment saying,"Then they[the demons]gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon."(Revelation 16:16, insertion mine) This text has puzzled Bible students for almost 2,000 years, but I think the meaning is quite simple. The word har-megiddon is mentioned once in the Bible, so a word study on "Armageddon" is not practical. To be accurate, har-megiddon is not even a Hebrew word! However, in Old Testament times it is well known that the Hebrews would join words together to create names as circumstances warranted. For example, when God called Abraham to offer his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, the Lord intervened. The Lord cancelled the sacrifice of Isaac because He provided a ram that was caught in a thicket. Abraham named that place "Jehovahjireh" by putting two Hebrew words together. Jehovahjireh means "Jehovah will provide [the sacrifice]" or "Jehovah will see to it [that the sacrifice will be provided]." (Genesis 22:14)
The word Armageddon appears to be a combination of two Greek words: har and Megiddon . The Greek word har means mountain. The word Megiddon refers to a battlefield where kings Ahaziah and Josiah died. (2 Kings 9:27; 23:30) The interesting thing about Josiahís death is that he foolishly went against Godís command. He foolishly made war with Pharaoh Neco who was passing through the land, and Josiah was killed. (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:21,22) In other words, the association with Megiddo is that of a battlefield where kings die. The kings of Earth will foolishly make war with Almighty God at the mountain of God and they will be destroyed. At the end of that day of battle, "the King of the mountain" will be Almighty God. The kings of Earth will perish. The wicked will be killed, the glorious but evil apparitions of the devil and his angels will be consumed with fire and returned to their spirit realm. The battle of Armageddon occurs during the last ten days of Earthís history.
"The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ĎIt is done!í Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city[the throne, the buildings and offices of Luciferís one-world-church-state]split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible."(Revelation 16:17-21)