Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 12
TRUMPET & BOWL JUDGEMENTS: BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
Revelation 9 & 16
The best way to understand the Book of Revelation is to determine all the things that take place at the beginning of the Tribulation, the things at the mid-point, and the whole host of events at the end, which of course, will be at the time of Christ’s Second Coming. And then He will set up the Kingdom. I know there are folks and groups who just cringe at my teachings that the Kingdom will be here on the earth at the end of the Tribulation. And I make no apologies for teaching that. Because this Book is full of it. That’s what it talks about from cover to cover – the coming of this Kingdom on earth. Which in reality is where heaven will be also. And that is another concept that a lot of people can’t understand, that heaven will be on the earth. When this earth is destroyed at the end of that initial 1000 years, of course, and you get into the last two chapters of Revelation, what do you have? A new heaven and a new earth. Even the eternal abode is going to be on an earth-type situation, and not up in the regions beyond in a heaven of an ethereal, and all the foggy notions that people have about heaven. But nevertheless, it’s going to be a viable, social existence on planet earth.
Another thing I would like to share is that the Church Age we are in at the present time, will someday end, and I’ve always emphasized that the Church Age is indeterminate in time, for we don’t know when it will end. It began back here in the Book of Acts, especially as Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, began preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, and calling out what he refers to as the Body of Christ. I’ve always told folks in my classes that it’s not so important what congregation you are a member of. But are you a member of the Body of Christ? You can be any denomination you want to, but unless you are a member of the Body of Christ, you are eternally lost. The Scripture is so plain. But once we have entered into God’s salvation and the Holy Spirit’s work of placing you into the Body of Christ, then we have what the Bible refers to as eternal life, eternal salvation, the hope of glory.
I got a letter from a gentlemen from Indiana, who said, “Les, I just thrill at all you are teaching, but I’ve still got some questions about the Rapture of the Church.” I’m sure he was wondering if the Church going to go into the Tribulation. I’ve made the statement more than once, that I could stand here for an hour or two and give you references that prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the Church will not go into the Tribulation. And mostly because this whole concept of the Body of Christ is a revelation only given to the Apostle Paul, you will never find it mentioned in the Old Testament or the four Gospels. It is strictly a Pauline revelation. Paul maintains that this Body of Christ, which is all wrapped up in another word that is predominately Pauline, is “the mystery.” Now the mystery is the revelation that God is now doing something different in these last 1900 + years of time, after the revelation of these mysteries. He is calling out the Body of Christ, not under Law, not associated with the Nation of Israel, not associated with Judaism, or the Temple. It is totally the operation of the Grace of God, based upon the finished work of the Cross, His death, burial and Resurrection.
And this is so totally removed from Law, which will again come in during the Tribulation, because Israel will again have her temple worship. And you can not mix Law and Grace. We couldn’t mix it during the Church Age and it won’t mix in the Tribulation. The Church would be as out of place as a fish out of water in the Tribulation. It just wouldn’t fit. It is not part of the Jewish program. It is completely insulated from all of God’s dealing with Israel. Whereas in the Tribulation, God is primarily dealing with Israel. So as the Church Age is completed then, it must be taken out of the way so God can once again pick up where He left off with Israel.
Why is it that the world is always so concerned about peace in the Middle East? Every United States President, at least since President Kennedy, has almost made it their prerogative to somehow or other be the one that could bring peace to the Middle East. Yet, look at all the other areas of the world that need peace. They are not that concerned about those. But they are hung up on the Middle East and peace for them. Well again, it comes back to the Scriptures. What do the Scriptures say about Jerusalem? It will be a stone of stumbling. And isn’t that exactly what it is. Every President has stubbed their toe on Jerusalem. They are so intent on bringing peace to the Middle East. And that’s why the Anti-christ will finally be the one to do it. He will bring a seven-year treaty of peace to Israel and the Middle East. Seemingly the world is going to think that he is the mastermind and so forth. So the very fact he signs that treaty will begin God’s clock ticking again, and the seven years of Tribulation will begin.
Then as we noticed in previous lessons, we have the introduction of the two witnesses who will proclaim the Word of God again to the Nation of Israel. Out of them will come the 144,000 young Jews who will be sealed and commissioned of God. We have also discussed the Great Russian invasion of Israel sometime after the Tribulation has begun. And then we have the various judgments of God begin to fall. When we get to the mid-point of the Tribulation, the Anti-christ at that time will go in and defile the temple, and immediately stop temple worship. He will demand that He himself be worshiped as God. That will trigger this final 3 1/2 years.
This is where we are now in this study. We have seen the sixth seal removed and the trumpet judgments begin. And again, I like to make the analogy that Jesus made in Matthew 24. These Tribulation judgments are a perfect parallel of a young lady approaching delivery of her little one. And when the birth pangs begin they are rather mild and far apart. But as she gets closer and closer to the delivery hour, everything will crescendo. So, as we have come past the mid-point and the trumpet judgments are taking place, they also will keep getting a little closer together. They keep getting worse and worse until finally we get to the last seven judgments and they are called the Bowl judgments. In the King James they are called `vials.’ I prefer to use the word `bowl’ and I’ll tell you why in a little bit.
In our last lesson we finished Revelation Chapter 8 with the end of the fourth trumpet judgment. Now let’s go into Chapter 9, where we come to the 5th trumpet judgment. These trumpets are merely God’s way of indicating that it is now time for the next judgment to fall. This won’t be isolated to the Middle East, but will be world-wide. Many of the plagues that will take place in the Tribulation are a repetition of what took place in Egypt under Moses.
Another thing to remember, all the way up through the Old Testament the supernatural was rather commonplace. All you have to do is reflect back and all of them had to do with the Nation of Israel, and we don’t have a problem with that. But as soon as you get into the Book of Revelation and start talking about these supernatural things that take place, a lot of people think you’ve got to be a weird person to believe them. They say, “This isn’t really going to happen.” But yes it is, because most of them have happened before and the Book says it will. I’m not a prophet of doom, neither am I one to sensationalize. Those of you who have heard me teach over the years know that. We just simply teach it because the Book says it.
“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth (now here is how you learn to study your Bible. You will notice in the next statement that this star is given a pronoun. What’s the pronoun? Him. We don’t know what angel it is, but it’s a personality. It’s a person of some sort. I think it’s an angel and I don’t know which one it is. But nevertheless it’s not just a body from outer space falling): and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit,” Now the bottomless pit is not Hell, or the lake of fire. It is a unique place that God has reserved.
“And he opened the bottomless pit; and 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. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”
If you have ever been stung by a scorpion, you know it has a unique sting to it. Their sting burns and lasts for quite a while. Now these locusts are going to have a psychological effect on humanity as much as anything, by their appearance and their ability to sting.
“And it was commanded them (notice God has complete control of them. This is God’s wrath being poured out on God rejecting mankind. We will see shortly that everything He does is fair and just) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” Who are those? The 144,000. Remember back in Chapter 7, verse 3, where the angel is instructed:
“Saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Then are listed the twelve tribes from which come the 144,000 young Jews. These are referred to in Chapter 9, verse 4. These locust will not be able to touch the 144,000. Now verse 5 of Revelation 9:
“And to them (the locusts) it was given that they should not kill them, but that they (that is mankind) should be tormented five months;”
I know the first thing that comes to mind is, “How can a God of love do something like this to His created beings.” Well, you must remember the big picture. For thousands of years God has been nothing but gracious, kind, loving, and patient. But back to Psalms Chapter 2, all of a sudden we break into a period of time that is going to be the wrath and vexation of God. When He has finally run out of His patience and said, “I’ve had enough.” In the day that you and I are living and have seen the fabric of the world society just rot at the seam (even in these last 15 to 20 years), don’t you often ask yourself, “How long will God put up with it?” You look at what men and women are doing today and you just have to ask yourself that question. Well it won’t be much longer! And when He does stop being gracious, His wrath is going to be beyond our comprehension. And as the Scripture tells us, it is fair and just. He will torment the human race with the stings of these locust, and instead of hurting for an hour or two it’s going to sting for 5 months. The 5 months refer to the length of the result of that sting.
“…and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days (remember, here we are in the last half of the Tribulation) shall men seek death, and shall not find it ; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” In other words, people won’t even be able to commit suicide. Because a Sovereign God is going to take even that from them. Then verse 7:
“And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle;…”
I know for years I looked at that and couldn’t figure anything out. Then one day I was catching grasshoppers for my wife to fish with, and it had never struck me before. Have you ever looked real close at the head of a big grasshopper? What does it look like? A horse’s head. And then I read soon after, that in Germany there is a species of grasshopper that they call the Horseheaded Locust. And so there is something for thought. It’s not way out in left field. These locusts will also be psychologically frightening. It will also attack the human race mentally.
“And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.”
We here in America have never had to come under the attack of swarms and clouds of locust. But in the Middle East, when locust can all of a sudden come up and literally cloud out the sun, it is indeed a roar that can be heard in their coming. These things are going to be so numerous and huge, that the sound of their wings will sound like many chariots.
“And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails, and their power was to hurt men five months.” It’s beyond our comprehension isn’t it?
“And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Which really means the “Destroyer.” Beyond that, we don’t know who this angel is. It’s not Satan I’m quite sure. But it could be one of his lieutenants. Now verse 12 says:
“One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” If this isn’t bad enough, there are still 2/3 of it left.
“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, `Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.'”
Why the Euphrates? If you remember back in Genesis Chapter 11, what took place on the Euphrates River? The Tower of Babel. And as I have stressed over the years, all pagan religions were instituted there. Every pagan, mystical religion that you read about or research has its roots at the Tower of Babel on the Euphrates River. Now evidently at the time that God scattered the human race or even later after Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, and some of the high priests of these pagan religions fled – I think somewhere back there God confined four of these powerful demonic beings who had been under Satan’s rule, and they were bound in the area of the Euphrates River. Another thing I like to point out about the Euphrates is that the Euphrates River is the boundary between East and West. Have you ever thought of it that way? Religiously and you know I don’t like that word, but religiously it’s the same way. East of the Euphrates has always been predominantly your pagan, idolatrous religion. West of the Euphrates you have some of the other religions – like Judaism, even Mohammedism, and of course Christianity. So the Euphrates River is like the dividing line. These four angels now have been confined in that boundary area. And now verse 15, then we will have to continue in our next lesson.
“And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.”
In other words, God has kept them waiting for a particular hour of a particular day, of a particular month.
Now I read something the other day (and I’m always stressing how God is meticulous in His timing), about how the temple that was built by Solomon, was destroyed on the same day and month (naturally in a different year) by the Babylonians.