Explanation of the Book of Revelation
Thomas James Mason
The Book of Revelation
The Number and Duration of the Holy Bible
Power of Prophecy
The Two Witnesses
The Seven Seals
The Second Coming
The First Woe
United States of America
The Seven Trumpets And The Seven Bowls
-The Book of Revelation-
While the papacy lounges on its' shifting and shrinking island of credibility, the Holy Bible's prophecies continue to be fulfilled precisely and inexorably. To date, virtually all of the prophecies have been fulfilled up to the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ and His saints.The last major occurrence prior to this millennium will see God's word triumph over the Roman Catholic papacy and over the deification of political ideologies, which is referred to in The Book of Revelation as the mark of the beast.
The book opens with a message to the seven churches that are in Asia.This portion is largely self-explanatory and will receive no further treatment here.The seven seals follow with a summary of
conditions in existence from the book's writing in 95 A.D. until the
second coming of Jesus Christ in 1844. This latter date is gleaned
from the Old Testament Book of Daniel. The seven seals can be
summarized as follows: Apostasy,War,Poverty,Spiritual Death,Religious Persecution,Signs on the Earth,and Silence in Heaven.
Prior to the triumph of the scriptural teaching, the seven last
plagues of God's wrath are to be in evidence. The SevenTrumpets
and The Seven Bowls are concerned with these difficulties. Basically these plagues are: Strife, Fresh Water Pollution, Salt Water Pollution, Air Pollution, Spiritual Torment, World War, Triumph of God's Word and His Judgement.
-The Number and Duration of the Holy Bible-
The number of the Holy bible is seven.This number denotes perf-
ection as revealed by God to His messengers through the course of the book. The creation myth of the Book of Genesis covers a period of seven days and is meant to instruct mankind to observe a seven day week. The days Sunday to Friday are allotted for catering to man's temporal needs. The Sabbath, or Saturday, is set aside for man to rest from his labors. Sabbath observance betokens reverence for the act of creation. Many examples of this number's use are found in the Book of Revelation. These include: The Seven Churches, The Seven Lampstands, The Seven Bowls, The Seven Seals, The Seven Trumpets.
A second point concerns the duration of God's plan for man-
kind's redemption. By the year 2000 A.D., The Bible will have encompassed an epoch of approximately 6000 years. This is crucial in understanding the relevance of the prophecies.Revelation provides the reader with a forty-two month period and a five month period. These segments involve cataclysmic events and actually cover much longer spans than a period of months. This, of course, befits a book covering several millenia.
One must turn to the Book of Numbers (Ch. 14:34), and The Book of Ezekiel (Ch. 4:6) to uncover the meaning of the prophetic day. From these passages, one learns that God has appointed each day for a year for the bearing of iniquities. If one accepts this interpretation, the forty-two month period becomes twelve hundred and sixty years while the five month period becomes one hundred and fifty years. It is with this twelve hundred and sixty year period in mind that we move to the next point.
Prior to examining the papacy's role, I will recommend a book written in the last century by Ellen G. White entitled " The Great Controversy". Reading this book will provide one with a compre- hensive picture regarding the papacy's function, and of the fulfilled Biblical prophecies to the year 1844. A synopsis of events follows, leading to the inescapable conclusion that the papacy and " The Mother of Harlots and Abominations" (Rev. Ch. 17) are one and the same.
The papal emergence is intertwined with the barbarian invasions and the subsequent fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. During this period, the papacy inherited much land and by the sixth century was both wealthy and firmly established. This emergence did not escape the attention of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian. Seeing advantages in controlling this office, Justinian, probably late in the year 537 A.D., installed a nobleman on the papal throne. In doing so, a relationship between papal and political power was cemented. The pope, named Vigilius, was to be a man who vacillated between subservience to Justinian and defiance of him. Owing to his occasional intractability, Vigilius was forced into captivity for much of his reign.
The atrocities, blessed and encouraged by the papacy in the following centuries, will not be recounted here. This is done to bring the reader, quickly and mercifully, to the year 1798 and specifically to the fifteenth day of February. On this date, twelve hundred and sixty years after the installation of Vigilius, Pius VI was removed from his office. A frenchman, General Louis Berthier, entered Rome and forced the pope to withdraw to Tuscany in north-west Italy. Pius VI ended his days in captivity in much the same fashion as did Vigilius.
Here, then, are two papal reigns both similar and peculiar. The former occurred during a period of political upheaval and signalled the onset of the papacy's great influence. The latter occurred during a time when the papal throne was no longer greatly feared, due largely to the influence of the Reformation. Between the installation of Vigilius and the removal of Pius VI, there is a twelve-hundred and sixty year period. Not more. Not less.
Revelation (Ch.13:1-10) refers to a beast with seven heads and ten horns that is to rule for a period of forty-two months. It is the dragon that gives the beast its' authority. The dragon is Satan (Rev. Ch.12). One learns from this passage that the beast is to rule, but not in accordance with God's Law. The deadly wound mentioned refers to the removal of Pius VI in 1798. Revelation (Ch.17) is concerned with an explanation of the beast and its' judgement. Clearly, the beast refers to the political configurations necessary to support the woman who rides atop. From this chapter, one can reasonably conclude that the woman is not a political power, yet is very closely associated with them. Also, the woman sits on seven mountains. Rome, of course, is the city of seven hills. Chapter seventeen describes a beast separate from the one with the seven heads and the ten horns. This is the beast that "was and is not and yet is". This beast is again Satan with the amorphous character denoting atheism.
The explanation of the beast with the seven heads and ten horns continues: one learns that the seven heads are seven kings, five of whom are fallen, one is, and one is yet to come. The king that "is" must be the Roman Empire as it ruled during the time of Revelation's composition. The five kings that are fallen indicate empires that ruled from the starting date of the Bible. These empires were the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian-Median, and Greek. The seventh king must be in power at the time of the papacy's final ruination. This likely prophesies, then, of the current re-alignment of the European nations. The ten horns represent ten nations acting as one. The eighth king "who is of the seven" is again the dragon or Satan. His power is exercised through these political powers and he is, therefore, also one of the seven.
Finally, chapter seventeen treats us to a vision of the triumph of God's word over the woman. The nations which paid homage to the woman will reverse field and begin adhering to the teachings of the Holy Bible. In this manner, the papacy will be left to wither and die in her own apostasy.
Nearing the end of the twentieth century, the papacy continues to exert enormous influence upon hundreds of millions of people. This church, however, can now expect to be under a continuous and growing siege from the followers of God's word, until her utter desolation. This mission must, largely, be accomplished within the next twenty years. This is because mankind cannot afford the luxury of delusionary thought much longer. Already the earth has amply indicated that our stranglehold must be released. Our desperate imperative is the environmental concern and a sanctimonious body, such as the Roman Catholic church, cannot be allowed to stand in the way. Serenely and quietly, they allow the destruction of the environment to continue from the pulpits of their world wide propaganda apparatus. Insidiously, their prayers soothe a great mass of humanity into inactivity at a time when activity is most sorely required. The pope of the day parades through the streets in his glass enclosed automobile, knowing all the while that the elimination of same is a crucial step in resolving our difficulties.
-Power of Prophecy-
The Holy Bible is full of examples of prophecy being fulfilled in specified periods of time. A few examples: Genesis(Ch.41) relates the pharaoh's dream involving the seven fat and lean kine. Joseph interprets this dream to mean that God will provide seven years of plentiful harvests followed by a seven year famine. Numbers (Ch.14) concerns the forty years the Lord will cause the Israelites to wander due to their transgressions. Jeremiah(Ch.25) informs the inhabitants of Judah they will be placed under the yoke of Babylon for seventy years because they refuse to heed the Lord. Daniel(Ch.4) prophesies of the seven year madness that is to befall the king of Babylon. In a similar vein, Daniel (Ch. 9) also notes that there are seventy weeks from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah's confirmation of the covenant.
The specified periods in the preceding examples are, clearly, not of random durations. Probably the best example of this concept concerns the twelve hundred and sixty year papal tyranny. This period exactly mimics the twelve hundred and sixty days of Christ's ministry. One is constrained to conclude that the prophecies emanate from a cognizant source.
The historical record teaches that prophecy exists. The previous examples indicate that there is an intelligence behind them. This is the power of prophecy.
-The Two Witnesses-
Revelation(Ch.11:1-13) deals with the two witnesses that are to prophecy for forty-two months,clothed in sackcloth. This period is again, the twelve hundred and sixty year papal tyranny. Therefore, it can be inferred that the two witnesses are not individuals, but the Old and New Testaments. The sackcloth refers to the endless privations people endured for the sake of preserving and teaching the true word.
At the end of the twelve hundred and sixty years, the witnesses are slain in the city which is spiritually Sodom and Egypt. The beast that slays them is Satan, working under atheism's guise. Sodom is noted to indicate a centre rife with sexual depravity, and Egypt for its' active defiance of God in the Book of Exodus. Paris of the early 1790's closely imitated these cities. The same country that was displaying its' new found strength in Rome in 1798, was also flexing some muscle at home in Paris in 1791. On November 20, 1791, the legislative assembly passed the first of their decrees relating to the troubles caused by religion. This soon led to a decree which stated there was, in fact, no God at all. The Bible was banned and publicly burned. Religious observance was forbidden, even to the point of replacing the seven day week with a ten day week. The government actually went so far as to hire dance hall girls to play the central figure in their almost unbelievably ridiculous "goddess of reason" ceremonies. Closely connected with the proscription of the Bible was the degradation of the marriage contract and a general rise in licentious behaviour.
The Bible, however, did not remain an object of flagellation for long and February, 1795 saw freedom of worship re-established. As mentioned in Revelation, the two witnesses are revivified after three and a half days, causing many to be frightened at this occurrence. Finally, This excerpt prophesies concerning the Bible's Rise to Heaven and an accompanying earthquake. This may indicate the final triumph of God's word which presently is in the offing.
-The Seven Seals-
The famed four horsemen of the Apocalypse comprise the first four seals (Rev. Ch. 6). The mention of these riders generally elicits thoughts of a final day struggle which leaves the earth in ruins. The truth, however, is that the conditions these riders signify have been in existence from 95 A.D. to date. Additionally, there are more than four horsemen in this book. Revelation (Ch. 19) introduces an entire Heavenly Army of Riders on white horses. Their leader is the one whom is called "Faithful and True".
The rider from the first seal also sits atop a white horse, and like the Heavenly Army, sets forth to conquer. It is the ordinary description of this rider that must certainly set him apart from those in chapter nineteen. Therefore, the first seal can be understood as denoting apostasy. Through the supposed attire of sanctity, this rider effects his deception.
There can be no mistaking the role of the second seal's red horse. Clearly, the color of blood indicates war. However,this rider is not to be thought of as leading an attacking force. His power lies in the ability to have men slay one another.
The black horseman carrying the pair of balances in the third seal points to the inequity between the wealthy and the impover-
ished. The trade that this horse carries on is extremely one-sided. A measure of wheat was a day's ration and a denarius was a coin equivalent to a day's wage. This imbalance represents extreme poverty; consequently, the usual fare for the poor was barley,costing a third that of wheat. This rider cannot harm the oil or the wine, indicating that the pay scale does not result from failed crops. The inference is clear: where poverty exists, wealth usually resides nearby.
The pale horse of the fourth seal has hades in tow. This rider represents the spiritual death induced through the travels of the first three riders. This rider is given authority over a fourth part of the earth. He is also given a variety of means to inflict spiritual harm on mankind. A final note regarding the first four seals: Apocalypse is a Greek word meaning uncovering or revelation. When one considers the uneasiness the mention of the four riders excites, perhaps then, the rider's power from the first seal can be felt.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh seals mirror Jesus Christ's prophecy describing the great tribulation, the signs that presage His return, and His return. Christ's prophecy can be found in the synoptic gospels (Matthew Ch. 24, Mark Ch. 13, Luke Ch. 21).
The fifth seal is concerned with the great tribulation. From Christ, we have learned that it commenced after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This tribulation was to end just prior to the signs on the earth and in the sky of the sixth seal. As we shall see, these signs began to appear in 1755. Although the papal tyranny extended until 1798, the actual religious persecution had almost totally ceased, due to the Reformation's influence, by the mid-eighteenth century. Therefore, the forty-two months of religious persecution and the great tribulation must refer to the same event.Finally, Revelation (Ch. 7: 13-17) explains the significance of the white robes mentioned in the fifth seal.
Between November 1, 1755 and November 13, 1833, the prophecies of the sixth seal were fulfilled. It was the Lisbon earthquake that heralded the onset of these signs. This earthquake is one of the most severe on record when its' extent is considered. An area of four million square miles was severely affected. The sixth seal prophesies that a great earthquake will occur just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. As we shall see, the Lisbon earthquake certainly fits this description.
The next sign to appear was the blackening of the sun. This event transpired on May 19, 1780. It seems to have affected all of America's New England States. About ten or eleven A.M. clouds obscured the sky and the day returned to the darkness of night. This situation continued in spots until nightfall. The night that followed fulfilled the third sign that was to occur. This was a night of a full moon and whenever it appeared through the clouds, it had the appearance of blood.
The final harbinger of Christ's return arrived on November 13, 1833 with a spectacular meteor shower. This event arrived without advance publicity from the scientific community as the true nature of meteors was not known. The interest aroused from this spectacle, however, led the way to the birth of meteor astronomy. Present day knowledge informs us that this particular shower is an annual event with peak periods every thirty-three years. It is caused by the comet Temple-Tuttle. In fact, on November 17, 1966, this same leonid meteor storm streaked the heavens with rates ranging over one hundred thousand meteors an hour, making this later storm more spectacular than that of 1833. The storm of 1833 must stand, none the less, as the final sign prior to the second coming. Firstly, the storm of 1833 is associated closely in time with the other signs. Secondly, and more importantly, is the fact that it transpired just prior to Daniel's prophesied return of Jesus Christ in 1844 (Dan.Ch.8).
The seventh seal is a period of silence in Heaven, a device which is employed to indicate the calm before the gathering storm of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
-The Second Coming-
Daniel (Ch. 8: 1-14) relates a vision closing with the assertion that the sanctuary will be cleansed after a period of twenty three
hundred days or, in prophetic terms, twenty three hundred years. The remainder of chapter eight is concerned with the angel Gabriel's attempt to make Daniel understand the vision. In this the angel is unsuccessful and Daniel faints and is sick for many days. It is not until chapter nine that Daniel, during prayer, receives the remainder of the interpretation from Gabriel. Daniel has failed to understand the starting date for the twenty three hundred days, so the angel dwells on this point. Gabriel states that there will be sixty nine weeks from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah. This prophecy found fulfillment in the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. (Ezra Ch. 7) and the arrival of Jesus Christ sixty nine weeks or four hundred and eighty three years later in 27 A.D. Because the angel's mission is to make Daniel understand the starting date for the twenty three hundred days, it can reasonably be assessed that the sixty nine week period and the twenty three hundred days begin at the same time. This conclusion is based on the fact that the decree of Artaxerxes is the only date mentioned in chapter nine. A calculation provides us with the year 1844 A.D., at which time the sanctuary is to be cleansed.
At this point it is beneficial for the reader to have an understanding of the sanctuary. The sanctuary, in its' original form, is described in Exodus (Ch. 25-27). This unit was portable until it was rebuilt on a larger scale after the Hebrews settled in Canaan. This was Solomon's temple which was in ruins at the time of Daniel and then again destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Another sanctuary is mentioned in the New Testament Book of Hebrews (Ch. 8-9). Here the Apostle Paul teaches us that this, the second sanctuary, is not of earthly origin.
Finally then, we are led to a conclusion. The Holy Bible states that there will be signs in the earth and the sky and then will come the great and terrible day of the Lord. If the signs appear and the Lord does not, we cannot accept Jesus Christ as the Saviour of mankind. Clearly, Jesus Christ was not reincarnated, but the last one hundred and fifty years have indicated something dreadful and unprecedented is transpiring. One need only witness the malignance of schizophrenia which has crushed the lives of tens of millions of people, and entering the nineteen nineties still governs with great potency. A study of the prophecies concerning Christ's return will provide one with the distinct impression that the second coming is not a time of celebration, but a time for God to vent His fierce rage (Joel Ch.2, Acts Ch.2, Zephaniah Ch.1, Isaiah Ch.2, Amos Ch.5, Malachi Ch. 3-4).
Christ spoke at length concerning the nature of His return. From Mark (Ch. 13:26-37) we learn that The Son of Man will send forth His angels to gather the elect. This information alone should lead one to suspect that the second coming is of a character other than a physical one. In the same excerpt, Christ admonishes His listeners to be forever prepared, as no man knows the day or the hour, only the Father. From this knowledge, one can conclude that the year 1844 was chosen to signal the onset of the great and terrible day of the Lord, but not its' conclusion.
The gospel of Matthew contains a rather complete dissertation from Christ respecting His return (Matthew Ch.24:36-25:46). He teaches that His return will be characterized by a situation where one man will be taken and another left, although they stand side by side. It is clear that the meaning of one being taken relates to a dramatic alteration of one's mental condition. The fact that Jesus Christ did not return in the flesh supports this statement. If Christ and His angels arrive as a spiritual force, then individuals must be affected on a spiritual level.
Christ continues the discourse with a parable warning His followers not to be content in the misconception that the Lord tarrieth. In 1844, the attention of the world was focused on the prophesied second coming. The expected reincarnation did not occur, satisfying many that the terrible day of the Lord was far in the future. This remains a common error; it inflicts the bearer with the perception that all is well and a last minute reversal will suffice to repair the damage of a lifetime's iniquity. Clearly, Jesus was using this parable to dispel these thoughts.
The parable of the ten virgins is utilized to elaborate on the previous point. Here we learn that five bring oil for their lamps, and five do not. When the awaited event arrives, five of the virgins are unprepared and must leave to seek fuel. Upon their return, they find the door is locked.
These parables form a solid picture as to the nature of Christ's return. Although seeming to tarry, Christ and the angels have been dealing with individuals for about the last one hundred and fifty years. The remainder of chapter twenty five deals with the judgement of mankind. Through an understanding of Christ's speech, one can understand that His return is but an earthly prelude to the complete work which will be carried out at the gates of Heaven.
-The First Woe-
The first woe concerns a star, fallen from Heaven to earth, that opens the pit of the abyss. The miasma emanating from the unlocked abyss is allowed to hurt men for five months, but it cannot harm the green grass. As previously noted, the five month duration represents a period of one hundred and fifty years. The reference to the green grass indicates this woe is of a spiritual nature.
In the year 1809, two books were published, apparently independently, that gave the first certain look at what has generally come to be known as schizophrenia. This previously undiagnosed malady has sky rocketed numerically to the present day. United States of America census figures indicate there was a three fold increase in the rates of schizophrenia between 1840 and 1880. The same census figures indicate that the rates stabilized around the start of the twentieth century. In the U.S.A., the year 1840 saw 2,561 cases diagnosed. By 1880, there were 38,047 cases, and by 1904 there were 150,151. Currently, one percent of the population can expect to suffer through a bout of schizophrenia. This one percent value is not consistent over the entire earth. Certain pockets have extremely high rates, notably Ireland. Extremely low rates can be found in some developing countries.
Schizophrenia attacks males and females in equal numbers. More importantly is that the sufferers are generally adolescents and young adults in their early twenties: a stage of life fraught with uncertainty. This disease mainly attacks individuals who are at least average in intelligence: a fact which goes a long way to explaining the strong statistical correlation among family members. The trouble manifests itself through several avenues. Mainly these are : delusions, hallucinations, disjointed conversation, lack of expressed emotion, prolonged immobility, and jerky movements.
The word schizophrenia comes from the Greek language. Schizo means split and phrenia means mind. This misnomer contributes to the widely held perception that a schizophrenic suffers from a split personality. In fact, a split personality is an extremely rare occurrence. Modern medicine does not know the cause of this illness that irrupted during the social ferment of the early nineteenth century. It is, however, considered to be incurable.
Revelation's description of the first woe will give one the clearest possible understanding of schizophrenia, short of actual experience. Neither a detailed discussion nor a raft of case studies will lead an observer to an intimate understanding of this woe; for this is a journey far out of view from the ordinary path of mankind.
It is the coincidence in time and in nature which leads one to the conclusion that the first woe and the great and terrible day of the Lord are the same event. As noted, the return of Jesus Christ and His angels was to begin in 1844 and be of a spiritual nature. This agrees with the occurrences of the last one hundred and fifty years. An acceptance of this assessment will take us to the termination date for the first woe: the year 1994. Like the year 1844, it will pass without a heavenly manifestation, but it will mark a turning point that shall see the lessening of this malady. The circumstances that will effect a positive result relate to an up to date appreciation of the Holy Bible's teachings. It is not for mankind to study ways for better treatment of this malady. It is for mankind to be concerned with solving the environmental woes that affect us all.
-United States of America-
Immediately following the description of the beast with the ten horns and seven heads, we are introduced to a second beast (Rev. Ch.13). An examination of this passage will illustrate that the United States of America is inextricably tied to this prophecy. Additionally, this excerpt casts the country as a major character on apostasy's crowded soapbox. This apostate condition is prophesied to continue until shortly before the utter desolation of the papacy.
A lamblike figure is employed to indicate the peaceful qualities that were the cornerstones of this republic. The lamb's two horns refer to the falling away from the original ideals. The second beast is observed worshiping the first beast whose death stroke was healed. The death stroke refers to the removal of Pius VI in the year 1798 A.D. The only country rising peacefully to prominence around 1798 was the United States of America.
Revelation (Ch. 13:13) is concerned with the American's strategic defense initiative. On June 17, 1985, the space shuttle Discovery was launched on a mission that included an s.d.i. experiment. A transmitter on the island of Maui was set up to direct a low intensity blue laser at the orbiting shuttle. The beam was reflected back to earth by an eight inch diameter mirror mounted behind Discovery's mid-deck side hatch window. This successful experiment startlingly fulfilled a Biblical prophecy.
Revelation (Ch. 13:14-15) deals with the image constructed for the benefit of the first beast. The papacy has sanctified Sunday, the first day of the week, over the sabbath or Saturday which is the seventh day. God has sanctified Saturday ( Gen. Ch. 2) and there is no scriptural basis for any alteration. The image to the beast, then, is the practice of Sunday observance in the United States of America. On May 19, 1961, the supreme court ruled by a majority vote that Sunday laws are civil. This decree comes from a country whose constitution promises freedom of religious expression. Apparently, one is free to conduct their business elsewhere on Sunday in the U.S.A. because the Roman catholic church has deemed it proper.
Revelation (Ch. 13:16-17) concerns the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast pertains to the U.S.A. specifically, but generally to the deification of political ideologies. In addition to the American constitution of 1776 and that of France in 1789, the European continent of the 1800's was rife with social reform. These countries were expressing ideals that superseded papal infallibility and the divine right of kings. It was this ferment which induced many to worship the god of democracy as the final resolution of man's difficulties. Communism was also born out of this upheaval and the same worship was afforded it.
Obviously, however, mankind's predicament is now more perilous than at any time in recorded history. The mark of the beast in the forehead, then, can be understood as the placement of a political ideology in one's mind ahead of the true God. The corresponding mark in the right hand concerns a person's actions. The individual believes he worships no man-made god, but his actions are indistinguishable from one who has deified a political ideology. Both are tainted with the mark on their spiritual being, and both are guilty of transgressing God's great commandment as spoken of by Jesus Christ (Matt. Ch.22:34-40).
Finally, there is the matter regarding the number of the beast: six hundred and sixty six. This ballyhooed number refers to a person who has the mark of the beast in his forehead or in his right hand, and it denotes extreme imperfection. The number seven is the number of the Holy Bible, and the repeating sixes are used to indicate one who is consistently falling short of the ideal. This person may have a Christ-like appearance: comical at best, convincing at worst, but in reality, imitative only of the rider on the white horse of the first seal. This then is the indictment: the beast prospers over God's word, momentarily, because its' innards are teeming with the activities of the apostate, and the correct path for mankind is overgrown and ignored beside the love of pomp and empty hallelujahs that are leading the beast on a path toward oblivion.`
-The Seven Trumpets and the Seven Bowls-
The seven trumpets and the seven bowls are concerned with the period beginning around 1800 and terminating with the close of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ and His saints. The first trumpet corresponds to the first bowl and so on through to the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl. Each trumpet contains a plague specifically stated and except for the seventh trumpet which concerns the triumph of God's word and the judgement, a plague which has been specifically fulfilled. The bowls, again with the exception of the seventh, are either explanatory or more general in scope than that of their corresponding trumpet. A side by side analysis of the trumpets and the bowls follows: one through seven.
The first trumpet (Rev. Ch.8:7) concerns the effects of accepting the mark of the beast as is explained in the first bowl (Rev. Ch.16:2). The apostasy of the present era has resulted in widespread violence and gross ecological devastation. While all life on earth is affected by the action, it is the bearer of the mark of the beast who also acquires a grievous sore on his spiritual being.
The second trumpet (Rev. Ch.8:8) employs a rather peculiar description to prophesy about the pollution of the ocean. The picture elicited by the throwing of a great mountain into the sea must be that of nuclear testing. A particularly lurid example can be found with the events at the Bikini atoll between 1946 and1958. This period saw the islands being used as a site for the testing of atomic and thermonuclear bombs. In 1969, the United States of America began a long range plan to repatriate the Bikini population. The second bowl (Rev. Ch.16:3) of God's wrath clearly addresses the vast degradation of the oceans of the earth.
The third trumpet (Rev. Ch,8:10-11) and the third bowl (Rev. Ch.
16:4-7) are concerned with the integrity of the earth's fresh water supply. This trumpet has had a striking fulfillment in the decade of the 1980's with the occurrence at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. The translation for the word Chernobyl to English is wormwood. Early on April 25, 1986, operators of the graphite moderated nuclear reactors at Chernobyl began power reduction on unit four in preparation for a routine maintenance shut down. Mismanagement of the test resulted in a graphite fire that released radioactive materials for ten days and produced a fallout cloud detected world wide.
The fourth trumpet (Rev. Ch.8:12) and the fourth bowl (Rev. Ch.16:8-9) are a continuation of God's tirade concerning the ruin-
ation of His creation. This time, the trumpet and the bowl prophesy about the state of the earth's atmosphere in our day. The trumpet seems to refer to the industrial revolution's invention of smog while the bowl surely refers to the depletion of the ozone layer. The fourth bowl painfully drives home the point that men are lovers of them-
selves and respecters of little else in this age. In an almost unbelievable act of infidelity, mankind is seen cursing God for these troubles in lieu of accepting responsibility.
The fifth trumpet (Rev. Ch.9:1-11) is the first woe and is scheduled to take place roughly from 1844 to 1994. The description of this woe is an addendum to Jesus Christ's parables concerning the coming of the Son of man. This trumpet concerns the individuals who are affected directly on a spiritual level. The fifth bowl prophesies about the much larger number of people who are indirectly affected. These people are the families and friends of the individuals caught in the maelstrom of the first woe. Their response is the same as for the other plagues; they gnaw their tongues, they blaspheme God, and they do not repent of their works. Jesus Christ spoke of this bowl when He stated that upon His return all the tribes of the earth will mourn (Matt. Ch.24:30).
The sixth trumpet (Rev. Ch.9:13-21) and the sixth bowl (Rev. Ch.16:12-16) are likely, but not necessarily, describing the two world wars of the twentieth century. One point for certain is that the second woe cannot take place until the first woe has begun (Rev.Ch.9:12). The sixth bowl mentions the false prophet and the battle of Armageddon. The false prophet is another name for the United States of America (Rev. Ch.19:20). The battle of Armag-
eddon, which took place during the first world war, is noted because biblical lands are involved.
The third woe follows on the heels of the second woe (Rev. Ch.11:14). The seventh trumpet (Rev. Ch.11:15-19) and the seventh bowl (Rev. Ch.16:17-21) provide similar expositions on the matter. This woe commences with the triumph of God's word and terminates with the judgement at the expiration of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ and His saints. A reading of Revelation's chapter twenty will provide one with a solid understanding of this woe. The future will provide us with an understanding of the light-
nings, voices, thunders, great earthquake, and great hail.
The prophecies of the Book of Revelation leave us, to date, with two options. Mankind may yet choose to accept God's teaching and begin the long and difficult task of repairing the environmental damage. Mankind, however, may continue on the path of passive indifference with the result being a devastated planet and a sickly populace. Certainly another major struggle could account for the second woe and obviously the environment can be more fully destroyed. The ecological devastation of the day is a problem that can be solved and this begins with individual restraint. The picture of a motorist turned pedestrian is a statement for each to make. Waiting for others to solve our problems is a sure path to spiritual death. This is promised by Jesus Christ through His parable of the ten virgins. Every day of timid inaction and needless consumption further weighs down an individual on the road to salvation.
Perhaps the reader feels that the environmental concerns are being wildly overstated or perhaps the reader plans on living only a few more years and is therefore unconcerned. I would like to remind the motorist, and the oldster, and the unconcerned that God's judgement is yet future. At this time, God will come ' to destroy them that destroy the earth' (Rev. Ch.11:18).