"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. {BUT} This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:16, 19-20, 36; also see John 16:8-11)  "To the degree people disagree with or are uncomfortable with the God revealed in Scripture that is the degree to which they have a shallow view of man's wickedness and God's holiness and a superficial view of reality. God hates all evil because it is contrary to His nature and because it hurts people. If He does not judge all sin then we do not live in a moral universe and God would be mocked." (Ken Boa)  "Marvelous are the judgments of God Who punishes the godless, schools the believers to patience, and mortifies their fleshly desires; purges through suffering the vices of the world; startles many people out of their indolence; destroys the pride of the impious; scorns the cunning of the prudent and brings to naught evil counsel." (John Calvin – Institutes of Christian Religion)

"The real test of how much we believe of prophetic truth is what we're doing to warn men to "flee from the wrath to come." (Matt. 3:7)  To believe the solemn truths of prophecy and then make our way complacently through a world of sin and shame is not merely unfortunate, it is criminal."  (Vance Havner)        

As we return to the chronology of events (chapter 7 is parenthetical) the intensity of God's wrath increases but few repent. "The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."  (Rev. 9:20-21; also see 6:16-17 and 16:11) "Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever." (Gen. 6:3) As a person's heart continues to harden to God's wooing and warnings (as with Pharaoh) their heart seems to harden to a point of resisting God's saving grace to the bitter end. Look at the intensity of God's wrath in the six trumpet judgments in chapters 8 & 9 and yet man's refusal to bow the knee to Christ. (Phil. 2:10-11) Another third of mankind dies plus ¼ in chapter 6; over three billion and more to come.

" 7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
 8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
 10The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water- 11the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
 12The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
 13As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"
 1The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
 7The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. 9They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.
 12The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
 13The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
 17The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
 20The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts." (Rev. 8:7-9:21)

And yet as awful as these judgments are (and more to come in chapter 16) they do not compare to the eternal torment of hell. That is why Jesus spoke more about hell than He did of heaven; because He wanted no one to go there. (Mark 9:42-48)

Commentators differ on whether these judgments are natural (nuclear war) or totally supernatural (demonic hordes, astro catastrophes) and /or a combination of both but many agree that the devastation actually occurs on earth and is not symbolic in that sense. Steve Griffith along with Hal Lindsey, John Walvoord and others, interpret this as modern military warfare, a thermonuclear holocaust, and Steve's questions below reflect this view.

What did you learn from the Scriptures and the message today? 
Do you believe in the justice and necessity of God's wrath including eternal torment? (See Matt. 25:46; 1 Thess.1:5-10)                           
Do you feel you are battle ready? Why or why not? 
What specific battle plan can you put into action using these 4 "spiritual strategies"?  
  1.  Humble yourself even as Jesus did as a Man. (1 Peter 5:5-9; James 4:6-7; Luke 14:11)
  2. PRAY! And PROCLAIM! Versus argue and complain. (Eph. 6:19-20 and Phil. 2:14-16)
  3. "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness." (Matt. 6:33)
  4.  Manifest hope and the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy and peace in the midst of personal and national trials. (1 Peter 3:13-16)
What is your main take away from today's message and table discussion and how can you apply this to your life this week?
  1. Read Rev. 8:2-6 – According to these verses the prayers of the saints play a prominent role in the eventual unleashing of the Trumpet judgments.  How does this encourage your heart and your prayer life?
  2. Read Rev. 8:7 – 9:21   In the first four Trumpet judgments and the sixth Trumpet judgment, what numeric fraction is prominent in each of these judgments?
  3. According to Rev. 9:15 and 9:18, what is the death toll from "the fire and the smoke and the brimstone" of the sixth Trumpet?
  4. Given the sophisticated weaponry of the twenty-first century, what weapon could the "fire and smoke and brimstone" indeed picture?  Why?
  5. In Rev. 8:7 a third of the earth, trees, and green grass are said to be burned up.  Would this be possible in your view if an all-out Sino-Western or Sino-Russo-Western nuclear exchange involving 2,000 – 3,000 thermonuclear warheads took place?  How so?
  6. Forty percent of the earth's ships are in seaport at any given time.  Because military planners always target their enemy's (or enemies') seaports, do you see how easy it would be for a thermonuclear exchange to destroy one-third of the earth's ships?  Do you see how two or three hundred thermonuclear explosions targeting the submarines and surface ships of the combatants could easily set off an underwater chain reaction-coupled with radiation falling into the earth's oceans-that would kill a third of the ocean's sea creatures?
  7. Rev. 8:10-11 gives a picture of a third of the earth's fresh water supply becoming contaminated by something coming "from heaven, burning like a torch."  Given your understanding of (1) hydrogen bomb radioactivity and mushroom clouds and (2) upper atmospheric winds, would it be possible, in your view, for one-third of the earth's fresh water supply to become contaminated by the radioactive fallout from 2,000 – 3,000 thermonuclear explosions?
  8. If indeed a catastrophic global nuclear exchange takes place during the Tribulation, what atmospheric phenomenon would the person in the path of such an exchange, yet surviving it, see in the sky which could cause the appearance that "a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars" were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and that day might not appear for a third of it?


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