Sun, Oct 08, 2000

The Great Harlot: Revelation 17

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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IT IS DONE!

REVELATION 16:12-21

Please turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 16, as we continue our study through the book of Revelation. And we are going to focus on this morning the sixth and seventh bowl judgments, the culmination of God’s wrath upon a Christ rejecting world. And as you are turning there, listen to this story by Pat Thomas:

David Marks was one of the most powerful evangelists in early American history. He was born to godly Connecticut parents in 1805, and his awareness of God began early in life. The incident that started him thinking about the Savior was a day when he was watching some flax burn. He had heard of the fires of Hell, and as he watched the flames, he thought how exceedingly dreadful even one moment in Hell would be.

"What would I do if the wrath of God fell on the earth?" he asked himself. After serious thought, he decided that should the day of judgment come, he would descend into the well and hide there. Running to his mother, he shared his plan; but she replied, "Ah, my son, the water will boil and the earth will burn."

He then told her that he would run to a spot he knew in the rocks where he could hide. She said, "But the rocks will melt." He was so overwhelmed with dread that he told her he would just die and escape the wrath of God in the grave. But she replied, "My child, your hope is in vain for the dead will awake and come out of their graves."

Young David went outside and walked through the fields, pondering at length the reality of that coming day and his being unprepared for it. Putting his hand over his heart, he looked toward heaven and said, "God, be merciful to me a sinner."

Pat Thomas, David Marks, p. 3

That is truly God’s desire for us, to turn to Him, to recognize our sin and ask God to cleanse us from it through Jesus Christ. But, as we are going to see this morning, it doesn’t matter how intense God’s judgment is, man still refuses to turn to the only One who could help, and they try to hide themselves or fight against God, and you will never win and neither will they! Keep that in mind this morning as we finish up our study in Revelation chapter 16.

REVELATION 16

VERSES 12-16

The sixth bowl judgment has to do with God drying up the waters of the Euphrates River to allow the kings from the east or the kings from the rising sun to pass through on dry ground. God is preparing for this last great battle, He is preparing the nations of the world who will be involved in this battle.

The Euphrates River is the water boundary between the holy land and Asia to the east. This River runs some 1,800 miles through the middle east and it ranges from 300 to 1200 feet wide with an average depth of 30 feet. Can a dam across this River be the instrument that God uses to dry up this River. That is possible, but once again it does seem to be supernatural, that the mighty hand of God intercedes and dries up these waters. In Isaiah 11:15 we are told, "TheLORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; with His mighty wind He willshake His fist over the River [the Euphrates River], and strike it in the seven streams, andmake men cross over dry-shod."

We also see the demonic forces that are at work and are illustrated for us by being called"unclean spirits like frogs" that precede from the mouth of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. And the purpose of these demonic spirits is to gather these people together, to mount up the troops to try and prevent the Lord’s coming, to try and destroy the Jewish people, and they will gather together in a place called Armageddon. Thus, these demons are nothing more than the mouth piece for this unholy trinity!

In his commentary on the book of Revelation, J. Vernon McGee quotes J. A. Seiss regarding these frogs or unclean spirits that come forth from this false trinity. He said: "They are spirits; they are ‘unclean spirits,’ that are ‘demon spirits,’ they are sent forth into activity by the Dragon Trinity; they are the elect agents to awaken the world to the attempt to abolish God from the earth; and they are frog-like in that they come forth out of the pestiferous quagmires of the universe, do their work amid the world’s evening shadows, and creep, and croak, and fill the ears of the nations with their noisy demonstrations, till they set all the kings and their armies of the whole earth in enthusiastic commotion for the final crushing out of the Lamb and all His powers. As in chapter 9, the seven Spirits of God and of Christ went forth into all the earth to make up and gather together into one holy fellowship the great congregation of the sanctified: so these spirits of Hell go forth upon the kings and potentates of the world, to make up and gather together the grand army of the Devil’s worshipers."

I think he makes his point very clear. Is he a little dramatic? I don’t think so, for these demonic spirits are exactly what J. A. Seiss says. These ugly, diabolical creatures will go forth and pollute the world with their evil!

And we are told that they gather the armies of the world to the Valley of Megiddo which is about 20 miles long and some 14 miles wide. And this area forms what Napoleon called "The most natural battle field of the whole earth." Also, Napoleon, in his disastrous excursion into Egypt, passed through this Valley and said "If there is a place on earth where the last war must be fought, it is here." He is right, and it will take place in this area, just as we are told here in Revelation.

Now the problem with this is the dimensions don’t seem to fit what Revelation 14:18-20 tells us. We read, "And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’ So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundredfurlongs."

This battle will overflow those 20 miles or so that the Valley of Megiddo covers, and it will stretch from Bozrah, in Edom, northward to Megiddo at the foot of Mount Carmel, some 184 miles. It is this area that we will see the blood flow some 4 to 5 feet or splash upon the horses bridle some 4 to 5 feet!

There is a great slaughter that is coming, and in Isaiah 63 we get a description of the wrath of God crushing the rebellion of man like grapes in a winepress. Beginning in verse 1 of Isaiah chapter 63 we read "Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?‘ I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth." Isaiah 63:1-6.

The Valley of Megiddo is located in the plain of Esdraelon, which has been the site of many great battles. It was the place where Gideon and his 300 men defeated the Midianites. It is the place where Samson took on the Philistines. It is the place where Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera. Also, this is the place where Josiah was killed by Pharaoh-Necho, king of Egypt. And there is one more great battle still to come, the final battle!

This place, Armageddon in the Hebrew and Harmageddon in the Greek, can be broken down like this. HAR means mount, and MEGIDDO means rendezvous, so it is the mount of rendezvous where the armies of the world will gather together. It will be a massive army!

In Daniel chapter 11 we are told of the Antichrist moving his forces southward, towards Egypt and North Africa, to put down a rebellion against him. Now just as he is getting a handle on this rebellion in the south, he gets more bad news. This time trouble is coming from the east and the north. These kings from the east or from the rising sun are most likely China and very possibly Japan. Back in 1965 China boasted of having a 200 million man army! Which is interesting to me when you read in the sixth trumpet judgment a army coming together that has 200 million men.

China is preparing for war! Why do I say that? Listen carefully. In China they have a very high abortion rate. They abort baby girls and keep baby boys because the government has limited the number of children you can have. Thus, 85% of the babies born in China are male, almost 9 out of 10 births! They have a massive army that seems to continue to grow!

As this massive army moves westward, it seems to split in two, some coming down from the northern route and the rest coming from the eastern route to enter this Valley, possible because their numbers are so massive. And these kings of the east will meet the forces of the Antichrist in this area. And at one point they stop fighting each other, and they join forces to fight against the Lord and His people.

In Revelation 19, beginning in verse 11, we see the Lord return at the climax of this battle. We read "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it Heshould strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himselftreads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robeand on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Then I sawan angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that flyin the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast wascaptured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which hedeceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest werekilled with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. Andall the birds were filled with their flesh." Revelation 19:11-21.

Also, Jesus likens His coming to that of a thief. That is to say that those living in this world will be totally unaware of what time it is, prophetically speaking. And in the judgment they will refuse to come to Him and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. They will be found naked, not clothed in the righteousness that has been imputed to us by faith in Christ! For those who are waiting and watching, they will not be surprised, they will not be seen as naked, but clothed in the righteousness of Christ!

VERSE 17

The last judgment of God upon a Christ rejecting world is poured out into the air, and that might seem kind of strange. But, when you read Ephesians 2:1-2, it all becomes much clearer who that last judgment is upon. Paul said "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience."

You see, Satan is the prince of the power of the air, and thus, the last judgment falls upon his kingdom. And with this judgment we read "It is done!" When Jesus cried out on the cross of Calvary He said "It is finished!" He was saying that a door had now been open for man to enter into eternal life with God. He is that door!

But now those words we read in Revelation 16:17 bring to us a far different meaning. Now the door of opportunity for man to enter into that relationship with God is closed and all that remains is the sentencing of man for his rebellion. And I guess the question that you must ask yourself is this. "Will you endure the final wrath of God at Megiddo or will you embrace the finished work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary?" The choice is truly yours!

This is the day that we have been waiting for. In Revelation 10:7 we are told "but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets." Then in Revelation 15:1 we are told, "Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having theseven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete." The wrath of God is now over!

VERSES 18-21

We once again see cataclysmic events occurring with this judgment. There will be an earthquake whose magnitude the world has never seen before. Every island will be destroyed, never to be seen again. Mountains will be leveled. Cities destroyed. Great hailstones falling from the sky and weighing some 100 pounds each! Can you imagine that? We saw the damage several weeks ago with hail that was the size of maybe golf balls or smaller. And they did not weigh even one pound! I can’t imagine what this hail will do.

Of this time Isaiah tells us in chapter 24, beginning in verse 19, "The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously." Isaiah 24:19-23.

It is interesting that Isaiah speaks of the earth staggering to and fro like a drunkard. This could be related to a shift in the axis of the earth so that the earth is no longer tilted at 23½ degrees, which would then give you a temperate climate throughout the world, like in the days when the earth was created, with a water canopy filtering out the harmful radiation, and thus, there would be no winds and thus, no storms. A climate which I believe the kingdom age will be like. But, as the axis shifts, there will be cataclysmic events upon the face of the earth so that every island will be removed out of its place and the topography of the earth will be changed as will the topography of Jerusalem change.

In the Old Testament what was the punishment for blaspheme against God? Being stoned to death! Turn to Leviticus chapter 24, and lets begin reading in verse 10. "Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this Israelite woman's son and a man of Israel fought each other in the camp. And the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the name of the LORD and cursed; and so they brought him to Moses. (His mother's name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the LORD might be shown to them. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: "Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death."" Leviticus 24:10-16.

I think God is very clear on that. Now back in Revelation chapter 16, we read in verse 21, "And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedinglygreat." Even in this judgment we see the hardness of man’s heart. How he continues to rebel against God and blasphemed God because of the things that have come upon them. The word "blasphemed,"BLASPHEMEO in the Greek, speaks of "To speak with impious irreverence concerning God Himself...to revile God and divine things." Thus, the judgment that God brings upon those who blaspheme Him comes right out of Leviticus chapter 24, they are going to be stoned to death by 100 pound hail stones!

The question you need to ask yourself is "Where do you stand with Jesus?" Are you standing in your own righteousness, which is like filthy rags? If you are you are reviling God and His plan for your life. You are blaspheming Him. It is your choice. You see, as I have already said, will your endure the final wrath of God or will you embrace the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary? The choice is yours. One leads to death, eternal separation from God in the lake of fire. The other leads to life, eternally present with God!

It is truly hard to imagine peoples hearts being this hard toward the love of God that they would rather die than submit their lives to Him. And it may be easy to mock or put them down for their actions, but where is your heart this morning? And for those of you who are saved, where was your heart prior to your coming to know the Lord? You see, we are all the same, we have the same like passions, and we are all sinners saved by the grace of God, if we allow Him into our life!

As we close Revelation chapter 16 this morning, we are at the end of the tribulation period just prior to the setting up of the kingdom age where Jesus Christ will rule and reign for 1,000 years on the throne of David, and then a new heavens and a new earth will be created. And the kingdom age will be a time of true peace as the Prince of Peace will rule and reign.

Remember I said earlier that this world is going to be far different in the kingdom age. It will be like the garden of Eden. And not only that, but sickness, handicaps, and-so-on, will be done away with in the kingdom age. I want to leave you this morning with the beauty of the kingdom age that emerges from the darkness, the blackness of the tribulation period.

In Isaiah chapter 35, beginning in verse 1 we read "The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossomabundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given toit, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, theexcellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say tothose who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come withvengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of theblind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leaplike a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty landsprings of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass withreeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highwayof Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenousbeast go up on it; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, And theransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 35:1-10.

And lastly, in Isaiah 11:6-9 we are told, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."

What a glorious day that will be as peace permeates the land. But you don’t have to wait for that day, for you can enjoy the peace of God when you make peace with God through Jesus Christ! He is coming back, the Lord Jesus is coming! Are you ready to meet Him?

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