THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES
"And the third angel poured out his bowl
upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which
art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they
have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them
blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of
the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy
judgments" (Rev. 16:4-7).
When the third angel pours out
the third golden bowl of Godís passion, the third plague causes the rivers,
streams, and springs to become blood also. No one drinks sea water, so
the sea is turned to blood that men might understand that everything of the
flesh realm is full of death and corruption. But here it is the
fresh water, all the sources of water for drinking and for
washing are turned to blood. And God gives it to religious people
This is reminiscent of the
first plague that God miraculously brought upon the Egyptians through the
hand of Moses ó the turning of the Nile River to blood. One historian
gives us the following background. God had expressly told Moses that
he was to meet Pharaoh in the morning when Pharaoh went to the river.
We donít know the precise reason that motivated the Pharaoh to visit the
Nile each morning, but based on other evidence it could have been to bathe,
to offer his devotions to the Nile which he esteemed as a god, or to see if
the river was beginning to rise to signal the beginning of the flood season.
The Nile has been described as the "bloodstream of the god Osiris" and was
certainly esteemed as the source of life for all Egypt. Therefore, for
Yahweh to contaminate the very water which was so precious to all life in
Egypt was certainly an embarrassment to the gods of the Nile and the gods of
life in general. There can be no doubt that this plague gained the
special, undivided attention of Pharaoh! Not only was the lifeblood
of his people polluted, but also he and his servants were forced to see the
contamination occur firsthand right while he was actually worshipping and
giving devotion to the river!
The results of the plague were
devastating, for all the water that was in the river was turned to blood.
Because of this, the fish died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not
drink the water, and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt (Ex.
7:31). Even the water that was in their stone and wood pots had turned
to blood! The plague lasted for seven days. This plague was an
affront to the Egyptian gods Osiris, Sothis, Isis, Khnum, and Hapi.
Osiris was one of the most prominent and important gods in Egypt. He
was not only the god of the dead (represented as a mummified king) but also
the god of the Nile, whose death and resurrection explained the annual rise
and fall of the river. We wonít take time to go into it here, but the
various roles of the Nile gods clearly reveal that the Egyptians deified the
Nile River and magnified its waters as the source of all life. Yet,
with the simple extension of Aaronís rod over the Nile, the life source of
all Egypt was supernaturally contaminated! The Egyptian gods could do
nothing to bring pure water to the people, and certainly Khnum, the guardian
of the Nile, failed the people by allowing the water to become blood!
Here in the spiritual visions
of John on Patmos it is not the literal springs and rivers that flow through
earthís mountains, plains, and valleys, of course, but the symbolical rivers
of manís human life and manís fallible word rather than
Godís divine life and heavenís living word! How many times
throughout the scriptures the life of God is spoken of as a flowing stream
of water! "How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore
the children of menÖshall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy
house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.
For with Thee is the fountain of life" (Ps. 36:7-9). The
Lord Jesus tells us that the water that He gives will become
within us a fountain of living water, springing up unto
eternal life (Jn. 4:14). He says again that whosoever is thirsty may
come to Him and drink, and whoever believes into Him will have rivers
of living water flowing from within him (Jn. 7:37-38). All
these words relate to one thing ó that God Himself has flowed out
and is still flowing out on this earth into humanity AS
LIFE! Just as the Spirit of God and the Word of God make up the
wonderful "River of Life" in the closing chapters of the Revelation, and
flow out from the throne of God bringing life to all, so the "spirit of the
world" and the "word of man" comprise the carnal "rivers" and "waters" of
the earth-realm which flow out of the carnal minds and hearts of natural
men. This plague falls upon the soulical rivers and the human
well-springs of imaginations, carnal knowledge, and worldly wisdom
that flow within our earthly, natural, human life and experience.
"Rivers," on the one hand,
suggest the flow of these ideas and beliefs as they are
taught, published, propagated, and assimilated into the minds, hearts, and
behavior of mankind. The "fountains of waters," on the other hand,
represent the sources of the ideas, concepts, philosophies,
teachings, precepts, creeds, doctrines, traditions, ideologies, customs,
laws ó all the intellectual, moral, political, cultural, scientific,
educational, and religious influences of this world which are the
sources from which men draw their life, their natural joy and refreshment,
their mind-sets, their image of themselves, their understanding of the
world, their vocations, lifestyles, hopes, dreams, ambitions, and
relationships. Collectively, these waters flow through school and college
classrooms, seminars, television programs, books, court rooms, political
propaganda, church pulpits, cultural traditions, and a hundred other places.
Different belief systems moving in intellectual, moral, legal, business,
and religious channels constitute the outflowing of these "waters" as
"rivers." Individually, these rivers and springs are the very thought
patterns that run through the minds of men that have become polluted through
worldly and false teachings. If ever a dealing of God was needed, it
The earthly-minded people of
the bestial world system prefer to look to the "waters" that flow from
worldly political, commercial, educational, and religious institutions.
They look to these sources for life, contentment, and fulfillment,
particularly to the religious systems with their impressive ceremonies,
elegant pageantry, time-honored traditions, and static creeds and doctrines.
They are like the apostate Israelites who preferred to drink from the Nile
River along which Egypt flourished and the Euphrates River along which
Babylon flourished. They "rejected the waters of Shiloah which flow
gently," which waters correspond with the "riverÖ the streams whereof make
glad the city of our God, the tabernacle of the Most High."
Where there are rivers there
is a flow of life with vegetation, crops, food, birds, and animals of many
kinds. Religion is a flow of life in the soulish dimension of man.
There was a time in our life when it was a blessing to us to live in that
realm, it was a lamp unto our feet, and important to us in our progress from
the Egypt of the world to our promised land of the fullness of Christ.
We received a certain level of life from that realm! We were
encouraged, strengthened, and edified through the preaching, teaching,
singing, clapping, worship, sacraments, activities, ceremonies, traditions,
programs, etc. But as we follow on to know the Lord there comes a time
when the Father shines a greater light upon our pathway and
soon we find that all the streams and fountains which once gave us life, are
turned to death for us! Once they were water to us, but now they
are ó blood!
Even a child can understand
that the River of Life is not a literal river of natural water which, if a
man steps into it, or drinks of it, will magically confer upon him physical
immortality. Just as the river of God is spiritual, so in the
Revelation the rivers of earth are soulical. The river of God
is the spirit of the word, the rivers of earth are the letter
of the word. The river of God is essence, the rivers of earth
are form. The river of God is living reality, the rivers
of earth are lifeless shadows and deceptive illusions.
The river of God is truth and life, the rivers of earth are cold,
dead facts, containing no quickening life or power!
And now may I exhort you to flee from those things which are true
but not Truth, as surely and swiftly as you would flee your home if you
discovered it to be a den of rattlesnakes!
We have a whole crop of
doom-casters in the land today who spend their time and energy in nothing
else but informing the Lordís people of all the negative situations which
are going to overtake our nation and the world! Many of the
Lordís precious people are being fed a steady diet of messages, articles,
books, and CDs about world conditions, politics, the situation in the Middle
East, oil crisis, economic collapse, one world government, conspiracies of
the Illuminati, Counsel on Foreign Relations, World Trade Organization,
World Bank, European Union, Beast Government, the Antichrist, mark of the
beast, cashless society, strikes, riots, war, terrorism, great tribulation,
"safe areas," food storage, living off the land, planetary conjunctions,
tsunamis, erratic weather conditions, global warming, wickedness,
catastrophes, end of the world, and a whole catalog of other fearful and
frightening events which they imagine fulfill the prophecies of the book of
Revelation, some of which will undoubtedly happen, just as they have
happened historically through the ages, but most of which I tell you now are
nothing more than wild and sensational speculations conceived in the
darkness of the carnal minds of men who masquerade as end-time teachers and
prophets of God, bewitching the saints. The natural mind, my beloved,
is certainly one of the well-springs and sources of the earthly "fountains
of waters" from whence flow the "rivers" of carnal ideas, concepts,
teachings, prognostications, and imaginations of which the "inhabitants of
the earth" drink and find a certain level of excitement, exhilaration,
refreshment, and fulfillment!
Let every child of God who has
had birthed within his bosom the beautiful hope of sonship turn the
searchlight of sincerity and truth upon his pure heart and answer these very
Do any of the afore-mentioned
things minister LIFE?
Does the study of them cause
you to be more FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT?
Do they enable you to put on
the MIND OF CHRIST?
Do they work DELIVERANCE and
OVERCOMING POWER in your life?
Do they inspire you with
ever-increasing FAITH by which you shall conquer every enemy and lay hold
upon life and immortality?
Do they flood your life with
PEACE and JOYFUL EXPECTATION in Christ?
Do they TRANSFORM YOU INTO THE
IMAGE OF THE FIRSTBORN SON OF GOD?
Do they imbue you with
SPIRITUAL WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING, and with righteousness, peace, and joy
in the Holy Ghost?
Are they QUICKENING,
LIFE-GIVING TRUTH, or are they, one and all, merely things that are
true, or, perhaps, may be true, or may not even be true at
I have no hesitation in
telling you that all these streams of teaching are naught but
carnal rivers flowing through the earth-realm! Some will be
dismayed by the statement I am about to make, but quite frankly, I care not
one whit who anyone thinks the Antichrist is, or when the Great Tribulation
will begin, or how long it will last, or what technological or economic
development may bring the mark of the beast, or what the Illuminati or the
New World Order conspire to do, or what significance the latest recession,
assassination, governmental collapse, earthquake, tsunami, or terrorist
attack has in the light of Bible prophecy, or any other event that menís
hearts are failing them for fear in looking after. That may all be
interesting information, but it is for the "earth-dwellers" to concern
themselves with. I have no time for such trivialities and even less
interest. None of this is of any significance in the kingdom in which
I now live, none of it flows in the waters from which I now drink, and holds
nothing for me anymore. It all seems quite childish, speculative, and
boring. I have higher matters to attend to and greater and more
enduring things to pursue in the kingdom of my Father! I am no longer
a citizen of this world, for I have been translated out of the
kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, and am seated with Him
in the higher than all heavens, far above all principality and power and
might and dominion, praise His wonderful name! Iíve been "raptured,"
and it had linenothing to do with pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib, as manís
river disseminates it. And to one and all I say, "COME UP HITHER!"
There is a river flowing here that makes glad the city of our God!
Now, while it is abundantly
clear that there is no spiritual life in any of the springs, streams,
and rivers of man, they seem to be life to those who drink from them, for
they are refreshed and strengthened in their carnal life by this "water."
By the symbolical changing of all this "water" into "blood," men are brought
face to face with the fact that there is no true life in it and that,
in very fact, it is naught but death. It is made death unto
them! It bespeaks the revelation of the complete corruption of all the
sources of natural human wisdom, knowledge, and understanding from which men
draw in all the various departments of life.
"And I heard the angel of the
waters say, Thou art righteous, O LordÖbecause Thou hast judged thus.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given
them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of
the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy
judgments" (Rev. 16:5-7).
This is the only place in the
Revelation where the altar is said to speak, though we have heard
before of a voice from the horns of the altar (Rev. 9:13). In
Revelation 8:5 we find the altar connected with the prayers of the saints,
and as a result of their prayers fire is taken from off the altar and cast
into the earth. The fire is a symbol of purging and purification, and
the voice from the horns of the altar comes also as a result of the prayers
of Godís elect and releases a mighty deliverance in the lives of Godís
called and chosen remnant. Here in our text the altar is emphasizing
that Godís judgments in the midst of His people are true and
righteous, that is, they are just and purposeful. The message is
just this ó God is doing what He has to do in order to correct what is wrong
in His people, and what He does is just and redemptive, bringing deliverance
Another strange statement is
that because they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, God is giving
them blood to drink: for they are worthy. That last phrase
simply means "for they deserve it!" We donít like to
think of God giving people what they deserve, but in this case that is
exactly what He is doing. Shed blood signifies death. That is
what they deserve to drink, death to themselves. The reference is to
the fact that the church systems have slain, both figuratively and
literally, the righteous men and prophets sent to speak the words of God to
them through the ages. Thousands have been the martyrs slain by the
church systems in ages past and even in recent times! They chose to
drink from the human sources of this old world. Thus they wickedly
rejected the living streams of water flowing out from Godís
chosen vessels! So now He is causing them to drink a full dose of the
death they have chosen! Let them drink blood! Oh, yes!
They deserve it! It is not vindictiveness ó it is correction!
The Spirit is revealing to them the awful depths of the death that
flows in the streams of man! And it is for their good, for their
deliverance, and ultimate perfection!
Commenting on this passage Ray
Prinzing wrote: "Truly we can bear witness, ĎHe is the Rock, His work is
perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity,
just and right is Heí (Deut. 32:4). Moffatís translation reads: ĎSteadfast
ó He rules aright, HIS METHODS ARE IN DUE ORDER, a God trusty and wholly
true, upright and honest.í While Ferrar Fenton adds the thought,
ĎALL HIS LINES ARE STRAIGHT.í
"What a declaration! His
work is perfect, all His lines are straight. His methods are in
due order, all that He does is RIGHT! Therefore it rightly follows, ĎAll
His ways are judgment.í Everything He does is to bring about a
restoration and setting right that which has been perverted, distorted,
defiled, etc. HE IS OUR GOD OF SALVATION! Were He to draw a line
in your life, it would be a straight line ó and that means you would be
brought into alignment with that uprightness. ĎI will cause them to
walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not
stumble: for I am a Father to Israelí (Jer. 31:9). All of His
methods, His workings, are in proper order, proper time, perfect sequence,
as He steadily draws you to Himself.
"So long has Christendom
programmed their doctrines with a negative view, that to read of the pouring
out of the plagues brings a shudder, a fear, for all they see is calamity
and distress, while actually God has promised the opposite. Full well
He knows the propensity of humanity to do evil. He knows of the
self-will and rebellion, that we have Ďturned every one to his own way.í
But He also has promised, ĎI will bring the blind by a way that
they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will
make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These
things will I do unto them, and not forsake themí" ó end
THE FOURTH BOWL
"And the fourth angel
poured out his bowl upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch
men with fire. And men were scorched with the great heat, and
blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plaguesÖ" (Rev.
Under the fourth trumpet,
one-third of the sun, moon, and stars were stricken with darkness, so that
one-third part was dark. But here, under the fourth bowl, or plague,
the thing John saw was an angel pouring the contents of his bowl on the sun,
as a result of which the heat of the sun is increased to such an extent that
men are actually scorched by it, burned, suffocated with solar heat, and in
misery and torment are provoked to blaspheme. Yet in their cursing
they are forced to acknowledge that the Almighty is in control! He has
"power of these plagues." Truly, this is all the work of God by His
Spirit! They know in their hearts that it is God, but the flesh
doesnít like it and grows angry!
The plague is called "great
heat." Men fret and groan under heat from the sun when it is 90 to 115
degrees, but the picture painted here is of heat much more severe than
anything we have experienced! In the symbols of the vision the words
"sun," "heat," and "scorched," are used literally; but in applying the
symbols to the work of God they must be used figuratively and spiritually.
The fourth plague compounds the severity of judgment upon the natural man.
Sick with ulcers, the stench of death in their nostrils, parched with
thirst, the "earth-dwellers" find to their dismay that they are not yet at
the end of Godís dealings!
This is the fourth angel to
pour out his bowl, and it is significant to note what happened on the FOURTH
CREATIVE DAY as God arranged the cosmos in that long-ago beginning. "And
God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to
divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for
seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be
for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth:
and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to
rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made
the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to
give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and the night"
The truth of the great lights
in the heavens includes many wonderful examples of that which is taking
place in the realm of the spirit. The sun, moon, and stars of the
heavens exist in a realm where God is absolute Sovereign and Lord, far above
the sin, confusion, sorrow, strife, pain, and death of earth.
Therefore, in their highest meaning, in their spiritual meaning, the sun,
moon, and stars are used to represent HEAVENLY, SPIRITUAL RULE AND DOMINION.
The prophet said, "The heavens do rule." That is the great
truth revealed when at the moment of creation the almighty Creator
proclaimed of the lights of the heavenly realm, "Let them be for light
upon the earthÖthe greater light to rule the day, and the lesser
light to rule the night." The primary thought is that of
rulership and dominion!
The God of heaven rules over
all, and can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold the
wondrous truth that Godís elect sons are destined, with their
sovereign and glorious Father, to become the CONSTELLATIONS OF THE
SPIRITUAL HEAVENS, THE LUMINARIES AND RULERS IN GODíS SKY! As the
glory of the Lord arises upon His chosen ones they pierce the gloom of
earthís dark night of sin and sorrow and bring deliverance, life, and order
out of the chaos of manís failure and despair. "And they that be
wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that
turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan.
12:3). Can we not see by this that those who rule and reign with
Christ in His kingdom are indeed THE SUN, MOON, AND STARS IN THE HEAVENS OF
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD!
The sun in prophecy is
the most exalted ruler in any order. We find that God, the supreme
Ruler, is called in the scripture a "sun." "For the Lord thy God is
a sun and a shield" (Ps. 84:11). Also, our elder
brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, is
called "the sun of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2).
Furthermore, we find in reference to men, "He that ruleth over
menÖshall be as the light of the morning, when the sun ariseth"
(II Sam. 23:3-4). David the king was called "the light of
Israel" (II Sam. 21:17). This same meaning is found in II Kings
8:19 where we read, "Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for
David His servantís sake, as He promised him to give him always a
light." This is exactly the same promise we find in Jeremiah
33:17 where the Lord says, "David shall never want a man to sit upon
the throne of the house of Israel." Our Father has told us, "heaven
is my throne, and earth is my footstool" (Isa. 66:1). Heaven is
His throne, or may we say, His throne is heaven! "Heaven" bespeaks
rulership and dominion, the "lights" of the heavens are the individual
rulers who occupy the heavenly thrones of authority and power! The
"earth" is that which is "ruled" by the heavens ó that which looks to the
sun, moon, and stars for its direction.
The divine pattern in all
these things becomes clear once we understand the great truth that there are
revealed in the wonderful book of Revelation two heavens and
two earths! The blessed Seer of Patmos beheld these in
rapt vision and recorded what he saw in these inspired words, "And I saw
a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and
the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea"
(Rev. 21:1). There is an old heaven and there is a new heaven!
There is an old earth and there is a new earth! The old heaven and
earth pass away, but we look for new heavens and a new earth wherein
dwelleth righteousness (II Pet. 3:13). It should be clear to any
thinking mind that the old heaven with its sun, moon, and stars, is not our
natural solar system or the star-studded universe we behold in the night
sky. That is not the old heaven John is writing about! Rather,
it is the old order that men have lived under, the old world of human
consciousness, worldly society, and man-made religion with all its
luminaries ó the "lights" or personalities and institutions that govern,
control, dictate, constrain, inspire, and direct menís thinking,
understanding, ways, will, desires, ambitions, and conduct in the world
These two heavens ó the old
heavens of manís order, and the new heavens of Godís rule by the Spirit, are
both presented throughout the book of Revelation and we must be keen in
discernment to understand which is in view in any scene. Let me put it
this way. One way to recognize whether it is the old heaven or the new
heaven is to observe the action taking place. The heavens that are
being darkened, smitten, falling, rolled together as a scroll, and passing
away with a great noise certainly are not the new heavens, for
only the old heavens pass away and the new are established in
righteousness and glory and power forevermore! It is the heavens of
Godís kingdom where sons reign upon the throne and from whence the seven
spirits of God are sent forth into all the earth! It is the new
heavens of the Spirit of the Lord from which the holy city, New Jerusalem,
descends (Rev. 21:2). It only stands to reason the new
Jerusalem would descend from the new heavens! So those who are
looking up into the sky to see the New Jerusalem coming down are certainly
wasting their time and energy! It is out of the new heavens of God
that a great voice is heard saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is
with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and
God Himself shall be with them, and be their God" (Rev. 21:3). And
these men are not the old men of the old earth, but the new creation men of
the new earth! All through the book of Revelation grand and glorious
things take place in, and out from, the heavens of Godís Spirit! The
seven angels that blow the seven trumpets sound forth their messages out of
the heavens of God! And the seven angels having the seven last plagues
likewise come out of the temple of God in the heavens of the Lord. Can
we not see by this that the "sun" upon which is poured out the "plague"
cannot be the sun of the heavens where we dwell ó it can only
be the sun of that old heaven that is destined to pass away!
There is an application of
this reality both corporately and individually, for what happens in a
collective way with all the people of God also takes place in an individual
way in each of our lives. If you would understand the scope and
magnificence of the mighty working of God in your life, my beloved, consider
the message of the radiant constellations of the illimitable heavens above
and know that all the power and glory and wisdom and working so marvelously
illustrated in their shining configurations is in fact and in truth wrought
out in the deepest recesses of your own being. If you will give
prayerful consideration to the statement of our Lord that the kingdom of the
heavens is within you, you cannot avoid the conclusion that man is a copy in
miniature of the universe, and every thing that exists or takes place in the
vast expanses of the cosmos, also exists and takes place in the inner
constitution of man. The powers and forces and laws that make up the
nature and constitution of man are the same as the powers and forces
and laws that on an infinitely larger scale are called the universe, and
every reality in the outer heavens expresses itself in the consciousness
of man, and reflects itself in the experience of man, enabling man to know
the universe by himself, and himself by the universe.
Scientists are probing two
unseen worlds. One is a world too vast and far away to be seen by the
eye, and the other is a world too small to be observed by the eye.
I want to give you three words in this connection, together with their
meanings. First, we find the word MICROCOSM. This word means a
little world; anything regarded as a world in miniature; man, viewed
as an epitome of the universe. This word comes from two words in the
Greek language. One is MIKROS which means little or miniature.
The other is KOSMOS meaning world, in the sense of an orderly arrangement.
Thus we have the meaning of LITTLE WORLD. The word MACROCOSM, on the
other hand, means the great world, or the universe. It also
comes from two words. One is MACROS meaning great, and the other is
KOSMOS meaning world. We noted above that the word MIKROS carried the
meaning of "man viewed as an epitome of the universe." The word
EPITOME means, among other things, a condensed representation of
something. The word MICROCOSM, then, gives us the meaning that man is
a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION OF THE UNIVERSE, or man is ALL THE UNIVERSE IN
MINIATURE! What it really means is that the two heavens and the two
earths in the book of Revelation are both realities within man ó
and the outward physical universe of sun, moon, and stars is just the
picture or the type of how these function on the spiritual plane.
Now let us return to the
fourth plague poured out upon the "sun." There is an interesting
connection between the plague poured out from the fourth bowl and the one
that follows from the fifth bowl. The fourth bowl is poured out upon
the sun ó the source of light and heat. But then the
fifth bowl brings absolute darkness ó suggesting the absence
of the sun! Let us understand! God has ordained that all
spiritual truth and reality in the heavenly world be typified and
pre-figured by the physical creation in the natural world. The apostle
Paul made mention of this when he wrote, "Because that which can be known of
God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the
invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power
and GodheadÖ" (Rom. 1:19-20). Thus, natural things and events of the
physical creation symbolically portray and typically point to spiritual
realities. Natural law is both a reflection and a portrait of
spiritual law in the spiritual world. And nowhere is this truth
employed more effectually by the Holy Spirit than in the vision John is
given of the fourth and fifth plagues!
The figures speak of the sun
first becoming hotter and actually scorching men with fire.
This is not the picture of an excessive heat drought as is now sometimes
experienced. The sun itself is first smitten, then it emits rays that
scorch and burn men. The next scene is one of such total
darkness that men are gnawing their tongues in pain as a result of
the darkness. How utterly graphic these scenes are! These two
visions have embodied within them knowledge of modern science which was
still unknown to men at the time of Johnís vision! This is indeed one
of the many "internal evidences" of the bookís DIVINE INSPIRATION!
Our solar system, just one of
millions in the Milky Way galaxy, is approximately seven billion miles
across. It consists of our sun (a medium-size star) with nine planets,
the largest of which is Jupiter. Our sun, by the process of atomic
fusion, is an energy-producing instrument. It was made by the Creator
for a specific job, which it has been performing since the fourth day of
creation. When producers of energy can no longer export the same
amount they generate, then "something must give." In the case of
stars, they either blow up (supernova) or they suffer an atomic collapse
(nova). Novas and supernovas are occurring all the time, with
approximately thirty observed each year in our galaxy alone.
These calamities are brought
to pass by entropy, which is the degradation of the matter and energy in the
universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. The law of entropy
dictates that everything in the universe is running down. According to
this law, stars like our sun were composed of solid hydrogen in the
beginning. In the fusion process, which changes hydrogen to extreme
heat and sunlight, hydrogen is converted into iron and other metals.
When the inner core of the metal builds to the point where the energy
produced cannot escape in an even flow, huge atomic explosions covering
millions of square miles occur, hurling atomic matter and gases millions of
miles outward. Such activity precedes the death of a star.
It is thought by some scientists that the critical stage is reached when
50% of a starís hydrogen is consumed.
The question immediately
arises as to where our sun stands in relation to these events. The
"burning" questions are: "How much longer will the sun remain stable?"
"When will it start on its way towards a higher surface temperature and more
brilliance?" Scientists believe that approximately one-half of our
sunís supply has now been consumed, and increasing sunspot activity is taken
by some scientists as a sign that our sun could nova at any time.
Should our sun nova at some future date earth would experience a period of
increased brightness and heat, followed by incredible darkness.
However such literal events are merely of academic interest, since no one
on earth would be around to worry about them. About our only physical
hope of escaping such a calamity would be to move to another planetary
A nova stage is reached when
the heat factor builds to a point where atoms are stripped of their shells.
Like a runaway atomic generator, the remaining heavy hydrogen is consumed
within a period of seven to fourteen days. Subsequently, the entire
mass, originally 900,000 miles across, would be compressed into a ball no
more than fifteen miles in diameter. The gravity would be so intense
that no light could escape. Whether my reader can understand all the
science of this does not really matter. The point of importance here,
as it relates to the fourth and fifth plagues, is just this. The
literal picture in the two plagues is that of the "nova" of our sun!
DURING THE RUNAWAY PERIOD (SEVEN TO FIFTEEN DAYS) JUST DESCRIBED, OUR SUN
COULD BECOME UP TO SEVEN TIMES HOTTER THAN NORMAL. THIS WOULD BE
FOLLOWED BY TOTAL DARKNESS!
vision, however, doesnít indicate that our literal, physical sun up in the
heavens, ninety-three million miles from earth, is going to nova ó getting
brighter and hotter, scorching men with fire until they blaspheme the name
of God, who has power over these plagues; and then dying, collapsing into a
black hole, throwing our planet into such total darkness that men would
literally gnaw their tongues for pain, and further blaspheme the God of
heaven because of their pains. Oh, no! The vision is a
symbol, a type, a picture, a parable of great
spiritual dealings and workings of God!
In our next Study we will
consider the great darkness to fall upon the seat of the beastís kingdom.
In closing, let us look for a moment at the scorching of the sun. We
have seen that throughout the scriptures the sun is used as a symbol for
rulers, authorities, and lordships. What the sun is to this world,
such are the ruling powers to a kingdom. In our text the kingdom
is the beastís kingdom ó the kingdoms of this world! Governments,
church systems, institutions of various kinds, that exercise authority
over menís lives. Power being given to them to "scorch with fire"
denotes a cruel and tyrannical oppression over the lives of the people.
As religious Babylon comes under the judging hand of God, its corruption
exposed, the blessing and presence of God fleeing, so that every living
soul, every moving of God within the system is dead, its streams and
fountains of waters, that is, its message and ministry, turned to blood ó
full of death ó the religious leaders of Mystery Babylon will strike
out at the people in an effort to keep them in line and prevent their
escape! This type also is drawn from the captivity of Israel in Egypt,
for the "scorching sun" answers to the taskmasters of Egypt with the whips
in their hands, who mercilessly beat the Israelite slaves to make them work
harder and to keep them from escaping!
Ah, do not preachers do this today when they
fear the people are going to leave them? Iím sure that many who now
read these lines, when the Lord was calling you out of Babylon, before you
actually left, did you not feel the whips on your back and scorching sun
burning your flesh! The leaders in Babylon magnify their
authority over the people, crack their whips, reminding them not to "touch
Godís anointed," threaten them, prophesy judgment upon them if they dare to
question the anointing and authority of the leaders, lay more laws and
commandments upon them, preaching at them and abusing them from the pulpit,
scorching them with heat from the sun-ministry over them! As the Lord
moves mightily to deliver ALL His people out of religious Babylon, you can
believe me now or believe me later, but the taskmasters will become much
more harsh, the tyranny more severe, the burdens heavier, the restraints
more binding, the church rules more demanding ó until the flesh cries out in
pain! Oh, even then the people wonít be ready to leave yet, for there
are three plagues yet to come to finish the work, but the judgment of God to
release them will be right on target!