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(Revelation 16:8-21) Global Warming

(Revelation 16:8-21) Global Warming

Ref: Revelation 16:8–21

What is your opinion on global warming? It's become a hot topic in society today--not just in our country but in other parts of the world, as well. What should our response as Christians be to the ever-growing cry of society to save the environment? In this message, Stephen tells us.


Global Warming

Revelation 16:8-21

I made that comment this past Sunday about cats and my pity on those who have them.  I received several responses! 

One was an email that began with the words,

I know how much you like cats . . . here’s a timesaver on cleaning the commode you might like to use . . .

7 Easy Steps.

Step #1:  Lift the commode lid and put one cup of pet shampoo in the bowl;

Step #2:  Pick up the cat and soothe him while carrying him toward the bathroom

Step #3:  In one swift/smooth motion, put the cat in the commode and close the lid.  You may need to stand on the lid.

Step #4:  The cat will move around making ample suds.  Never mind the noises, the cat is actually enjoying this.

Step #5.  Flush three or four times – this creates a wash and rinse effect.

Step #6:  Have someone open the front door and be sure no one is between the bathroom and the door.

Step #7:  Stand behind the commode as far as you can, and quickly lift the lid.  The cat will rocket out, race through the door and outside where he will dry himself off.

Result?  Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.

What a great tip!

By the way, I almost missed it, but the email was signed,

Yours sincerely,

The Dog

Keep those emails coming!

A conference on climate change was held in 1965 in Boulder Colorado.  Evidence was presented by leading scientists who supported the belief that small changes in sunlight were going to trigger cataclysmic events relative to weather pattern changes.

In 1966, interest grew and an eminent scientist predicted that “a new glaciation will begin within a few thousand years.” In other words, the earth will enter another ice age.  In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, the author wrote that the increased levels of carbon dioxide was making it impossible to predict what the overall climatic change would be . . . but global cooling was the consensus.   / Citation: cooling

A New York Times headlines in 1974 read, “Another Ice Age”.  Newsweek magazine in 1975 carried an article supported by all the experts about the coming freeze and how within 10 years or so food production might not be able to keep up.

All that’s forgotten history, isn’t it?

Now, the latest rage is the coming global warming.

Thanks to politicians and environmentalists who seem intent on curbing human growth and development, global warming has become dogma and those scientists who deny it, a number which has been growing more and more vocal in the past few years, are considered heretics.

One hotel that is now completely green – that is environmentally friendly – has even replaced the customary copy of the Bible in its hotel rooms, with a documentary basically announcing that humankind is responsible for ruining the planet and that global warming is unavoidable.

If you’ve been studying along with me, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that up through the Tribulation period – a period of time that spells the end of the world as we know it – there happen to be oceans, rivers, lakes, trees, wind, rain, sunshine, grass, greenery, wheat, barley, cattle, etc.

All of it clearly indicating that the normal cycles and patterns of weather and seasons have continued up to that period of time, just before Christ returns to rule the planet.

Yes, it interesting that instrumental global records show that the temperature of planet earth has risen 1 degree since 1880 – but don’t lose sight of that fact – 1 degree since 1880.  In fact, from 1940 to 1960 the temperature rise flattened out and even dipped which caused the alarm in the 1970’s that we were headed for a global freeze.

I found it interesting to read the report of one news outlet reporting a year ago, while all the hype of global warming was becoming the new politically correct viewpoint – in the midst of all of that – all four major global temperature tracking outlets released data from 2008 showing temperatures had actually dropped over the last year. 

And get this:  the drop in temperature in that one year was large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years!

That’s an inconvenient truth, isn’t it?

It was reportedly the single fastest temperature change ever recorded — up or down.

And the reason for it?  Solar activity, not CO2.  Solar activity which scientists say is a larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. / Citation: Fox “Evidence of Global Cooling, February 28, 2008

All that to say, the temperature of planet earth seems unpredictable . . . it can go up or down. 

Now, if you were living in 1970, you were afraid of the coming ice age.  If you lived in 2007 you’ve been inundated with the coming drought and famine.

Frankly, it is alarming for those who do not believe God is providentially controlling His planet for His ultimate purposes. 

Listen, this planet is governed by God and He has determined, according to scripture that the resources of earth will continue to sustain billions of lives until he comes to judge it.  No matter you’re your carbon footprint happens to be, mankind will not alter, deter, detract, ruin, destroy or otherwise alter earth’s natural resources so given to sustain life.

The enemy of Christ has his agenda.  He desires to subjugate human kind to the environment and more and more we read and hear that agenda played out by many who basically view mankind as an intruder on the planet and the best thing we could ever do for planet earth is cease to exist.  We’re just messing it all up.

So nature isn’t given as God’s gift to sustain human life and provide for human benefit and pleasure, it actually becomes more important than human life.

This is the classic application of a culture heading for collapse, described in Roman chapter 1, where mankind denies Creator God and elevates creation to the point where mankind actually becomes the servant.

Mankind is thus unable to place the rights of human life above animal life; mankind becomes terrified by the imagined loss of natural resources; he becomes ultimately convinced that he has ruined nature as an intruding species and instead of enjoying and subjugating creation under the guidance of a benevolent Creator God, as described in Genesis 2, mankind becomes the victim of nature.

Well I’ve got news for you.

According to the Revelation of God as time winds down, leading up to Christ’s glorious reign on the planet, there is a coming season of time where the rumors of global cooling and the speculations of global warming will be both right! 

The world is heading for both global warming and global cooling, all at the very same time.

It will not be related to CO2 emissions, carbon footprints or meteorite impact.

It will be the hand of God, actually controlling the environment so that it delivers to the human race one act of judgment after another.

And how ironic for the human race which idolized creation more than their Creator; desiring to protect their planet rather than please the true and living God – they now are decimated as nature turns monstrous.

Let’s find out the details in Revelation chapter 16.  Let’s pick it up at verse 8.  The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.  9.  Men were scorched with fierce heat.

What you have here is global warming . . . for real.

God’s angel does something to the sun which perhaps creates solar flares – the heat is intensified ever so slightly.

Frankly, we don’t often think of the delicate balance that exists between earth and sun.  Venus, the next planet closer to the sun has an average temperature of 867 degrees Fahrenheit. The next planet farther away from the son than the earth averages 85 degrees below zero.  The truth is, even the slightest increase in actual energy radiated from the Sun could easily raise the temperature on Earth by 100 degrees. / Stewart Custer, From Patmos to Paradise (BJU Press, 2004), p. 177

According to the prophet Malachi, the day of God’s judgment is coming and the earth will burn like a furnace. (Malachi 4:1)

And what would you want to do when it’s so terribly hot but take a shower or jump in the lake or pond and yet, remember, every body of water has been turned into blood.

The Antichrist and his followers have instigated the blood bath of Christians martyred for their unwillingness to take the mark of the beast.  And now the Antichrist and his followers will experience the wrath of God by having to bathe in blood or not bathe at all. / Daymond R. Duck/Larry Richards, The Book of Revelation (Thomas Nelson, 2006), p. 233

Add to this bowl of wrath the natural outcome of forest fires starting all over the planet, unless Christ returns to earth fairly soon, the planet will go up in smoke before it is time.

These are the 7 bowls of wrath; the final series of cataclysmic events prior to the return of Christ to rule in His millennial kingdom – his 1,000 year kingdom on earth.

So far we’ve seen the oceans, rivers and lakes turned into blood.  We seen the followers of Antichrist plagued with painful sores breaking out on their bodies.

And now, the sun is manipulated by Creator God to intensify its output and scorch planet earth.

And mankind responds like Pharaoh of old – instead of repenting, they all with unified voices blasphemed God (v.9b) who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

Another angel is summoned and the 5th bowl is poured out, notice verse 10.  Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast (the antichrist), and his kingdom became darkened, and they gnawed their tongues because of pain.

Back in chapter 13 we were told that Satan gave the Antichrist his throne as a gift –John writes, and the dragon – Satan, gave the beast – the Antichrist, his power and his throne and great authority.

Here, however, the pitiful strength of Satan’s throne is seen as no match for the throne of God.

God is the one who controls the universe and God gives the order and suddenly the lights go out!

If that were to happen, what do you do?  You’d probably wait a while and then try to stumble out of the building . . . but outside its pitch black.  You’d use your key remote to make your car honk until you found it, but when you turned it on, the headlamps emitted no light.

The Greek text translated, to make dark, implies that whatever gives light no longer will.  You could strike a match and feel the heat but see no flame.

It is a precursor of the coming, eternal outer darkness for all who refuse to worship the true and living God.

What irony – unbelievers have loved the darkness because their deeds were evil and God gave the a taste of it.

It’s possible that the believers are not affected, just as the Israelites were not affected when the plague of darkness invaded Egypt, the children of Israel had light. (Exodus 10:23) / Robert L. Thomas, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 1995), p. 259

Exodus and Revelation become illustrations that those who follow Satan belong to the kingdom of darkness and those who follow God belong to the kingdom of light! (1 Peter 2:9)

And what does mankind do in the face of this powerful demonstration? 

Notice verse 11.  And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.

See any pattern here?  In verses 9, 11, and 21 the response is the same.

You would think now that people connect these terrible, miraculous plagues with the God of heaven that they would run from the Antichrist and cry out for mercy to Creator God.

They do just the opposite, clinging to their sin and their false Savior.

By the way, this should remind us all that miraculous signs will not open anybody’s eyes to the truth of the gospel. 

If someone refuses the gospel, performing some miracle in front of them will not pry open their hardened hearts.

Not even an empty tomb!

Instead of falling on their faces in repentance, all of unbelieving humanity raises their voices and with one unified voice they curse God’s name.  They want to keep their sin and their false Messiah.

 Now, as these bowls continue to pour out the wrath of God, a shift in focus occurs. 

The first five bowls of wrath were God’s final call to repentance.  Sinners ignore that call and are now confirmed in their unbelief. The final two bowls of contain the final judgments of God on a hardened, impenitent world of unbelievers.  / John MacArthur, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 2000), p. 145

Verse 12. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from east.

The source of the Euphrates is found in the snowfields and ice cap high up on the slopes of Mount Ararat.   The intense heat of the 4th bowl of wrath will have melted the snow and ice cap. / Ibid, p. 146

I couldn’t help but wonder that if indeed the Ark of Noah has been frozen in the ice cap of Mt. Ararat the world then will be able to see it; perhaps it will give them pause as they observe the symbol of earth’s destruction by water and the invitation to salvation that all of mankind refused.

The Euphrates River not only plays a role in the end of human history as we know it, but in the beginning of human history.  The Euphrates River flowed near the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14)

It’s the longest river in western Asia and it stretches 1,800 miles from Syria to Babylon before emptying into the Persian Gulf. / Sam Gordon, Revelation: Worthy is the Lamb (Ambassador, 2000), p. 332

The melting of the snow and ice because of global warming from the 4th bowl of judgment would swell the Euphrates River.  It would have become a rushing torrent. 

It would have overflowed its banks, by the way, and you might note the text implies that the rivers of blood have returned, at least in this case with the melting snow, to water.

The text says in verse 12 that the water of the great Euphrates river dried up. 

The question is, why?  Why did God suddenly dry up the Euphrates River? 

John tells us – so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

No doubt the raging swollen river has swept away the bridges that span the river.

And the armies of the east are marching toward the plain of Armageddon just north of Jerusalem. 

So God miraculously dries out the Euphrates so that the kings and their armed forces can march into His deadly trap. / MacArthur, p. 146

How in the world would the armies of the earth’s kingdoms think they stand a chance against Creator God?

We’re told in verse 13.  And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan) and out of the mouth of the beast (Antichrist) and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.

Frogs have long been associated with the occult world.  The Egyptians worshiped Heka, a frog-headed goddess.  In fact, she was one of the oldest goddesses who was said to have demonic power. / Daymond R. Duck/Larry Richards, p. 237

So what you have here is an amazing miracle working demonstration unleashed by the unholy trinity of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet and with great signs and wonders their demonic representatives convince the world that whatever “God” it is, doing these terrible things, He is capable of being overthrown.

This text looks to the future and last world war as the world empires gather against God and His Messianic people. / Thomas, p. 263

Tucked into this scene is an encouragement to those who follow Christ to stay alert and read – verse 15.  Behold, I am coming like a thief.  Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”

In other words, don’t live in such a way that the return of Christ becomes an embarrassment for those believer who compromise or live lives unbecoming a child of God.

God says, “I am coming as a thief.”  Jesus Christ said the same thing in Matthew 24 to refer to His second coming – which we know follows these bowls of wrath.  The Apostle Paul refers to the day of the Lord – this day of judgment – as the coming of a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Unfortunately, for most of my generation, when we hear the words thief in the night as it relates to eschatology, we think of the rapture of the church.  Primarily because a Christian film was produced in the 70’s that chronicled the life of a young lady left behind following the rapture of the church.  The film was entitled Thief in the Night.

The Biblical phrase “thief in the night” actually refers, not to the rapture of the church, but to the second coming of Christ withHis church, at the end of the Tribulation to set up His reign on earth.

And here the phrase appears as the believers who are living through the Tribulation, not knowing the exact moment of His return are challenged to stay faithful and prepared, with their clothes on, as it were, ready to enter the kingdom of our Lord.

Prior to His return, the armies of the world will gather to overthrow His people and His throne.

We’re told in verse 16, that the kings and their armies gathered together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

Har – means mountain and Megiddo, refers to a location in northern Israel. 

Mount Megiddo is a small mountain located near the Mediterranean Sea, overlooking a valley that stretches 20 miles long and 14 miles wide.  It is the perfect place to serve as the command center for the armies of the final world war. / John Walvoord/Mark Hitchcock, Armageddon, Oil and Terror (Tyndale, 1974), p. 176

Some Bible scholars believe these armies intend to battle against the Antichrist as they rebel against his failed rule.

The more I’ve studied this text, the more I’m convinced that though that might have been an earlier plan, the demons sent out to perform their deceiving acts of power are so convincing that the armies will arrive to battle against the coming King of Kings.

As they gather together, the final angel steps forward in verse 17  to empty his bowl of judgment from God. 

Notice verse 17.  Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”  In other words, my judgment on earth is finishing up.  18. And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder, and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so might,  19. The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the nations fell.

Let me pause here to say that this earthquake is so fierce that it changes the topography of the land.

The prophet Haggai wrote about an earthquake at the end of the world (Haggai 2:6, 7, 21).  This then is the final global earthquake that literally undoes planet Earth. / Kendell H. Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation (Broadman Holman, 1998), p. 291

John writes here that Jerusalem is split geographically into 3 sections. 

The great city is not Babylon; Revelation 11 clearly identifies the great city with Jerusalem.

And this fits perfectly with the prophecies of the Old Testament.

The Prophet Zechariah describes these changes in detail. The Mount of Olives is split in two, and a new valley is created and a spring of water will flow year-round from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean and Dead Sea causing the desert to blossom like a rose (Zechariah 14:8 & Isaiah 35:1).

This upheaval will literally elevate Jerusalem and flatten the surrounding region into a plain. / MacArthur, p. 152

Just as the judgment of God in the flood changed the topography of the planet, so this final act of judgment will change the topography of planet earth – in fact some believe it will return to pre-fall conditions.

Notice the changes mentioned in verse 20.  And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

What’s happening?

One author wrote, This global earthquake, described in the original language as the shaking of the earth, will set off every rift well mapped by geologists.  The rifts are worldwide.  The entire western coast of America will be severed.  From Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina; the faultlines that take in all of southern Europe and the entire coastline of the Mediterranean, following on eastward in a broadening band of faultlines all across central Asia.  The whole of this will burst wide open when the final earthquake comes. / John Phillips, Exploring Revelation (Loizeaux Brothers, 1991), p. 199

But there is purpose in this chaos.

Isaiah’s prophecy will come true that every valley will be lifted up and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the rough ground will become a plain, and the rugged terrain will become a broad valley.  (Isaiah 40:4-5)

A believing scientist wrote in his commentary on this global upheaval, connected with the prophecy of Isaiah that God intends this judgment to not only punish mankind but prepare the earth for His coming. 

The effects of this worldwide earthquake will return to earth the gentle rolling topography of the world as originally created.   No more will there be great inaccessible, uninhabitable mountain ranges or deserts or ice caps. The physical environment of the millennium will be a restoration of the environment and conditions on the planet prior to the judgment of Noah’s flood. / Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record (Tyndale House, 1986), p. 320

Amazing to ponder, isn’t it?

Massive eruptions and terrestrial convulsions; the redistribution of land masses, mountain ranges and islands and the ensuing redirection of bodies of water . . . imagine it.  The surface of the planet will be changed and prepared for the coming Kingdom.

One author said that this may very well leave Jerusalem as the highest point on earth, making it a fitting throne for the Great King who will rule for 1,000 years. / MacArthur, p. 153

But that isn’t all pounds the earth into a new form; verse 21And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and – notice the result – men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because it’s plague was extremely severe.

Have you seen any hail lately?  Little marble sized hail gets everyone’s attention, doesn’t it?

The heaviest hailstones on record weighted 2 ½ pounds and fell in Bangladesh on April 14, 1986; 92 people died.

Imagine hailstones the size of golf carts pummeling the earth.

By the way, this is sudden global cooling!

Frankly, it may be the way God puts out all the forest fires!

But there may be symbolism in this final act of judgment. 

Why would God send hailstones as the last act of judgment upon these who blasphemed God?

Perhaps it was simply a demonstration of Leviticus 24 where those who blasphemed God were to be stoned to death.

This becomes a precursor to the fact that everyone will be judged according to the fullness of God’s law and everyone apart from Christ’s atoning work will face the fullness of God’s wrath.

And it all wraps up with an earthquake like never experienced before.

I couldn’t help but think of the fact that when God delivered the law to Moses, there was an earthquake as if to let the Israelites know the wrath of God is ever ready to judge those who break the law.

When God the Son hung on the cross and paid the penalty for all our sin there was an earthquake and God the Father shook the earth as if to let the world know He had judged His Son on our behalf for we have all broken the law.

And the last time when God sends this final earthquake it will shake the earth as if to let the world know that God’s judgment is now coming and nothing will hold it back.

It becomes an illustration that the law of God that was delivered on Mount Sinai has been consistently broken; Christ has paid the penalty for every law breaker on Mount Calvary; but those who refuse Him will eventually march against Him by Mount Megiddo and end up paying forever in a place of eternal suffering and eternal thirst and eternal fire and eternal darkness.

Darkness was man’s choice all along:

  • Mankind refuses the light of the gospel of Christ;
  • he chooses to believe in Mother nature and the environment and refused the account of this creating Agent of the Triune God according to Colossians 1 – Jesus Christ Himself who spoke everything into existence at the beginning of creation and His first words recorded were, “let there be light”; 
  • mankind refuses to surrender to Christ who is the light of the world;
  • he refuses the gospel of Christ which is called the gospel of light;
  • and you know what God does – God gives mankind his wish and banishes him to a place of everlasting darkness.

I noticed one other point I’ll make here as we wrap up this chapter.  Over and over again in the Greek New Testament is the little word mega – translated most often “great”. 

It appears over and over in chapter 16 of Revelation.

  • You have the sound of a great voice in verse 1;
  • You have a great heat – verse 9;
  • You have a great river – verse 12;
  • In verse 14 you have the great day of the God and the battle of Armageddon
  • You have a great earthquake – v. 18
  • And the great city is mentioned in verse 19
  • And it ends with great hailstones in verse 21.

This is the great wrath of God, punctuated by the use of the word great . . . great . . . great.

Great catastrophe . . . great anguish . . . these are the climactic act of God’s great judgment during the Tribulation.

And you know what the words were that came to my mind at the end of my study . . .  

Great is thy faithfulness – Lamentations 3:23.

For those of us who believe in and are hidden in Christ alone:

  • great is His mercy – Psalm 86
  • great is His grace – Acts 4
  • great is His love –  Ephesians 2
  • we have so great a salvation – Hebrews 2

The angel announced to Mary concerning her virgin born son, the Savior, God the Son and Gabriel said to her, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.  (Luke 1:32)

Now we’re almost there . . . where this prophecy will come true and a host of others. 

Where He will descend in great splendor and take His throne in the great city of His kingdom and the greatness of His glory will be displayed throughout the earth.

For those who refuse Him, great things will happen to them and they will be terrible in their greatness.

For those of who believe in Him, great things are in store as we experience the beautiful and marvelous display of God’s great glory.

Is it any wonder we can say with great joy and great security and even greater anticipation, how great is our God!

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