Many years ago William Ripley of "Believe It Or Not" fame stood amid the ruins of Hiroshima, Japan. And from that city devastated by the atom bomb, Ripley announced to his radio audience, "I am standing on the spot where the end of the world began."
Numerous wars within this century have gripped world leaders with the possibility that the end is near. Among today's prophets of doom are statesmen, educators, sociologists, scientists, and environmentalists.
Thousands are stunned with bewilderment regarding the future. They wander in a maze of confusion. God reveals through prophecy an outline of coming events for the informed Christian. According to Bible prophecy the crisis at the close is not merely a military struggle. It is the last battle in the long-standing conflict between Christ and Satan.
The Seven Last Plagues, preliminary to and including the Battle of Armageddon, focus on the end of human history and the coming of Christ. It is with this background that we enter into this Bible study.
1. What great crisis will this world soon face? Revelation 13:16, 17.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "And he causes all, . . . to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
2. If any individual worships the beast, what will he receive? Revelation 14:9, 10.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "If anyone worships the beast and his image, . . . he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation."
3. What is the "wrath of God, . . poured out full strength"? Revelation 15:1.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Then I saw . . . seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete."
Since Satan hates God, he desires all men and women to receive his mark rather than God's seal. When every human being has chosen between the Mark of the Beast and the Seal of God, the plagues will fall. All who knowingly accept the allegiance of the beast, substituting a human decree for the divinely inspired commandments of God, will be recipients of the Seven Last Plagues.
4. Revelation 16:2-15 lists the first six plagues (1. grievous sore, 2. sea as blood, 3. fountains and rivers of waters as blood, 4. sun scorching men, 5. darkness on seat of the beast, Armageddon). After these six plagues are described, what announcement comes from heaven? Revelation 16:15.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps
his garments, •'
What sense would it make for Jesus to declare that He was coming as a thief after the plagues if He had come before? This text is Christ's encouragement to His followers urging them to perseverance in light of the imminence of His return.
These plagues are called "The Seven Last Plagues." Ten plagues fell on Egypt in Old Testament times. The first three fell on both the Egyptians and the Israelites; the seven fell only on the Egyptians.
At the end, the Seven Last Plagues fall only on the wicked while the righteous, still on earth, are protected. In ancient Israel the wicked Egyptians held the Israelites in captivity. The plagues broke the hold of the wicked upon the nghteous and enabled them to go free.
How does the Bible compare the experience of ancient Israel with the church today? I Corinthians 10:11.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come."
5. Does God promise to protect His people during the plagues? Psalm 91:2-10.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; . . . You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, . . . A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; . . . For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.' "
6. What assurance does God give that He will feed us during this time? Isaiah 33:16, 17.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Bread will be given him, his water will be sure. Your eyes will see the king in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off."
7, How will Satan attempt to unite all nations at war? Revelation 16:14.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For they are spirits of demons, . . . which go out to the kings of the earth . . . to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
8. What is this battle called? Revelation 16:16. MY BIBLE SAYS: "And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon."
The word Armageddon comes from the Hebrew "Har Megiddo" meaning mountain of assembly.
During one of Israel's greatest crises, described in the Old Testament, when it appeared that doom was certain, God intervened and sent reinforcements at precisely the right moment. During the last days of earth's history, infuriated by the plagues, the whole world will be turned into a vast battlefield as the wicked attempt to destroy God's people. It will appear as if their doom is certain.
9. As the whole world is mobilized to destroy the people of God, what divine act takes place? Revelation 16:17-21.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 'It is done!' . . . And there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth."
10. How is Jesus described in Revelation 19:1 1 - 16?
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Then 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. . . . He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, . . . and the armies in heaven, . . . followed Him on white horses. . . . And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
In the last moments of time, Jesus returns as King of kings and Lord of lords to finally and completely destroy Satan and his work. Christ's followers triumph; right conquers.
Friend, the outcome of the battle is certain. No matter how discouraging the future appears, Jesus and His people will triumph. If you have not yet decided to place your confidence in Jesus by inviting Him into your life, why not do it right now before it is forever too late?
MY DECISION: I surrender my life fully to Jesus.