We have viewed God’s final judgment of this created earth, the fallen angels, and the wicked multitudes from the heavenly advantage. Every aspect of this coming judgment is directed out of the seven-sealed book under the direction of the Lamb that was slain. Now, this period will be watched from the earthly advantage. We will actually see Satan fall to the earth and witness the rise of the Antichrist and the false prophet. The horrors of all of this will be clear and unmistakable. This earth is about to experience its final catastrophic upheaval. I’m sure God, the great Creator, will use every power of nature and will also allow Satan and his horde to express their venom. But all that occurs will be under His sovereign design, and the ultimate result will be redemption of this earth that has been wrought by the death and sacrifice of His Son.Isaiah said it perfectly. The destroyer is about to be the destroyed. The usurper that walked into the Garden but crawled out is going to be forever vanquished into the Lake of Fire. This great book of Revelation is ultimately the design of Satan’s total defeat. Isaiah’s words were, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:15-17)
Jesus spoke of both the past and the future when He proclaimed, “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)
As we enter this second revelation of the seven-year period we see the process of casting Satan out of his heavenly realm of power and organization. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2) His kingdom’s control and operation is between earth and the third Heaven. He will be cast down to the earth for the seven year period, allowed to manifest his diabolical schemes, limited as always according to the perfect revelations of God and utterly judged in the process. We know from the closing chapters of this book of Revelation that he will be cast into the bottomless pit for one thousand years and then into the Lake of Fire for eternity. The saints of God that become the elders of the Father and the Son will present the evidence for Satan’s final judgments.
The Sun Clothed Woman and the Man-Child
Everything from verse one of Chapter four in the book of Revelation is “hereafter” or part of the judgment period. This part of the revelation cannot be placed back into the historical past. Also, it must be connected to the casting out of Satan and his coming demise. Joseph Seiss, the great classic writer on Revelation, said,
“A more common view, in which there is a more general agreement, is, that this woman somehow represents the Church, the body of God’s professed people. It belongs to the ordinary Scripture imagery to speak of the Church under the figure of a woman, a spouse, and a mother. We read of ‘the Daughter of Zion’ as a personification of this kind under the Old Testament, and Paul speaks of the spiritual Jerusalem as ‘the mother of us all.’” (The Apocalypse, p. 279)
If indeed this represents the church, as is my view, then the “man-child” is the great company of overcoming saints within the boundary of the church world but exclusive in their total surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord of all. The church is more and more a mixed multitude; but the Bride of Jesus Christ cannot be less than the set apart, sanctified, and devoted cross-bearing saints that are watching, waiting, and sacrificing while they “look for his appearing.” This crowd, the “man-child” saints, have eyes only for Him and hearts bent on hearing the first whisper of His sounding trumpet.
The multitude within the church that loves the world and its glitter more than the returning King will be left in a wilderness. There they will either be given a reprobate mind and be beyond the pale of grace or they will repent and willingly become the martyrs of the Antichrist’s religious armies. The Charismatic Joel’s Army is preparing for this task of serving the Antichrist to the extent that they are deceived into thinking he is the real Christ. When they finally awake to their deception, it will be too late. Satan and those he has deceived hate the teaching of the Rapture. Note these words, “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” (Revelation 12:4-5)
The War in Heaven
This marvelous moment when Satan is cast down from the mid-air never to leave the confines of the earth scene again is thrilling. This is intimately connected with the Rapture. As soon as the saints go up, Satan comes down. He has accused them before God for six thousand years. Even when they pray Satan is between them and the Father to do his mischief and to resist not only the prayers but also God’s messengers who bring answers and victories. This is a triumphant moment of the end times. The earth is about to learn the full disposition of the devil and his followers. This is the beginning of all out war between righteousness and judgment and the designs of Satan. Already, the scene of this coming war is in the air. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:7-10)
Many prophecy teachers will not accept this woman as representing the church world because it messes up their preconceived theology. If you do not accept that the majority of the church is unprepared for the Rapture and will be left for the Tribulation, something has to be done with this chapter that throws it back to historical events. Chapter twelve has nothing to do with natural Israel. Israel is seen in Chapter seven, verses one through eight, and again in Chapters fourteen and fifteen. This woman is the external church, lukewarm and apostate, and her child is the great company of overcoming saints that will be removed to heaven in the Rapture. The lukewarm crowd will be spewed into the Tribulation and persecuted to death by the Antichrist. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)
Satan’s Unholy Trinity
With the Rapture having occurred and the great overcoming saints removed and Satan cast down to the earth having great wrath, Satan is ready to reveal his final defense against God. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)
We must be willing to admit that what is about to happen is Satan’s masterstroke. He will produce his own “Christ” in a visible form. The spirit of Antichrist can be traced all the way back to the Garden, but this is the full coming out revelation. John saw this picture. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:1-4)
This beast of a man will become the delight of the wicked world. Satan will give him such charm, deceiving powers, and organizational skills so that he will convince a multitude to worship the devil as though he were God. He and his worshippers will start an earthly war against the worldwide company that have repented of their apostasy or have accepted the truth and been truly converted to Jesus Christ. Look carefully! “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:7-8) Anyone who misses the Rapture is in for hell on earth literally.
Then, Satan adds to the Antichrist person a third being. This beast of a man is often called the false prophet for so he is, but he is more than a false prophet. He is the false spirit or false anointing and is on the same level with Satan and the Antichrist. Now, the unholy trinity is complete. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” (Revelation 13:11-13) This vile creature becomes the One World Church and leads the world to worship Satan and the Antichrist. This beast is the creator of the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 9:27; 12:11) Jesus Christ also said “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.)” (St. Matthew 24:15) The connection is unmistakable. “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” (Revelation 13:14) The Mark of the Beast is also the work of this anti-holy spirit, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)
This trio of evil will turn this earth into a wilderness. They will deceive everyone that is not willing to die a horrible death at their hand.
The Jewish Nation/People
The seven years of the Great Tribulation is also called Jacob’s Trouble. There is a clear distinction between the tribulation effect among the Jewish people and its effect among the nations. We should say it is similar but different. The one hundred and forty-four thousand are sealed in Chapter seven. Without question, they turn to Jesus Christ at the time they are sealed. There can be no question that their surrender to the true Messiah makes an impact on the Jewish nation. Now, we see them in Chapter fourteen taken up to heaven and standing with the Lamb on heavenly Mount Zion. Listen as they sing. “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:3-4) These are the firstfruits of the Jewish nation. They sang in the presence of the elders before the throne of God.
After this victorious scene in heaven, the vision returns to the earth. An angel is dispatched to fly in the heavens while he proclaims the everlasting gospel. His message is filled with a cry to earth’s inhabitants to repent. “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:7) Immediately, another angel announces the impending destruction of Babylon and a third angel warns people not to take the Mark of the Beast. A dire warning is given about this mark. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:9-11)
In Chapters fifteen and sixteen we see the wrath of God without measure. I say without measure because that is very important. This is the finality of wrath, it is purifying wrath to cleanse and purify this earth and to bring the end of sin and rebellion. Although Satan will have a short fling at the end of the one thousand years of the righteous reign of Jesus Christ, it will not be allowed to infect the earth. In Chapter fifteen the seven last plagues are seen and in Chapter sixteen are seen the seven last vials. Here is the beginning of these two chapters. “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.”
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” (Revelation 15:1; 16:1)
The vision of this closing period of the seven years of the Great Tribulation is overwhelming. The temple in Heaven is open for these final acts of redemption. There is something so pure about this period of wrath that every angel or messenger is clothed in pure linen and wearing golden girdles. The scene is breathtaking. “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Revelation 15:5-8) The earth will be totally purified of the last vestige of wickedness. It will soon become a Garden of Eden again.
The coming picture of Mystery Babylon and literal Babylon is an overarching of this same period but shown separately because of its importance. This seven-year period of the Great Tribulation does not end until the white horse Rider and His army of elders is witnessed defeating the Antichrist in Chapter nineteen. Rejoice because the final time cannot be far away.
Joseph R. Chambers