by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
Revelation 9 & 16
Now to Revelation 16. We studied the last 6 terrible judgments that will be coming upon the earth. I’m going to stop before we get to number 7 for a reason. After the sixth bowl had been poured out, which was the drying up of the Euphrates River so the armies can come into the Middle East from the Far East, John says in verse 13:
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth (communications) of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”
Satan, who is now indwelling the Anti-christ, will make contact probably by phone with all the national leaders still in place. He will ask for their armies to come to the Middle East to get rid of the real problem of mankind, the Jew (what Hitler called the final solution). I look at this final gathering of the nations at Armageddon as Satan’s attempt once and for all to annihilate the Jewish people. But it’s really going to end up, Satan against The Christ.
“For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
When President Bush was putting together the nations in Desert Storm, the papers said he would just pick up the phone and call the leaders of the various nations. Using only phone calls, he was literally getting these leaders convinced they should unify against Iraq. That was just a little tiny preview of what we have right here. Now verse 15, and The Sovereign God is behind it:
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” In other words, the Lord is reminding us that it is time for His appearance at the Second Coming, but before He does that:
“And he gathered them together (this is the power of a Sovereign God working through, of course, the mind set of the Anti-christ who puts out the call to the nations to come to Jerusalem) in a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.”
From which the word Megiddo comes. Another word is Esdraelon. And if you go to Israel as we did last spring, that is one of the tourist attractions. You will see the archaeological digs of the ancient city of Megiddo. When you stand on the hills of Megiddo amongst all the ruins of that ancient city, you can look off to the northeast and there is that beautiful flat valley. The Nation of Israel is predominately mountainous. You have these valley areas between the mountain ranges. The reason I’m pointing this out is that when God brings the armies of the world to Israel, naturally they will put their encampments on those valley floors. And this area of the valley of Esdraelon has been a battlefield throughout time. The place had great strategic importance, since it commanded the pass through the mountains between the plains of Sharon and Esdraelon. There have been hundreds of battles fought here. So he will bring the nations of the world to the Middle East. Now I know there is not a bit of military intelligence connected to it, but you must remember we are dealing with a Sovereign God and He is going to cause those generals to pack their troops into these valleys, beyond description. They will be in there like sardines in a can, because a Sovereign God is forcing the issue. Now let’s come back a couple of chapters to Revelation 14, and we have a tremendous symbolic picture of all of this.
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” I feel this is an allusion to Christ. He is the One who is about to reap this harvest.
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, `Thrust in thy sickle (they used to use the sickle to harvest the grain), and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’” Remember the communication is between the angel and Christ.
“And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”Chapter 16 shows the call going to all nations to come to the Middle East. That’s the reaping A Sovereign God is bringing about.
“And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the cluster of the vine of the earth: for her grapes are fully ripe.”
The word `fully’ in the Greek means `over-ripe.’ It’s past harvest time. Here is the symbolism again. The grapes were gathered and put into a wine vat, where they could be crushed; the juice taken out of them and made into wine. The juice was squeezed out of the grapes by walking on them in the wine vat. They would put two or three people in a vat and they would walk until all the juice would run out. That is the allusion here, that this is exactly what God is doing with the peoples of the world. Now come back to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 63, and you will get the beautiful analogy. And again, I do this so you can see that all of Scripture fits together.
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Who do you suppose he is referring to? Christ! This is a picture of His returning and bringing forth judgment upon these gathering armies. “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat.” Don’t lose that analogy. The grape harvest was put in the wine vat, and it was trampled by individuals. Naturally, the grape juice would spurt and juice would get all over them. The prophet sees Christ also covered with this red apparel. And he says, “Why are you this way?” Look at the answer in verse 3. And again, Christ is speaking:
“I have trodden the winepress alone (in Revelation Chapter 5, God the Father had a scroll. No one was worthy to open that scroll except the Son of God and He came and took the scroll. Here it comes to its fruition. I alone was worthy, and no one else was worthy of bringing on this particular judgment) and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, (do you see that) and trample them in my fury; and their blood (He’s not speaking of His own Blood here) shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” As He more or less tramples the people in the wine vat. Now verse 4:
For the day of vengeance is in mine heart (this isn’t the God of Grace now. This is a God of wrath!), and the year of my redeemed is come.” Let’s hold all of this together. Revelation Chapter 19:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True (it’s the Christ), and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Because after all, what kind of people does he have in the wine vat? Military. It’s the armies of the world that have come to the Middle East. Supposedly to annihilate the Nation of Israel. Don’t forget those 200 million coming from the East. They will be packed into that little geographical area. And I think it will also include every valley in the Nation of Israel where these troops will be packed in. And as I said before, it will be contrary to all military strategy. But it’s the Sovereign God who has reaped the earth, and has placed them in what the Scriptures call His wine vat. But remember, it’s in righteousness. Now verse 12:
“His eyes were as (He doesn’t say they are flames, but as) a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, be he himself.” And here it is now. This is in complete accord with the Book of Isaiah:
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood (not His, but His victims), and his name is called the Word of God.”
“And the armies which were in heaven (that will be the saints, as this is His Second Coming. The saints have been with him for seven years because they have been raptured out ahead of time. That includes you and I as believers. Now they are coming back with him) followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” That is also in verse 8 of this Chapter, where the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword (what is the sharp sword? The Word of God. Remember Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword”), that with it he should smite the nations (how will He destroy them? With the spoken word): and he shall rule them (the nations, Believers only) with a rod of iron (benevolence, but absolute rule, there will be no funny business in His Kingdom. A good example is the Beatitudes. What are Beatitudes? Well the constitution of His government. That’s when the Beatitudes will come into their full definition, “Blessed are the meek…” “Blessed are the poor…” That doesn’t fit in the Church Age. You talk to a poor person today and I don’t believe that he feels blessed. Do you? The Lord may provide and get them through, but they are not happy as such. But in the Kingdom there will be no unhappiness): and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
What’s His winepress? The valleys of Israel, wherein all these millions of troops will be packed, and He will destroy them with one fell swoop. It’s hard for us to understand. Let’s read on in Verse 16:
“And He hath on His vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Remember, I purposely stopped just before we came to the seventh bowl judgment back in Chapter 16. I left off after the sixth judgment because I wanted to leave the seventh one till now:
“And the seventh angel (we’ve covered six of them. We’re bringing you right up close to the end of the Tribulation) poured out his vial (bowl) into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, `It is done.’” This is the finale:
“And there were voices, and thunders and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”
And again, I don’t feel that this is an isolated one. I think the whole planet is going to come under these convulsions. Although the epitome of all of this is going to be in Jerusalem in the area of Israel. Let’s go on:
“And the great city (Jerusalem) was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”
Now I have to stop again. The Babylon in Revelation is not the ancient city, because the Old Testament says it will never be rebuilt. It will always be a habitation of nothing but wild animals and birds of prey. But the Babylon of Revelation is the whole world wide-system as we see it coming together today. The whole one world concept. Where Tokyo and Berlin and London and Rome and New York are just like one little tightly knit group. When I picture these end time events, I like to think that when Babylon falls, it won’t be just one city. It will be all the cities of the world, who will in one hour fall into nothingness, by the spoken word of God. Now remember that. The Babylon here is all the world. I just read an interesting article in our daily paper that some junior high student had just won a great essay contest. What do you suppose the title of her essay was? “The Great New One World.”That’s what people love to hear tonight. They love to hear about the great one-world that’s coming. And it is! It’s getting smaller and smaller. But you see, it’s going to suddenly evaporate.
“And every island fled away and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent (most of your Bibles tell you what that is. It’s 100 pounds. We talk about golf ball-sized hail and softball-sized hail, but these are hundred pound chunks of ice!): and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
Now to Revelation 14, where we finish that analogy of the grape vat. Can you hold all of this together? Just like the vineyard keepers put all of their grapes into the vat and they had somebody trample them, so God has brought all the armies of the world to the Middle East. How is He going to trample them? With this final plague of the hailstones. Picture all of the millions of troops out there in nothing more then tents to protect them from the elements. Can that stop a hundred pound hailstone? NO! So they will be literally squashed, even as the grapes in the vat. I know this verse has been a verse hard to swallow over the years, but I’ll make it real easy to swallow.
“And the winepress was trodden, without the city (indeed, these valleys are all to the north of Jerusalem), and blood came out of the winepress (out of these valleys), even unto the horse bridles (a river of water, and blood three to four feet deep), by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (about 180 Miles).”
As that melting hail, which which has crushed these millions of troops, begins to melt in that Middle Eastern heat, do you see how fast you’re going to have a literal river of blood flowing as deep as a horse’s bridle? That’s not hard to believe. In fact, I always remind my classes that during World War II, during one of the battles on one of the islands in the Pacific, so many men were lost as they were coming ashore, that the ocean was red for about 5 miles out with the blood of our marines.